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Posted: 01/23/13

STICKING IT TO CANCER. Hunter Jenuwine presents his jersey to Summer Earl and her mother, Niki, at the 3rd Annual Charity Cancer Hockey Game, "Sticking It To Cancer." The hockey team skated to honor or remember loved ones and family members stricken with cancer. Summer, who has been diagnosed with Brain Stem Giloma, an inoperable condition, will be the recipient of $3,500.

(Photo courtesy of Kevin McCracken)

Bulldogs fight on and
off the ice for Summer

‘Sticking It To Cancer’
game brings in $3,500

      The Bulldogs scored big Friday night not only on the ice with their victory over the Troy Athens Redhawks but in their fight against children's cancer at their 3rd Annual Cancer Charity Game.
       This year the Bulldogs were "Sticking It To Cancer" and donating all the proceeds from the game to Romeo student Summer Earl. Before the puck was dropped, the players were all on the ice with the name of a cancer honoree on the back of their jerseys while the national anthem was sung by Stephanie Rutkoske.
       The first period opened with the Bulldogs looking a little slow in the play. They had two power play scoring opportunities but couldn't capitalize on it. The Redhawks scored the first goal of the game late in the first period and the Bulldogs found themselves down by a score of 1-0.
       The second period looked much the same when the Redhawks scored again with less than a minute into the period. The Bulldogs were behind 2-0. That was enough for the Bulldogs as they found their inspiration on this special night and the scoring action began.
       Mitch Bidus opened the Bulldogs scoring with a goal assisted by Alex Gurnsey and Dustyn Fleming. The Bulldogs were back in the game and down by one goal. Within five minutes of the start of the second, the Bulldogs pulled the game even when Fleming scored assisted by Jake Rutkoske.
       With the adrenaline pumping, the Bulldogs found themselves vulnerable and shorthanded when six penalties were issued against them. They were able to keep the Redhawks at bay and the period ended with the Bulldogs and Redhawks tied 2-2.
       The back and forth hockey action continued into the third period. With less than nine minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs scored back-to-back goals. The first was scored by Adam Soboleski assisted by Mitch Pacitti and Jacob Hoxsey. Then Pacitti scored assisted by Soboleski. The Bulldogs were now leading 4-2.
       The intensity of the game was increasing as the hockey play continued. Cam Gillem scored an empty net goal with less than a minute remaining in the period assisted by Soboleski. The Bulldogs won the game 5-2.
       The celebration continued on the ice as the players from both teams assembled for pictures with Summer Earl. This was the first time that the Earl family had attended any hockey game. Niki Earl, Summer's mom was moved by the evening.
       "We don't know that much about hockey but we're going to be big fans after this," she said.
       The ceremony began as the story of each honoree was shared while the player presented his jersey to the honoree or a representative. The night highlighted the special lives of mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, grandpas and friends as 40 names were announced.
       The night was a huge success as the team raised $3,500 for Summer. In addition, there were many winners as raffle prize numbers were called, a 50/50 winner announced and even RCS Superintendent Nancy Campbell, won second place in the chuck-a-puck contest. Another special winner of the night was Linda VanPamel, hockey player Kyle Hansen's grandmother, who won an iPad2 and case. VanPamel and her granddaughter, Carissa, gave the iPad2 to Summer.
       The Charity Cancer game was so much more than a hockey game as remarkable lives were honored and remembered. It was a night to give and to share memories and create new memories as these hockey players once again fought against childhood cancer.

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