HOUGHTON — After three weeks off before Friday’s 3-1 loss at Hancock, the Brighton hockey team had less than 24 hours to prepare for tonight’s game at Calumet.
“If they were looking for Cal, they’ve got them now,” Brighton coach Paul Moggach said. “But I really believe that adversity makes us stronger, and we had that adversity last night. We’re learning how to play better together, and that we can’t over look teams. When we’ve lost, it’s usually been because we didn’t make it as important as we needed it to be, and because of preparation, not just as a team, but as individuals, thinking about our role and how we get there. I don’t think we had it last night.”
The Bulldogs (7-5) will take on the Copper Kings tonight at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post beginning at 6:50 p.m.
Brighton, which got an early unassisted goal from Brad Halonen in he first period, were 0-for-6 on the power play, and couldn’t answer after Hancock took the lead with 6:37 to play.
“Even though we had the early lead, I didn’t think we played too well in the first period,” Moggach said. “We had power-play opportunities we didn’t convert, and I don’t think we ever felt like we were in control of that game. We were in it, but we weren’t in control of it. It’s a fine margin between feeling confident where you’re at and fighting it, and we were fighting it all night.”
Like Hancock, Calumet is ranked in Division 3 this week, while Brghton, which had won seven of eight before Friday, is No. 2 in Division 1.
The teams will meet for the 15th consecutive year at the Calumet Colosseum, the former National Guard Armory, and for the half-dozen Brighton players who have relatives in the Copper Country, the game is much more than the contest.
“You can talk to them before the game,” Brighton’s Lee Pietila said of his cousins who live here, “and then,depending on how the game goes, it determines if you talk after the game.
“After the Houghton game last year, I didn’t talk to my cousin for weeks.”
As for Friday’s game, “we wanted to move on,” Pietila said. “Forget it. It’s over. Just come out ready to play.”
“I hope the adversity we went through last night and afterwards will give us a better game today and help us progress through the rest of the season,” Moggach said.
Before dawn Sunday, the Bulldogs will pile into their bus for the long ride back to Brighton.
“We look forward to (the trip) all year,” Pietila said, “and then it goes by really fast when we do get up here.”