Clarkston defenseman Eric Matynowski (right) goes past Romeo’s Kyle Hansen in his team’s 4-1 loss to Romeo in the MAC/OAA Hockey Showcase in Rochester on Saturday. (Special to The Oakland Press/CHRIS WALL)
Hockey - Boys
HOCKEY: Romeo comes to play in 4-1 victory over Clarkston
ROCHESTER HILLS — Though Saturday’s MAC-OAA Showcase wasn’t a rematch up any kind for Romeo, forward Mitch Pacitti still viewed the Bulldogs’ game against Clarkston as retribution.
“We kind of looked at it as payback for our loss to Macomb Dakota,” said Pacitti, referring to the Bulldogs’ loss last Saturday. “We wanted to play a better game than we did against them, so they kind of fired us up.”
The 5-2 loss at Clark Park in southwest Detroit snapped Romeo’s 12-game winning streak, and was motivation for the Bulldogs, who came out flying en route to an impressive 4-1 win at Rochester Onyx.
Pacitti’s forward line with Adam Soboleski and Mitch Bidus were dominant throughout the game, and accounted for all four goals.
“Their line made it look easy,” Pacitti said, “because they anticipated breakout passes by the Wolves in the neutral zone.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their first power-play opportunity of the game, when Bidus scored on a scramble in front of the net with 4:52 left.
Less than three minutes later, the Bulldogs grabbed a 2-0 lead when Pacitti skated down the right wing and ripped a shot past Clarkston goalie Nick Surovec with 2:33 left.
“We rang it around the boards,” Pacitti said. “There was a little scrum and Sobol kicked it to me, got an odd-man rush because their guy pinched.”
Some slick passing set the stage for the Bulldogs’ two second-period goals. Pacitti and Soboleski cruised across the blue line with tick-tack-toe passing that had the Clarkston goalie moving from post to post before Pacitti potted his second of the game with 10:38 left.
The Bulldogs (15-3-0) went up 4-0 when Soboleski scored with 5:52 left on a vaguely similar play as Pacitti’s previous tally.
“We didn’t pick anyone up in front of the net,” Clarkston coach Bryan Krygier said. “Their sticks were stronger in front of our own net. Our defense didn’t pick up the sticks, there was no stick position, and when you give them opportunities on point-blank shots, I mean, they’re going to go in.”
Forward Alex Propson prevented the shutout by scoring late in the third period for Clarkston (10-8-2).
“This was one of those games where nothing goes your way,” Krygier said, “and credit to Romeo, they battled for the puck.”