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What a difference 24 hours can make for a hockey team. After the Calumet Copper Kings blanked the University of Detroit Jesuit Cubs on Friday, 8-0, the Copper Kings knew that Saturday would be different.
It was. The Cubs scored the game’s first three goals and then held off a third-period charge by the Copper Kings to skate away from the Calumet Colosseum with a 3-2 win.
“The other team played with a lot more intensity and physical-ness. Those were the kind of games I thought we were going to get this weekend,” said Copper Kings coach Dan Giachino. “A one-goal type of a hard-fought game and that’s essentially what we got here (Saturday). We just happened to be on the bottom end of it.”
The Copper Kings were unable to capitalize on a five-minute major in the second period, but did find the back of the net on a late-game power play to make things interesting with 3:12 to go. Junior winger Alex Mattila got the goal, his second of the period.
“I thought we worked hard the entire game,” said Giachino. “It’s unfortunate that we were in a three-goal hole going into the third period. I thought we’d played better than that, (but) we weren’t able to put the puck in the net. We just kept fighting and we were able to get two, we just couldn’t get that third one.”
Sam Erkkila, who set up Mattila for the power play marker, had already fed one to Mattila for an earlier goal after the Copper Kings had spent 39:52 of the contest without a goal.
“No one really stuck out but I thought we played solid,” said Giachino. “I thought we deserved a little better fate then what we got but it is what it is.”
The stands were full and the fans were loud, influencing the atmosphere and speed of the game.
“This was the most amped up that we had it,” said Giachino. “It was physical, it was fast and the crowd was into it. This is what you want out of every hockey game in terms of atmosphere and crowd involvement. I was definitely happy about that.”
Cubs forward Mark Lauro faked goaltender Alex Studebaker for a shot into the back left of the net just 44 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
Jesuit got a second goal late in the first period after Studebaker made one save, but the puck deflected onto the stick of Hank Sznewajs, who shot into the left side of the net at 16:59.
“I think we had a much better effort right from the initial puck drop,” said Cubs coach Rick Bennetts. “We had a big team meeting (and) went over the game film and just tried to build on what energy they brought on (Saturday) night. (We wanted to) try to set the pace early on. That was our goal going into the game.”
Bennetts was pleased to see the type of performance from his team that he is used to.
“I think we had a better forecheck,” he said. “Our defensive zone was better. We tried to key in on the defensive zone. We changed the d-zone. We changed the forecheck, so we adjusted some things. We had better control to relieve the pressure and get the puck out of our end.”
Jesuit’s game-winning goal came on a shot from the right side of the blue line from Will Gilroy at 13:50 of the second period..
Detroit Jesuit 2 1 0 – 3
Calumet 0 0 2 – 2
1, UDJ, Mark Lauro, 0:44
2, UDJ, Hank Sznewajs (Alex Chapie), 16:59
3, UDJ, Will Gilroy, 13:50
4, CLK, Alex Mattila (Sam Erkkila), 5:52
5, CLK, Alex Mattila (Sam Erkkila), PP, 13:48
UDJ, Przybylo 19
CLK, Studebaker 17
UDJ: 5/13; CLK; 3/6