Two of the most consistent hockey schools year after year, the No. 3 Calumet Copper Kings and the No. 1 Flint Powers Catholic Chargers met Friday, for the first time since 2008, in the Division 3 semifinal. Just like that last meeting, the Copper Kings sent the Chargers home empty-handed, thanks to a 5-2 victory.
will now face Warren DeLaSalle today for the state title at 2 p.m.
The Copper Kings were going to need a strong effort from their top line of captain Rory Anderson, assistant captain Ed Beiring, and sophomore Brent Loukus, and they got just that as Loukus struck twice and Anderson and Beiring each added one in the win. All three scored once in the middle frame to break a 1-1 tie.
“We got those three goals in about a four-minute span,” said Copper Kings coach Dan Giachino. “To get one from Brent, one from Eddie and one from Rory was huge there in that short amount of time.”
Calumet’s second periods have been strong all season long. Loukus, who finished his night with two goals and two assists, felt that was when the Copper Kings took charge.
“Our second period has been good for us all year,” said Loukus. “That was big for us. Rory’s [goal] was especially big. To get that other one gave us a little cushion. Tacking on that extra one gave us comfort going into the third, knowing we are up three.”
Calumet wanted to get off to a fast start, and they were able to do just that as Loukus struck just 37 seconds into the contest when his wrister from the right circle climbed over Chargers goaltender Parker Rey’s glove and in.
“They are a good team,” said Loukus. “We got that one early, got our feet underneath us and kept it going the whole game. That [goal] was big because it showed that we weren’t intimidated by them.”
The Chargers tried to get aggressive in order to respond to the quick tally and that led to the Copper Kings finding themselves on an early five-minute major power play. It did not take long for Calumet to appear to take a two-goal lead when Anderson found space in the right circle and fired a shot that hit Rey in the shoulder, kicked up and over him and appeared to bounce off his back, into the net. Upon review, it was determined the puck did not completely cross the line.
The Copper Kings had a lot of good pressure after the waived play, but could not solve Rey again.
The Chargers finally found their skating legs in the latter stages of the opening frame and they pressured Calumet’s defense with a solid forecheck. Fortunately, Copper Kings goaltender Nick Voelker was there to make the saves. He made three tough saves in a span of nearly four minutes on shots from the slot and a redirect in close.
The Chargers broke through late in the frame when leading goal-scorer Brendan Smith stole the puck near the Calumet blue line, skated it across the slot and beat Voelker with a backhand shot at 14:18.
Powers had a chance to take their first lead of the night, early in the second period, when senior Jack Sturos took a penalty. But the Copper Kings kept the Chargers from getting any quality scoring chances.
About four minutes later, Calumet went on the power play for the second time in the contest and that proved to be what they needed to regain the lead. Anderson took a pass from Sturos while skating down the left boards and then crossed into the Powers zone. Seeing no direct path to the net, he skated the puck behind the goal and beat Rey to the right post for the wraparound goal at 7:58.
About a minute-and-a-half later, the Copper Kings again found themselves deep in the Chargers’ zone. Loukus attempted to feed Beiring in front of Rey and the puck hit a defender as Beiring crashed the net. After the puck careened up, it hit Beiring and bounced over Rey and in at 9:23.
Just 1:38 after Beiring’s marker, Loukus struck again off a faceoff to Rey’s right. Anderson won the draw back to Loukus, who cut across the slot. Loukus fired a wrist shot that bounced off a Powers defender and bounced twice off the ice before kicking up and over Rey’s right leg at 10:56.
In the third period, Powers did what it could to try to solve Voelker, but the junior stood tall to stop a pair of close chances from Smith and a redirect off a pass from Josh Warda as part of his 18-save period. Voelker made 37 saves for the game.
“They obviously came at us hard in the third period,” said Giachino. “They generated a few nice scoring chances, but Nick made a few big saves.”
It wasn’t until a late power play that the Chargers finally beat Voelker again when Jon Thomas knocked a rebound past Voelker at 10:53 to cut Calumet’s lead to two.
Not wanting the Chargers to climb back into the contest, the Copper Kings’ top line went back to work again and were eventually rewarded when Loukus was fed the puck in the right circle from Beiring. With no shooting lane available, he found assistant captain Trevor Johnson in the left circle, whose wrist shot beat Rey at 14:04, sealing the victory.
The five goals were the most Rey had surrendered all year. He came into the game with a 0.45 goals against average.
The Copper Kings beat the Chargers, 1-0, back in 2008 for the state title.
Calumet 1 0 1 – 2
Flint Powers 1 3 1 – 5
1, CHS, Brent Loukus, :37
2, FPC, Brendan Smith, 14:18
3, CHS, Rory Anderson (Jack Sturos), PP, 7:58
4, CHS, Ed Beiring (Loukus, Anderson), 9:23
5, CHS, Loukus (Anderson, Sturos), 10:56
6, FPC, Jon Thomas (Luke Evo, Keegan Wildfong), PP, 10:53
7, CHS, Trevor Johnson (Loukus, Beiring), 14:04
CHS, Voelker 8 11 18 – 37
FPC, Rey 8 9 11 – 28
CHS: 5/10; FPC: 4/11
CHS: 1/3; FPC: 0/4