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Calumet’s arsenal was in full force in an 8-0 Divisioin 3 Region 17 semifinal win against Jeffers on Thursday at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
The Copper Kings (19-5-1) came out a bit slow as Jeffers pushed the pace early. But Calumet got the puck out of its defensive zone, got a line change and took over the game from there.
Scott Loukus and Peter Larson both scored two goals for Calumet. Cam Kauppinen and Noah Jukuri each had two assists. Goaltender Alex Studebaker made 11 saves for his seventh shutout of the season.
Calumet plays Houghton for the Region 17 championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the MacInnes Ice Arena.
“Obviously it’s going to be a good hockey game. Two evenly matched teams. We’ll be as prepared as we can be over the next six days and hopefully we’re in for a good entertaining hockey game next Wednesday night.”
The MHSAA changed the format for the hockey playoffs. This year, there’s more time between the regional semifinals and final. Instead of the final being on Saturday night with the old format, both teams have an extra couple days to rest, practice and prepare.
“I like the fact that we have three more days of a little bit of rest and we got three days of good practice time between now and next Wednesday,” Giachino said. “I like the new format. This game might be a hair too far ahead in the week. Ideally this game would’ve been nice on Tuesday night. I like it — it gives us more time to rest and prepare for opponents as well.”
Thursday was a promising start for the Jets (8-15), who had a couple early scoring chances. But after Calumet cleared the zone and got a change, Jeffers didn’t match the Copper Kings’ hunger for the puck. The Jets had a 2-on-1 later in the game that was broken up by a bad bounce, but the Copper Kings didn’t allow a lot of slack defensively most of the night.
“We knew we were going to have our hands full,” Jeffers head coach Pat Nettell said. “When you don’t see teams of that caliber all the time, it’s going to be a struggle. It’s going to end like that. We knew they were going to come and keep on coming and that’s what they did. We tried to hold strong but we just couldn’t contain them.”
Simon Rajala got the start in goal for Jeffers. After giving up his fourth goal on 11 shots, Noah Nettell finished the game in relief, allowing four goals on 21 shots.
Coach Nettell said Calumet’s nose for the puck, and patience with it once they get it, is hard to overcome.
“Self-driven — they want it — they want that puck no matter where it’s at. Every single shift, every single kid wants it,” Nettell said. “That’s speed and drive. That’s what you want on every team. Especially their offensive zone. They just pressure the crap out of you, get you running and chasing and it opens up opportunities. All eight of their goals were right in the house area again.”
The loss was the last game for Jets six seniors including Noah Nettell, Nolan Asiala, David Storm, Jackson Rocchi, Matthew Halonen and Aiden Kinnunen.
“We had a great group of seniors this year. A lot of leadership and accountability,” Coach Nettell said. “Our first line was all seniors. It was great. We had a tough season. We played a lot tougher teams this year. I think we’re heading in the right direction. We competed in a lot of our games this year. We didn’t lay an egg. Some people might say we laid an egg tonight but we didn’t. Just all around a great great bunch of kids.”
Calumet 4 4 — 8
Jeffers 0 0 — 0
First Period–1, CHS, D. Loukus (Kauppinen), 2:26. 2, CHS, Rilei, 5:46. 3, CHS, Larson (Jukuri), 11:30. Penalties–JHS, C. Hillstrom (tripping), 14:35.
Second Period–5, CHS, S. Loukus (Mattila, Kauppinen), 1:14. 6, CHS, Larson (Jukuri, Sturos), 2:24. 7, CHS, T. Rowe (Mattila), 5:18. 8, CHS, S. Loukus (H. Rowe, D. Loukus), 13:58.
Shots on Goal–CHS 15-17–32. JHS 4-7–11.
Power-play Opportunities–CHS 0 of 1. JHS 0 of 0.
Goalies–CHS, Studebaker 4-7–11 saves. JHS, S. Rajala 11-0–11 saves. Nettell 4-17–21.
Penalties-minutes–CHS 0-0. JHS 1-2.