The Red Wings celebrate Anthony Mantha's first-period goal during the 2019 Kraft Hockeyville USA game at the Calumet Colosseum. (Photo by Stefan Kubus/MiHockey)

Red Wings treat Calumet to 4-1 win in Hockeyville USA game


By @StefanKubus and @MichaelCaples –

CALUMET – The Calumet hockey community had the rare opportunity of watching the Detroit Red Wings play in their local hockey landmark Thursday evening.

The boys in the Winged Wheel jerseys didn’t disappoint.

Playing in front of a packed crowd inside the Calumet Colosseum – North America’s oldest indoor ice arena – the Red Wings recorded a 4-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in an official NHL preseason game.

It capped off a day – rather, a week – of celebrating Calumet and the Calumet Colosseum as the 2019 winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA.

“I knew this was going to happen, I knew our town was just going to go completely bonkers for this and I think it’s absolutely fabulous,” said Betsy Crawford, the Calumet native who penned the Hockeyville winning submission and daughter of long-time Copper Kings head coach Jim Crawford, said during the NBCSN broadcast. “It couldn’t have happened to a better place.”

The Wings and Blues were in town to celebrate the Hockeyville title and help break in a recently-renovated Colosseum; the $150,000 prize has already been used for a new ice plant as well as new heating and sound systems. The character of the building – first opened in 1913 – maintains intact, of course.

Following a check presentation with local leaders and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a national anthem performed by local Gracia Ann Perala with the U.S. Army JROTC Skating Color Guard – Calumet High School students presenting the colors in hockey skates – and a ceremonial puck drop with Colosseum rink manager and veteran Mark Peters, the Wings impressed the Calumet audience.

Anthony Mantha scored two goals and then Michael Rasmussen scored two goals, guiding the ‘hometown’ team to a victory more than 500 miles away from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

There was plenty of Michigan and Upper Peninsula representation in the contest. For the Wings, Michigan natives Dylan Larkin and Danny DeKeyser suited up, as did Northern Michigan alums Troy Loggins and Dominik Shine (a Pinckney native). For the Blues, Michigan Tech alum Mitch Reinke got the call-up for the game; he was joined by Troy native Mackenzie MacEachern.

Newcomer Calvin Pickard picked up the win between the pipes for Detroit; Jordan Binnington took the loss for the Blues.

Mantha scored his third goal of the preseason to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead in the contest, taking advantage of the Detroit’s second power-play opportunity. On a pass from Dennis Cholowski, Mantha launched a one-timer from the top of the right circle for the game’s opening goal.

The second period started with a bang, as the Blues and Wings exchanged goals in the first two minutes.

First, the Blues evened the score 1-1, as Ryan O’Reilly redirected a pass from David Perron past an outstretched Calvin Pickard just moments after a St. Louis power play had expired.

Mantha made sure to reclaim the lead in a hurry. Less than 30 seconds later, the Wings’ No. 39 forced a turnover and raced down the ice before beating Jordan Binnington top-shelf stick-side to put Detroit up 2-1.

“He looks unreal,” Rasmussen said of Mantha. “You guys can see, he looks big, strong, obviously shooting the puck well. It’s pretty scary.”

Thirteen minutes later, Rasmussen scored his first of the evening, burying a loose puck in a scramble inside the Blues’ crease. Dylan Larkin started the play with a saucer pass to Tyler Bertuzzi, and while Binnington stopped Bertuzzi’s initial try, the puck popped up high into the air and waited outside an empty net for Rasmussen.

At the 15:33 mark of the second – just 1:34 after his first goal – Rasmussen struck again, this time redirecting a point shot from Cholowski to increase Detroit’s lead to 4-1.

“I always kind of go there but I think today I lucked out, a couple good shots and one just sitting there for me so it was a good game, it was fun out there,” Rasmussen said.

“I think I get confidence from doing the little things, wining my draws, finishing my checks, little stuff like that, but its always good to score, it’s fun to score so I like scoring goals and helping the team.”

“I think his game has grown as it’s went along,” Blashill said of Rasmussen. “Obviously we’ve put him at center. We want to keep him at center. I think long term he can be a really good defensive center. And then add his offense with his netfront play, and he’s a big guy. I heard someone refer to the center as kind of the third defensemen, and ultimately that’s what they are. And when you have a guy t hat’s 6-foot-7 with that kind of reach, it’s obviously a real advantage.”

Pickard contributed the highlight of the third period, when he made a stretched-out left leg pad save on a breakaway attempt from Robby Fabbri with under six minutes to play.

With the victory, the Red Wings improve to 3-2-2 in the 2019 preseason; Detroit hosts its last home game of the exhibition schedule Friday evening against the Maple Leafs before traveling to Toronto to wrap things up the next night.

Stay tuned for more coverage from the Calumet Colosseum…

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