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Copper Kings fall to Cranes in state championship

Calumet's Dean Loukus fires a pass in the Copper Kings 4-1 loss to Cranbrook-Kingswood in the MHSAA Division 3 championship game Saturday, March 27, 2021 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. (Timothy Arrick/For the Gazette)

PLYMOUTH — The Calumet Copper Kings hockey team entered Saturday afternoon’s D3 state championship game undefeated, hoping to keep that record alive.

After surrendering two goals in the first period and two more over the course of the game, the Copper Kings’ season came to an end with a 4-1 loss to the Bloomfield Hills-Cranbrook-Kingswood Cranes at USA Arena in Plymouth.

Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Copper Kings found themselves on the power play. Alternate captain Tom Erkkila managed to get a puck past Cranes goaltender Julian Zvyagin 5:36 into the period. Assistant captain Jackson Rilei and captain Dean Loukus managed to pick up assists on the tally.

That was as close as the Copper Kings would get, however. Isaac Cheli regained the two-goal lead for the Cranes with a goal with 2:28 left in the middle frame.

Ty Esterline scored the insurance goal for the Cranes 7:42 into the third period.

Aksel Loukus made 24 saves in the loss for the Copper Kings. Zvyagin made nine saves for the Cranes.

Jack Wineman and Nathan Hooker, who struck on the power play, scored the game’s first two goals 2:44 apart in the first period. Wineman’s tally came just two minutes into the contest.

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