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It was one of those rare hockey games where even the losing coach was pleased with the outcome at the Calumet Colosseum.
“I thought it was a great game,” said Brighton Bulldogs coach Paul Moggach in regards to his 2-1 loss to the Calumet Copper Kings. “It was one that could have gone either way.”
It went the way of Calumet early on in the third period as Dean Lokous carried the puck behind the net and passed it out into the slot to Scott Loukus, who put the puck past goalie Harrison Fleming.
The Copper Kings then held on to some tight defense and stayed out of the penalty box to come away with a win.
“I thought both teams played well,” Copper Kings coach Dan Giachino said, echoing his opponent. “The style of play was indicative of a one-point game.”
It looked like it was going to be the Bulldogs’ game at the start. They came out onto the ice strong in the first period beating the Copper Kings to lose puck after lose puck. Calumet had a tough time even getting the puck out of their own zone on a penalty kill. Brighton’s Noah Stanko went to the penalty box at 9:16 for slashing, but Calumet could not capitalize on the man advantage.
However, just two minutes later at the 11:38 mark, senior forward Sam Erkkila found a puck that deflected off the pads of Fleming and quickly pushed it into the net. Nolan Jenich launched the initial shot from the slot, and he got the assist the goal.
The Bulldogs came back to tie the game at 16:07 when forward Braden MacDonald launched a slap shot from just inside the point which flew past everyone including Calumet goalie Alex Studebaker.
The score remained tied throughout the second. The Copper Kings dominated the first half of the period as they were on the offensive attack much of the time. The Bulldogs had one power-play opportunity but were unable to put anything together.
Giachino praised the goaltending of Studebaker who made 27 saves for the win.
Going into the third, both coaches told their teams to keep doing what they were doing.
“I told them it was going to come down to who played harder or who could take advantage of a mistake,” said Giachino.
Moggach echo a similar sentiment encouraging his players to keep playing hard.
The Bulldogs had their opportunities to tie the game but a tough Copper Kings’ defense kept them at bay. After calling timeout with around four minutes left, the Bulldogs picked up the pressure as they fired puck after puck at Studebaker, but their effort was cut short with around minute left in the game as Stanko was sent to the penalty box for two minutes for elbowing and the clock ticked down to a Calumet victory.
The Copper Kings move 9-3 on the season and are off until next Saturday when they face Brother Rice at the Calumet Colosseum.
Brighton 1 0 0 – 0
Calumet 1 0 1 – 2
1, CLK, Sam Erkkila (Nolan Jenich, Gabe Coppo), 11:38
2, BRI, Braden MacDonald (Nate Przysiecki, Caleb Seiter), PP, 16:03
3, CLK, Scott Loukus (Dean Loukus), 3:31
BRI, Fleming 6 8 6 – 20
CLK, Studebaker 8 9 9 – 26
BRI: 1/2; CLK: 0/3
BRI: 3/6; CLK: 2/4