MARQUETTE — The Gaylord Blue Devils had an idea what they might be up against for Saturday’s Division 3 state quarterfinal hockey game.
Perennial power Calumet quickly turned their fears into reality as they mercied the Blue Devils 11-1 in just two periods at Lakeview Arena.
The victory sends the Copper Kings (22-5-1) to the state semifinals at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth where they’ll face Detroit Country Day (22-3) or Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (16-12) Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Gaylord finished 14-13 after making its first quarterfinal appearance in 16 years.
“They’re very disciplined and well coached,” said Gaylord coach Jamie Voss. “They’re not physical, but they have a lot of speed. It seemed like everytime they shot, they scored. They set up some good opportunities.”
It took the Copper Kings just 15 seconds to light the lamp as sophomore forward Rilei Jackson scored on a breakaway.
Senior forward Peter Larson scored Calumet’s second goal on a one-timer from beyond the right circle at 5:21
The Blue Devils answered just 29 seconds later, shaving their deficit in half when senior defenseman Samuel Gorno scored from the doorstep on a pass from sophomore forward Ian Busch.
Calumet then converted on a pair of power plays, extending its lead to 4-1.
Senior forward Scott Loukus scored Calumet’s third goal from the slot just five seconds into the first power play and junior forward Dean Loukus gave them their three-goal cushion, also from the slot late in the opening frame.
“The kids played well,” said Calumet coach Dan Giachino. “We saw a different forecheck from what we mostly play. They set up in a neutral zone trap and it was very important for us to break through. Getting a comfortable lead into the intermission was huge. This is something we normally don’t see in the Copper Country. In the second period, they had to get out of it and try something different. With the speed we have, it would have been hard for them to contain us for 51 minutes.”
The Copper Kings scored seven times in the second stanza, including their fifth goal from the doorstep from Dean Loukus at 1:39.
Scott Loukus scored a hat trick and Dean Loukus and senior forward Alex Mattila added two goals each for the Copper Kings, who outshot the Blue Devils 28-6.
“Getting the goal in the first period helped us,” said Voss. “We weren’t going to deviate from our game plan that soon. We weren’t set up to defend on their power plays. They scored on both and we had to get out of our game plan. We needed to score some goals.”
Calumet, however, didn’t allow that to happen
“In the second period, we got a little more comfortable in our game plan,” said Giachino. “We were able to run our forecheck and play the way we normally play.”