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BOYS HOCKEY: Dakota beats Romeo on late goal in outdoor game TOUT VIDEO

Steve Fredericks scores winner at Clark Park

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In a matchup of MAC division leaders, Dakota defeated Romeo, 3-2, on a contested last-second goal in an outdoor hockey game Sunday at Detroit’s Clark Park.

Dakota’s Steve Fredericks scored the winning shorthanded goal as time ran out to send the Cougars (12-6-2 overall) to victory over the Bulldogs (13-3-2).

Fredericks’ score came after Jake VanDevelde stopped a Romeo clearing pass at the blue line with under 10 seconds left, then fed the puck to Fredericks for the winner.

Officials huddled to determine if the puck indeed passed the goal line before time expired.

Complicating their decision was that the end-of-game buzzer at the rink was not working, depriving them of an official audible alert.

Dakota coach Mike Jakubiak was sure of the outcome. “I saw the puck go in and hit the back of the net,” the Dakota coach “I looked up right away and saw the clock still had .3 seconds on it.”

Jakubiak was not surprised by Fredericks’ clutch heroics. “Steve finds the back of the net. He’s got the scorer's touch.”

Romeo coach John Minjoe, while displeased with the outcome, was nevertheless proud of his team’s performance.

“We played our best game of the season today. We had a tie yesterday against Clarkston. Then, today, we played an elite state team and, in my opinion, we were the dominant team for a good portion of the game.”

The Cougars and Bulldogs were each coming off ties in the previous day’s MAC-OAA matchup. Dakota, ranked 10th in the state, tied fifth-ranked Rochester United, 4-4.

Romeo, ranked among the top 12 in D2, tied Clarkston, 3-3.

Both teams are undefeated in league play.

Sunday, Dakota raced out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Austin Azzopardi at 15:44 and Matt Pellerito at 4:03.

The second period featured the teams trading power plays and good goalie play.

With 5:20 remaining, Romeo’s Nick Santi stopped a point-blank shot by Dakota’s Robbie Devuyst. Then, a minute later, Santi made a left leg pad save against Dakota’s Vasko Vidosvki.

Santi’s play caught both coaches attention. “He made a couple huge saves that kept them in it in the second period,” Jakubiak acknowledged.

“Nick is the best goalie in the MAC, as far as I am concerned,” Minjoe said.

Dakota’s Adam Bryant was equally strong, stopping several Romeo chances late in the second, including shorthanded glove save at the two minute mark.

With 21 seconds remaining, Romeo scored its first goal when Hunter Jenuwine’s long reach tapped in a puck that was still after a Bryant save.

Romeo tied the game midway through the third when Mitch Pacitti scored, assisted by Junewine.

The scored stayed tied until Fredericks’ late-game goal.

Even though his team jumped out to an early lead, Jakubiak thought the previous day’s game had a bearing on his team’s play. “Our game last night was at 8 pm. It seemed our legs were a little heavy today early on.”

This was the third year the teams played at the outdoor venue. The Clark Park Coalition exists to provide an array of diverse, high-quality recreational, educational, social and mentoring programs in southwest Detroit.

Last Updated: 2/3/2014 10:02:04 AM EST