Hancock holds off Calumet at MacInnes Holiday Classic

HOUGHTON – A month after their one-sided Copper Island Classic, Calumet made a game out of it in the first semifinal of the MacInnes Holiday Classic Friday.

Hancock, however, made a win out of it.

Calumet tied it 10 seconds into the third period, but the Bulldogs bagged the last three goals and will play for the title tonight after a 5-2 victory.

Hancock coach Dan Rouleau found several faults in his team’s performance, which may have been related to the fact their last game was 13 days previous in Escanaba.

“You knew Calumet was going to get better. They weren’t going to stay a six, seven-goal opponent against us as the year went along. Tonight, they played well and I don’t think we played as well as we could play tonight,” Rouleau said.

“Our passing and receiving passes was absolutely terrible. I thought we would have had maybe four or five odd-man situations if we could have handled the puck.”

Still, the Bulldogs still had a heavy advantage in shots on goal, posting 30 through two periods to Calumet’s 11.

That figure didn’t mean squat, however, when Braden Anderson poached the puck and broke in on Hancock goalie Jacob Givens, scoring the 2-2 goal 10 seconds into the third period.

“It was a good solid effort. We didn’t get many chances but he took care of that one,” Calumet coach Jim Crawford said.

Copper Kings goalie Tyler Hubbard, making his first prep start, had a solid night. His blocker save on a clean breakaway by Tanner Kearly might have been his best highlight, but at 4:49, the Bulldogs broke the tie for good. Hubbard made the first two saves on a Hancock rush, but Brett Lepisto collected the puck and wrapped around the net slipping the puck in just before Hubbard got his right skate across for the game-winning goal.

“We had to work so hard to stay in the game, it takes some wear and tear on you,” Crawford said.

The Copper Kings (1-7-1), already struggling with an inexperienced roster, saw the road turn further uphill when Eric Mattila exited last week’s game at Houghton with a shoulder injury and will not dress this weekend.

In the end, Crawford said his team just didn’t have enough speed to keep up.

Lepisto all but ended it with a goal on the game’s only power play at 10:11 and Hunter Kero definitely ended it with an empty-netter, his second goal of the game, with 1:16 to play.

“I don’t think we had an ‘A’ game in any category. Just thought it was a pretty sloppy game all around,” Rouleau said.

Shots ended up 43-19 in Hancock’s favor, though Rouleau chalked that up to Calumet playing a defensively oriented game.

“They were just looking for opportunities, chipping it off the glass and trying to get odd-man chances themselves,” Rouleau said.

The Bulldogs (6-1-1) will meet rival Houghton for the first time this season in search of their seventh MacInnes Holiday Classic trophy and first since 2006. Calumet will play Sault Ste. Marie in tonight’s consolation game at 6.

“It’s nice to get a shot at it. It’s one game, anything can happen. No matter what team we play, we’re going to be a huge underdog, but it’s like the playoffs. In order to win that trophy, it’s a one game shot and anything can happen. But we definitely have to play better than we did tonight,” Rouleau said.