Kings grab their crown

CALUMET – Calumet senior Brendan Jacques, playing in his final game at Calumet Colosseum Thursday, single-handedly willed his Copper Kings to a share of their first Great Lakes Hockey Conference championship since 2004.

Marquette, which had won every GLHC title since 2004, led 2-1 after two periods in the second-to-last regular season game of its rebuilding season, but Jacques scored three third-period goals in a span of 2 minutes, 42 seconds, and added an empty netter to give the hosts a 5-2 win.

“Being a leader I knew I had to do something to step the team up, and I was fortunate to get a couple good opportunities to bury the puck, and I was lucky to get them to go in,” said Jacques, a Northern Michigan recruit who now has 23 goals this season. “It’s just a great feeling to get a win going out on our last night here.”

Jacques, who also had the primary assist on Lucas Lahnala’s second-period goal, deadlocked the game at 2-all with a shot from the slot 7:55 into the third period.

Just 1:08 later it was pretty clear it was going to be Calumet’s night after he banked a poor-angle shot from the right halfwall off a defenseman’s skate and past Marquette goaltender Evan Kyle.

A tripping call only 47 seconds after that goal opened the door for Calumet to all but seal the deal, and 47 seconds into the power play, Jacques made it 4-2 through a mad scramble in front of and all around Kyle.

Jacques actually had several opportunities for a fourth goal, one on a wide-open chance between the circles he fired over the net, and another in which he got tripped on a breakaway.

He finally got his fourth with 51 seconds left on an empty net. Kyle was pulled with 2:04 remaining and Marquette called a timeout with 1:33 left, but Jacques stole the puck in the neutral zone and tallied his fourth goal of the period uncontested.

“Brendan pretty much carried us,” Calumet coach Jim Crawford said. “You need your big players to come through at the right time and he did, no doubt about it. Four goals in a period is pretty impressive.”

But Marquette was pretty impressive early on, dominating possession through much of the first period and getting on the board 1:34 before first intermission with a Scott Frazier goal.

Lahnala fired a wrist shot past Kyle only 1:06 into the second period to deadlock the score, but Marquette recaptured the lead with a Forest Folker goal at the 9:53 mark.

“The first two periods I thought we played a perfect game,” Marquette coach Mike L’Huillier said. “We did everything we wanted to do, we bottled up the neutral zone, won the battles on the boards, we scored a couple goals, but I tell you what, the last eight minutes No. 9 (Jacques) took over. I don’t know how one guy can beat 18 guys, but No. 9 totally controlled the game.

” I didn’t think we collapsed, we just let some opportunities to the wrong guy and he took advantage of them.”

Marquette actually outshot Calumet 11-9 in the third period and 27-25 for the game, but the Redmen rang the post a couple times and were denied by Copper King senior goaltender Brian Rogers throughout the third.

Calumet shares the GLHC title with Escanaba, which beat Kingsford 6-2 Thursday. The Kings and Eskymos split against each other but were otherwise undefeated in conference.

“This has probably been a lot better year than I thought considering what we lost and everything,” Crawford said. “To win your last game, of course it’s big for us, but we have to play a lot better than that or Houghton will bury us (in the regionals).”

The Kings (16-9, 5-1 GLHC) and Gremlins will play in a regional semifinal next Thursday at MacInnes Student Ice Arena.