CALUMET — What a difference a day makes.
On Friday, the visiting Eisenhower Eagles couldn’t put three passes together in their 8-0 loss to Houghton. On Saturday, not only did they make three passes but scored three goals in a 3-2 victory over Calumet.
Eisenhower head coach Bob Hall knew something had to change after Friday night’s performance. Otherwise, it would be a long 525 -mile trip home to Shelbyville on Saturday night.
“We were able to stick to our plan,” he said. “Yesterday, we got away from it. Today, the boys executed well, and we kept going at them.”
The Eagles got on the board first and according to their coach, that certainly helped them get out of the slump of Friday and start some momentum for a new game.
The opening goal came at the 15-minute mark for the Eagles. Nick Nocita fired one from the top of the crease. It ricocheted off the bar and into the back of the net.
The Copper Kings evened the score three minutes later thanks to a power-play goal by Jackson Rilei. While the Eagles’ Mason Chapie sat in the box for hooking, Rilei lined one up from the top of the left circle that was unstoppable.
Both teams would tally another goal before the end of the first. The Eagles’ second goal came by way of a two-on-one attack. Dominic Riggio fed a perfect pass to Alex Rekar who back handed it past Copper Kings goalie Bruce Parisot.
Calumet tied it at two with a Tom Erkilla goal with just minutes to go in the first.
Both teams laid goose eggs in the second, but it certainly was not for lack of trying particularly on the Copper Kings’ side of the ice. Calumet out shot Eisenhower 12 -1 in the second, but nothing got by their goalie Evan Hays. For the game, Hays stopped 32 of 34 Copper King shots. While the Eagles put just 18 shots on Parisot during the game.
“Hays played a great game in net,” Hall said.
“On the other hand, head coach of the Copper Kings, Dan Giachino, called his team’s performance in the second and third as just plain sloppy.
“We got outplayed and out worked today,” he said. We are not doing the little things like chasing down pucks in the offensive zone to make ourselves better. We have just four goals in our last three games.”
Halfway through the third the Eagles sealed the deal with a third goal a at the eight-minute mark. It was then that Gianluca lifted one past Parisot.
While the Copper Kings tried to tie it again, they got nowhere. Then with less than three minutes to go in the game, they earned a power play. While Rekar was in the bench for tripping, the Coper Kings peppered Hays with shots far and wide, but nothing got through.
“We made the adjustment on our penalty kill,” Hall said. “We wanted to take away their high shot and it worked. This was a team effort today and when you play like a team, you win games.”
The Copper Kings head south this weekend to take on Cranbrook on Friday and Detroit Country Day School on Saturday.
Houghton blasts Eisenhower, 8-0
HOUGHTON — High school hockey fans went home early Friday night as the Houghton Gremlins shut out the visiting Eisenhower Eagles 8-0 with 12 minutes to go in the third period. The eight-point differential after two period invokes the mercy rule and the end of the game.
The Gremlins strongest period was the second as they scored five goals.
“After a slow start in the first, our kids decided to come out and play there in the second,” said Gremlins head coach Corey Markham.
Both teams had a sluggish start. The squads seemed to be staking out their territory as a check here and a hit there was more prevalent than moving the puck up ice. However, after the opening round, the Gremlins threw the strongest punches for the remained of the game.
Houghton scored first at the 11:08 mark in the opening period as Landon Stevens fired a shot off the pads of Eisenhower’s goalie Evan Hays, and Mike Maillette was right there to slap it in. Maillette would earn a hat trick on the night and much praise from his coach.
“I was happy to see him get the hat trick for us,” Markham said. “He and Landon (Stevens) and Aaron Kogan did really well for us. They are our orange line, and they were able to get us started.”
Less than two minutes later, Houghton’s Stevens made it 2-0 as he received a pass from Kogan behind the net and one-timed it in.
The game became out of reach for the Eagles in the second period due to penalties. The Gremlins had back-back-back power-play goals from Camden Markham and Gaborik Carlson to start the second. After Maillettes second goal, a bullet fired from the left circle, the Markham Gaborik duo did it again to make it a 7-0 tilt headed into the third.
“I was very happy with our power play line,” Markham said. “They moved the puck well.”
On the other bench, Eagles head coach was not pleased with his team’s performance. The Eagles were out shot 32-9 and amassed 22 minutes in penalties compared to just four minutes for the Gremlins.
“We got away from works for us,” Hall said. “The penalties put us back on our heels, and we never transitioned back to attack mode.”