Meadville Tribune

Sports

February 4, 2013

H.S. HOCKEY: Plunkett adds to coaching memories

MEADVILLE — Over the years, the Meadville Bulldogs/CCYHA Midget Flames have afforded head coach Jamie Plunkett many memories. On Saturday, the team gave him  another as it beat the Arctic Foxes 6-3, handing the head coach the 900th victory of his career.

“To do something this long, you really have to enjoy it,” said Plunkett. “It is going to end at some point, and then you can look back and  reflect. But for now, we practice Sunday and play (today).”

In his 27th season at the helm, Plunkett has plenty to look back on.

There are the obvious memories. Eight PIHL state championships, the first coming in 1986-87 in Class AA. Two years later, the Bulldogs won their first Class AAA title. Then, in 1991-92 the team won the first of five straight titles.

The last state championship came in 2002-03, which also marked the only year the team won its own invitational. The Bulldogs made it to the final two other times before the 2002-03 season, losing both times. The ’Dogs won 3-2 in double overtime against St. Ignatius, which has the most Bulldog Invitational titles with seven.

“We won our own tournament and ended the regular season playing poorly. I had a rotten feeling going into the playoffs, but something just clicked,” Plunkett said.

“We knew we had talented kids, but went through a bad stretch. But every team is different in its own way.”

Other games Plunkett recalled include a game against Team Pittsburgh on April 1, 1989 in which Meadville won 6-5 as time expired. The contest may not have happened at all if it did not take the east two weeks to get ready for the state championship game. Earlier that season in December, the team beat East Kenwood in double overtime in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“That was a special year for those kids,” said Plunkett.

Plunkett also recalled trying for years to break into Buffalo to play the best teams. In 1994, the hard work paid off when Buffalo St. Fancis traveled to Meadville. St. Francis beat the Bulldogs up pretty good the first night, but Meadville came right back and pitched a shutout the next day.

Rivalries created against the likes of Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park and Cleveland’s St. Edward also remain high on Plunkett’s list.

Other memories also rank high.

The players, for instance. Plunkett has coached some greats over the years. Perhaps that is why, while addressing the team after win No. 900, he thanked his current players before becoming a little choked up. Asked if he could recall all the greats, the coach politely declined.

“I would hate to even try,” said Plunkett. “We have had so many talented players, I would hate to leave any kid out. Plus, with a team each kid has a different role. What they do might not show up on the stat sheets, but the team knows how important it is.”

The head coach did remember a group he had to mention, his assistants.

Currently the guys that help on the bench are Dick Holabaugh, Scott Phyllis and Kevin Petrarca. Over the years, that group of assistants included Joe Caretti, Denny Erickson, Doug Hanaway, Jim McCarney, Gabe Amato, Ben Corey, Bill Dross Jr., Shawn Fitzsimmons, Dr. Lawrence Newhook and Dave Stockton.

“Joe was actually my first assistant,” said Plunkett. “And Dick has been with me since the early 90s. Many of the other guys had played for me.

“Its funny, there are now guys involved with the Crawford County Youth Hockey Association that I coached and they are coaching their kids. That is where it all starts, with the community and CCYHA. And both have been behind me and the kids since I started this.”

The amazing thing is that Plunkett has been able to win consistently in a constantly changing arena.

“It is more difficult to pick up wins than it was in the 90s,” said Plunkett. “And winning in the Pittsburgh Amatuer Hockey League is tough. The Pittsburgh teams have gotten better.

“But I like where the program is. We lose four quality seniors, but have a really good freshman class. So I am excited.”

Maybe just excited enough to go for 1,000 wins.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • District 1 District 1 girls enjoy day off

    It was a tense day for many of the teams participating in the Senior League Softball East Regional Tournament on Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hawley scores District 1 finishes off dominant pool performance by trouncing New Jersey

    Pitchers often get the most credit in shutout victories. And Emma Osborne, Katy Dunn and Emily Beddick have certainly been deserving for District 1.
    Its defense, though, has been equally deserving.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sliding into second District 1 remains unbeaten after two routs

    Becca Siple’s response to a question on Twitter may have said it all.
    “Best experience of my life,” Siple said, when asked by The Meadville Tribune via Twitter to describe her experience thus far at the Senior League Softball East Regional Tournament. Following her response was the hashtag #D1isfamily.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers camp Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.
    Spence almost gleefully smashed into fullback Bryce Davis during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first full contact drill of training camp on Monday. The two tussled for several seconds before Davis — his fists full of Spence’s jersey — pulled them both to the ground.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • District 1 dominates at East Regional

    Outscoring its opponents 32-0, District 1 moved to 3-0 at the Senior League Softball East Regional Tournament on Monday with a pair of wins.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kissing the bricks Gordon wins at Indy for record 5th time

    With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again.
    Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight days before his 43rd birthday and on the weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first Brickyard victory.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Roethlisberger OK with choice to wait on new deal

    There are days when Ben Roethlisberger can feel every single hit he’s absorbed during a decade as one of the NFL’s most fearless quarterbacks.
    And there are days when the Pittsburgh Steelers star sees the young faces surrounding him in the huddle and it seems like he can play forever.

    July 26, 2014

  • Teen doping Survey: Teens experimenting with HGH on the rise

    Michael Guerreri wanted to try human growth hormones so he could look like a pro wrestler. Joe Badalanato hoped HGH would help him become a better football player. James O’Brien figured the drug would improve his fastball.
    The three 18-year-olds from suburban Philadelphia told The Associated Press this week that they bought bottles of HGH online in the past year. Turns out, what they bought was fake.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Montoya back at Indy intent on winning for Penske

    Juan Pablo Montoya is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — one night only, an encore of sorts, in a guest-starring role for Team Penske.
    The Colombian is entered in the Brickyard 400 for the explicit purpose of winning at Indy in NASCAR and giving team owner Roger Penske one of the few trophies missing from his collection.

    July 25, 2014

  • Haley Wise District 1 looking forward to bigger goals

    The members of the District 1 Senior League softball team haven’t spent a whole lot of time playing together.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Poll

A South Carolina woman was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The decision has created a debate over “free-range” parenting and whether it’s a good idea or not. What’s your take?

I’m fine with it. If she cannot afford childcare, what choice does she have?
This is horrible and very bad parenting.
I’m torn. It’s not right what she did, but it sounds like the mother had few other options.
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks