Calumet learning from mistakes after 4-2 loss to Detroit-Jesuit

Calumet’s Dean Loukus attempts to work around Detroit-Jesuit’s Timo Lenhard Friday at the Calumet Colosseum. (Eden Laase/Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — If the Calumet Copper Kings and the University of Detroit- Jesuit Cubs were wearing the same uniforms, at times, it would be near impossible to tell the players apart. That’s how close in talent and style the two teams were: Blue and maroon were the only things stopping them from being mirror images of each other.

From the puck drop to the final horn, speed was on full display, with both teams attempting to out-skate their opponents. But the Cubs had something the Copper Kings didn’t: Owen Przybylo in the net.

Calumet outshot Jesuit 29-20, but Przybylo came up with big saves, and the Cubs came up with a 4-2 win, Friday at the Colosseum.

Part way though the third period, Przybylo made a play that just about sums up the junior goaltender. Calumet fired off a shot, and Przybylo dove for the save, dropping his stick in the process. Then, he readied himself again and played the rest of the possession without it until a teammate was able to hand the stick back. It’s the kind of play that coach Rick Bennetts has grown accustomed to. Focus, he says, is Przybylo’s biggest strength.

And he used it to be a force against Calumet, coming up with 27 saves in the victory.

“In the second period, they completely dominated, but our goaltender made some really good saves,” Bennetts said. “We have to take our hats off to [Przybylo], who stole that game for us.”

Throughout the contest, both teams had plenty of scoring chances, skating out into open ice and using speed and skill to attack the net. The offense was nothing short of beautiful at times, but the Copper Kings missed in nearly every way. Off the right post, then the left. Wide, high, into the hands of the goalie. And misses, no matter how pretty, don’t count for anything.

The Copper Kings were left especially distressed because Przybylo and the Cubs held them scoreless for most of the game.

“We had a lot of chances where we were very close, and that gets frustrating after a while, especially when you are halfway through the third period and you haven’t scored yet,” Calumet coach Dan Giachino said. “Their goaltender played really well and made some great saves, but we have to do better getting into the hard areas of the ice and creating better chances. Most of our chances were from the outside and he was seeing the puck.”

The teams were locked at 0 for most of the first period. Then with three minutes to play, Jesuit finally put one in the net. Sean Asam lined up a long shot from the right side of the ice that slipped past Alex Studebaker to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

From there, the Cubs began to pile it on, taking a 4-0 lead midway into the third. Jesuit got goals from Conner Manning, Ben Charboneau and Henry Sznewajs.

Despite being outshot by the Copper Kings, the Cubs were able to generate better scoring chances. Those came partly because of skill, and partly because Calumet made mental mistakes.

“We had a couple of kind of sloppy goals that just went in,” Bennetts said. “So, I think those are hard on another team and when you are outshooting, out-chancing the opposition and then they get sloppy goals, that helped us because we were the guys getting those goals.”

Calumet’s play improved as the game went on, but the Copper Kings couldn’t make up the deficit. Sam Erkkila and Dean Loukus both scored late in the third period to break up what looked like a shutout for Przybylo.

“We used our speed at times, but I think their defensemen did a better job than our defensemen at limiting chances,” Giachino said. “We would have liked to generate a little bit more than we did tonight.

“We didn’t have a lot of jump in the first period. There were a lot of mental errors in the first period. We started coming on a bit, but we got ourselves in a hole again. By the time we got into the third period, I thought we were playing pretty well, but the hole got big enough that we couldn’t crawl out of it.”

That is a problem that has plagued the Copper Kings for much of the season, leading to their 4-9-1 record. But Calumet will get another chance to beat Jesuit, today at 7 p.m. in Calumet.

– – –

Jesuit  1       1       2       —       4

Calumet 0       0       2       —       2

First period

Jesuit — Sean Asam (Chris Meininger), 13:59, 1-0.

Second period

Jesuit — Conner Manning (Meininger), 9:02, 2-0.

Third period

Jesuit — Ben Charboneau (Henry Sznewajs), 3:23, 3-0.

Jesuit — Sznewajs (John Jeannotte, Brendan Gumble), 12:50, 4-0.

Calumet — Sam Erkkila (Dean Loukus), 14:13, 4-1.

Calumet — Dean Loukus (Brent Loukus, Erkkila), 16:28, 4-2.


Jesuit: Owen Przybylo 27; Calumet: Alex Studebaker 16.


Jesuit: 3/6; Calumet: 4/8.

Power plays

Jesuit: 1/6; Calumet 2/3.