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Posted: 12/12/12

Above, Hunter Jenuwine scores against the L'Anse Creuse Lancers Dec. 7. Below, Jacob Hoxsey makes a big hit on a Utica player.
(Photos courtesy of Kevin McCracken)

Hockey team brings
in two wins last week

      The Romeo varsity hockey team hosted the L'Anse Creuse Lancers on Friday, Dec. 7 at Suburban Ice Macomb.
       The Bulldogs came out with a force and started the scoreboard action when Mitch Pacitti scored an early goal assisted by Hunter Jenuwine. The force continued when defenseman Kyle Hansen had a few big hits with his signature hip check to defend the Bulldog territory. The period ended with the Bulldogs leading 1-0.
       The second period opened with the Bulldogs shorthanded and working to protect their lead. Their hard work paid off as they kept the Lancers at bay. Hockey action continued and the Bulldogs again found themselves shorthanded and successfully defending a five-on-three penalty call. The period ended with Romeo still leading 1-0.
       The third period had a much higher intensity as Pacitti scored again within the first 25 seconds of the period assisted by Jacob Hoxsey and Cam Gillem. The Bulldogs were not done when Jenuwine scored an unassisted goal making the score 3-0. Romeo found itself in penalty trouble again as it guarded the lead with another five-on-three deficit. Pacitti capitalized on the adverse situation and scored a shorthanded, unassisted goal to round out a hat trick for the night.
       The last few minutes of the game proved to be a bit more challenging for goalie Nick Santi as he worked to hold onto his first shutout of the season. His stellar performance was instrumental to the win and the Bulldogs shutout the Lancers, 4-0.
       When asked about the last minute of action, Santi laughed, "I was hoping it wasn't going to go in, it was bouncing around. Getting my first shutout of the season feels great."
       "We're just starting to be successful," Coach John Minjoe said of his team. "Getting the players to buy into the system, and playing aggressive but controlled hockey is important in this league because all the teams are good. If you don't come to play, you can be in big trouble fast."
       A familiar face was in the crowd cheering on his alma mater. Brett Bradford, a 2011 Romeo graduate and former Bulldog hockey player, is now a firefighter for the Auburn Hills Fire Department. When asked if he missed the game he said, "Oh yeah. I feel like I should be out there."
       The Bulldogs were back out on the ice the next night as they faced the Utica Chieftains. The first period opened with the scoring action continuing from the previous night. Kyle Nedbal landed a rifle shot from the blue line assisted by Adam Soboleski and Pacitti within the first two minutes of play. Shortly after, Soboleski scored a shorthanded goal assisted by Wyatt Bevins. The Bulldogs continued to control the period when Jenuwine scored during a scrum in front of the net assisted by Gillem and Matteo Mazur. The period ended with the Bulldogs dominating, 3-0.
       The second period revealed a total shift in the game when the Bulldogs found themselves up against a much different Chieftains team. The Chieftains repeated what the Bulldogs had done in the first period and scored three goals ending the period tied 3-3.
       The third period provided a much more intense and physical play when both teams attempted to get the go-ahead goal. Romeo would win the contest when Jake Rutkoske scored on a breakaway goal assisted by the goalie Santi. The Bulldogs had the lead, 4-3.
       The physical play continued as Utica pulled their goalie with 1:30 remaining in the third period. This would prove to be a great decision as the Chieftains scored the tying goal with 36.7 seconds left in regulation. The game was going into sudden death overtime.
       The overtime provided many opportunities for both teams to land that winning goal. It seemed the Bulldogs had a little more quickness in their stride when Pacitti seized a breakout pass from Bevins to score the game winner with 3:27 minutes left in overtime. The Bulldogs won 5-4.
       When asked about his two timely scoring passes including the game winner, Bevins said, "There's nothing better than passing to a teammate and having them score."
       Defenseman Rutkoske also had a huge goal when the timing was right and he skated in for the tying goal in the third period.
       "No one was pressuring and I just skated up, I had a huge lane," he said. "It was nice, a good feeling definitely."
       It is apparent that when the Bulldogs play like this they seem to be successful. And more success is what the Bulldogs are looking for as they face the L'Anse Creuse North Crusaders at Mount Clemens Ice Arena at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14.

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