Dan Giachino didn’t yell, he didn’t scream, but he also didn’t act like the Copper Kings had played well in the second period. They hadn’t.
After jumping out to a three-goal lead in the first frame, Calumet let Howell fight its way back into the game, scoring two goals in the second period to keep things close.
Giachino’s team already knew its play wasn’t up to par, so he didn’t tell them again. Instead, he challenged the Copper Kings to fix things themselves.
“I just asked them, ‘Well what are we going to do about this? We could sit back and let them hang in the game, or we can take control of it.’ “
Calumet preferred the second option.
The Copper Kings (4-6-1) scored four goals in the final period to defeat Howell 7-3 in the consolation game of the John MacInnes Holiday Hockey Classic on Thursday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Calumet built a quick 3-0 lead in the first period. Dean Loukus first put the Copper Kings on the board when he scored 29 seconds into the game, then at 7:39 Rylan Anderson and Scott Loukus each scored in a 20-second span.
But the three-goal lead created complacency with the Copper Kings.
“I don’t think that we had the jump after we got that early 3-0 lead,” Giachino said. “I think we let off the gas mentally in the second half of the first and the entire second period. I definitely wasn’t happy with the effort and intensity level.
“We have to watch ourselves from letting off because the teams we play are good, and if you give them an inch they are going to come back.”
Howell took advantage of a power play with 1:27 left in the first, and Dominic D’Angelo gave the Highlanders their first goal of the game. Then, 24 seconds into the second period, Stefan Frantti scored, cutting the lead to 3-2.
The Copper Kings had 17 shots in the second — their most in any period — but the quality of those chances was much lower than in the first period.
“In the beginning, they were outworking us down low,” Howell coach Eric Hirzel said. “They do a good cycle, but after those first couple of goals we shut them down a little bit and they weren’t getting to the slot as much.”
After their first three goals, the Copper Kings went 27 minutes without scoring. But the lack of offense wasn’t as concerning as the lack of effort. So when they went into the locker room clinging to a 3-2 lead over Howell, Giachino challenged his team to rise to the occasion.
“He wanted us to think, to calm down and to play how we usually play,” Sam Erkkila said. “What coach told us in there really got us riled up, got us ready to play in the third. We were way faster than them, so we tried to get shots and create havoc on their end.”
Erkkila led the way for Calumet in the havoc-creating department, and by the time the game ended, the junior had two goals.
The Copper Kings made it clear immediately in the third period that they wouldn’t be coasting anymore. Erkkila scored after just 18 seconds had ticked off the clock. Then, 42 seconds later, Dean Loukus gave Calumet a 5-2 lead.
“They were hanging in there, they had a nice second period and they tightened it up there at 3-2, so to come out and score two goals in the first minute of the period was huge for us to give us a three-goal cushion, and we played well after that,” Giachino said.
Calumet tacked on two more goals, one more from Erkkila, and the other from Tanner Rowe. Howell’s Russell Daavettila netted a goal with under a minute left to play, but by that point, the game was out of reach.
Next up, the Copper Kings host Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.
– – –
Howell 1 1 1 — 3
Calumet 3 0 4 — 7
Calumet — Dean Loukus (Josh VanDenburg), :29, 1-0.
Calumet — Rylan Anderson (Tyler Johnson, Scott Loukus), 7:39, 2-0.
Calumet — S. Loukus (Brent Loukus), 7:56, 3-0.
Howell — Dominic D’Angelo (Dominic Russell, Brandon Eoll), 15:07, 3-1.
Howell — Stefan Frantti (Eoll), 1:38, 3-2.
Calumet — Sam Erkkila (Davin Lehto), :18, 4-2.
Calumet — Dean Loukus (Erkkila), 1:01, 5-2.
Calumet — Erkkila (D. Loukus), 7:14, 6-2.
Calumet — Tanner Rowe (Alex Matilla, D. Loukus), 7-2.
Howell — Russell Daavettila (Frantti), 16:36, 7-3.
Howell: Ethan Ryan 30; Calumet: Nick Voelker 22.
Howell: 4/19; Calumet: 4/8.
Howell 1/4; Calumet 1/4.