Major power play backfires on Kings

CALUMET – The five-minute power play handed to Calumet early in the third period looked like an open door to tie up a 2-1 game for a team struggling to score.

It proved to be a trap door that sealed their fate.

The backbreaking shorthanded goal scored by Rochester United’s Max Harper helped the visiting Falcons solidify their lead and go on to a 4-1 win Friday at Calumet Colosseum.

“It was the most important part of the game. If we’d tied it, got the equalizer, maybe we would have played better, who knows?” Calumet coach Jim Crawford said.

Calumet (1-5) had reason to hope early on after a solid first period following up on its first win of the season Tuesday against Marquette. After the fifth game in the first six in which the Copper Kings scored one or no goals, the initial problem is apparent.

“I think we’re working pretty hard, but the bottom line is you’re not going to win by scoring one goal a game. We’ve got to score more, there’s no question about it,” Crawford said.

Calumet’s good ‘jump’ didn’t lead to any goals in the first period, and the only shot of six for each side to go in was Porter’s first of the game, on the rush unassisted at 12:09.

After falling behind 2-0 early in the second period, the Kings appeared to be on the rise after senior forward Travis Porter banged a loose puck in the slot past Rochester goalie Riley Morgan at the 6:22 mark of the second.

Two Falcon penalties came and went before the teams went to the locker room 2-1.

At 1:43 of the third, Rochester’s Evan Asuncion was ejected for a check from behind. Calumet had a few half-chances on the five-minute power play, but when Nick Marek chipped it into neutral ice, Harper got behind the Calumet defense and beat Kings goaltender Ian Carroll to the puck. He slotted it home for the 3-1 goal.

Rochester killed off the rest of the penalty before Harper completed his hat trick at 13:28.

Carroll made 32 saves for the Kings, who were outshot 36-24.

“We’re getting opportunities from our key players, but they’re not actually scoring and they have to. Bottom line is, we’ve got two or three guys that have to score for us, if they don’t, we’re going to have major problems,” Crawford said.

The Copper Kings host Farmington Hills Unified Flyers tonight at the Colosseum.