Knotted up: Copper Kings, Jets skate to 1-1 tie

Jeffers goaltender Simon Rajala prepares for a shot during a game against Calumet Tuesday at the Calumet Colosseum. (Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — Fifty-one minutes of high school hockey decided nothing Tuesday night between the Calumet Copper Kings and the Jeffers Jets at the Calumet Colosseum. Unfortunately for both teams, neither did eight extra minutes of overtime as the two teams skated to a 1-1 tie.

For the Jets, the tie feels very similar to a win, as the Jets finish their regular season series with the Copper Kings with a 1-0-1 record. At the other end of the rink, the tie feels more like a loss, as the Copper Kings (4-8-2 overall), who had strong showing over the weekend against University of Detroit Jesuit, reverted back to a team that makes the same mistakes over and over again, according to coach Dan Giachino.

“(It) just felt like we generated some chances here and there, and some decent shots,” Giachino said. “We missed the net a lot tonight, not that we generated a ton of real good looks, but when we did, we missed the net. We’re doing the same things over and over again, and to be honest, it’s just getting a little frustrating.”

Giachino felt that things were turning a corner for the Copper Kings with Friday’s win over Jesuit.

“There’s been some games where I feel like we’re making strides in certain areas,” he said. “I felt like we played really well this past weekend, and then today, we went right back into our same mistakes, same things, and didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.”

Calumet defenseman Dan Loukus looks for a teammate to pass to during a game against Jeffers Tuesday. (Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette)

Despite those concerns, the Copper Kings did lead the game, thanks to a goal from sophomore center Brendan Boberg 14:59 into the contest. Boberg found some space in the slot and buried a feed from co-captain Dan Loukus to give Calumet a lead that held into the second period.

Even though they fell behind in a first period that saw them outshoot the Copper Kings 9-4, the Jets kept applying pressure where they could, and eventually, things broke their way. Coach Patrick Nettell is proud of how far his team has already come this season. The Jets improved to 7-7-1 with the tie.

“We knew we had a different team this year, but we didn’t know how different,” he said, “until you get into the games. Any game we play, the other teams are a really good team until we beat them. So, you give it everything you got, you (have to) every single game.”

The Jets had a power play in the first period and two more in the third, including one with 27.7 seconds left in regulation, but could not find the back of the net.

“It is very frustrating, but I think we controlled the majority of the game,” Nettell said. “We just couldn’t get it. We had so many chances. We just couldn’t get it in the net. (It’s) off the crossbar, off the pipe, off the goalie, stick scrums in front. We had our chances.”

The lone Jets’ goal came off a situation similar to how Nettell described his team’s scoring chances throughout the contest. Alternate captain Elliot Asiala had a look in the slot about 12 and a half minutes into the second period, but his shot sailed over the net and hit the glass behind Calumet goaltender Bruce Parisot. The Jets went and retrieved the puck and senior winger Kellen Koskinen got the puck back to Asiala in a similar spot in the slot. This time, he did not miss, beating Parisot at 12:57.

Only scoring one goal is not a recipe for success, according to Giachino, who saw his team give up the one-goal lead.

“I feel like we’re in a good spot with our goaltending and everything else,” he said. “If we can get to three, we should be okay against a lot of teams that we play. It’s just a struggle right now to get, honestly, past one.”

The Copper Kings had 20 shots on goal, but Giachino wants to see more from his group. His team missed the net Tuesday night nearly as often as they hit it.

“I don’t know how many times we can keep kind of trying to drill that in,” he said. “We have to get pucks on net. We don’t generate 30, 40 shots a game. So, when we have opportunities, the puck has to get on the net, because, as you know, one shot sometimes turns into two to three, turns into rebound goals. Pucks off the glass, turn into nothing.”

Simon Rajala made 19 saves to earn the tie for the Jets while Parisot made 20 for Calumet.

Nettell feels that his team is improving with each game it plays.

“We totally competed, and we’re finding balance and consistency on our team,” he said, “which is really great.”

Up next

The Jets host Gaylord on Friday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. Calumet remains at home, hosting Salem on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Calumet Colosseum. Saturday, they will host Escanaba at 4 p.m.


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