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HOCKEY: Romeo shuts out Utica in battle for MAC White lead

Dakota wins in OT, stays undefeated

Kyle Nedbal (left) of Romeo and Utica's Kyle Allard chase the puck during the first period of a MAC White Division game. (Macomb Daily staff photo by Ray J. Skowronek)

A battle for the top spot in the Macomb Area Conference White Division turned into a slaughter for the Romeo hockey team. The Bulldogs got a pair of power play goals from sophomore forward Mitch Bidus en route to an 8-0 drubbing of rival Utica on Friday night at Suburban Macomb.

The game was stopped with over eight minutes left to play, due to the mercy rule. Romeo took control of the MAC White with the victory, as its record improved to 5-0 in the division and 13-2 overall. Utica (4-1-1 White, 12-4-1 overall) fell to second place.

In addition to seizing first place in the White, Romeo also extended its winning streak to 12 games – a mark which dates back to November 28 of last year.

Bidus thought his team was outstanding.

“Everyone is playing their position, doing their part, and getting done what they need to do,” Bidus explained.

Romeo also got goals from seniors Adam Soboleski, Trevor Tessmar, Wyatt Bevins and Cam Gillem; juniors Mitch Pacitti and Hunter Jenuwine scored as well. Junior goalie Nick Santi stopped 18 shots, earning his fourth shutout of the season.

Utica senior goalie Ethan Smith got bombed with 32 shots at the other end of the rink, including several rebounds at close range.

Bulldogs coach John Minjoe was very impressed with his team’s performance in every regard.

“I think we played a solid game tonight, in every zone of the ice,” Minjoe said. “We’re very fortunate to have our game on a night when we needed it. They’re all very selfless players. They move the puck and they have pride in the (defense). They want to shut teams down.”

The Bulldogs were nearly as impressive defensively as they were up front. Romeo got extremely strong play from senior Kyle Nedbal and junior Dustyn Fleming. From the onset, it was Romeo’s physical play that wore out the Chieftains. While not the most imposing team to look at, the Bulldogs make their namesake proud.

“We don’t appear to be a physical team, but we’re pretty tough for small guys,” Minjoe explained. “We can put the shoulder down.”

The third period saw Bevins cash in on a breakaway opportunity in the first four minutes of the period. Gillem’s sneaky wrist shot ended the game early about six minutes later.

Romeo took what already was a sizable lead and detonated the scoreboard in the second period. The Bulldogs tacked on another three goals for a 6-0 lead after 34 minutes.

Twenty five seconds in, the Bulldogs got a rebound goal off the stick of Jenuwine, with assists going to Fleming and Gillem.

Bidus scored two power play goals in a span of 2:22 to close out the period.

The first period was about as absolutely positive, or positively negative, depending on one’s allegiances. While the shot total (Romeo ahead 10-6) may have alluded to a close period, it was in fact a downright flood by the Bulldogs offense. It took a 3-0 lead before the game had crossed the 12-minute mark.

All three of the Bulldogs goals came at even strength, though each was the result of some fortunate bounces. Nonetheless, Romeo was there to capitalize.

Pacitti tossed one on goal, where Soboleski chipped it past Smith for a 1-0 lead at 9:01. Pacitti followed up with a goal of his own on the ensuing shift. He crept out with the puck from behind the net and bounced it off of Smith’s right leg and into the net; it was 2-0 at 8:12.

Romeo’s third goal of the period was set up by Soboleski, whose bomb from the point actually missed the net. The puck, however, squirted out to Tessmar, who chipped it in at 5:58.

NON-LEAGUE

DAKOTA 3, NORTHVILLE 2 (OT): Sophomore right wing Sammy Shaheen scored his second goal of the game 2:30 into overtime, after Dakota senior Marc DiGrande forced the extra period when he scored with 30 seconds left in the third period, and the visiting Cougars remained undefeated. Brad Schornak and Matt Riehl assisted on DiGrande’s goal, which came off the rebound of a shot taken at the point. Both of Shaheen’s goals were unassisted. One came with the Cougars short-handed. DiGrande’s goal came after the Cougars had pulled their goalie. Goalie Anthony Benvenuti made 25 saves as Dakota raised its record to 16-0-0. The Cougars play Romeo at 5:30 p.m. today at Clark Park in Detroit.

Last Updated: 1/25/2013 11:36:56 PM EST

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