It’s been a busy week-and-a-half for the Meadville hockey program, which played six games over the first nine days of the regular season.

But it’s also been a fairly successful stretch. On Monday — the team’s third play date in a row — the Bulldogs bounced Fairview 5-0 in a non- conference affair at DeArment Ice Arena. Meadville now heads into a four-day break with a record of 4-1-1.

“We’re playing some good hockey right now, I think,” said Bulldogs junior forward Cade Nickerson, who had an assist last night. “But (Fairview) wasn’t the best team we’re going to face this year. We’ve played some good teams. And as you can see by some of these results, we’re not where we want to be quite yet. Hopefully we’re getting there”

Meadville doesn’t return to action again until Saturday, when the midget team — the Crawford County Flames — host the Pittsburgh Huskies at 5 p.m. at the MARC. Then on Sunday the Flames are away at North Pittsburgh.

“A few days off and then we have two midget games over the weekend,” said Bulldogs coach Jamie Plunkett. “We haven’t had a lot of days to practice. Our schedule has been crazy. So, now we’ll get a couple practices in. And we definitely need some practice.”

The value of a little practice time was evident last night as Meadville’s special teams — a focal point of some previous practice sessions — were responsible for four of the ’Dogs’ five goals.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Bulldogs senior defenseman Chris Allegretti. “We’ve been struggling on the power play, and we finally got that going, which was big. Penalty kill, we struggled with that in the beginning of the year. We finally got that going. It’s just the little things we’ve been working on in practice we were able to do (Monday).”

Meadville’s first goal was the only one scored on even strength. It was about four and a half minutes into the second period when a clear by goalie Eric Shilling made it to Cody Hockenberry in the neutral zone. The ’Dogs had a 2-on-1, but Hockenberry kept it and beat Fairview goalie Brent Jones stick side.

The Bulldogs then ended the period with a pair of shorthanded goals. Connor Lang was in the penalty box on a five-minute major for head contact. But halfway through that penalty, Allegretti stripped the puck from one of the Tigers skaters and tapped it Austin Scott for a breakaway opportunity. Scott thrashed Jones to make it 2-0 Bulldogs.

Then a minute later, with Lang still in the bin, Allegretti got a goal of his own. He took a pass from fellow defenseman Garrett Hope and skated deep into Fairview’s end, before taking a sharp-angled shot that bounced off Jones’ blocker and went in for the score.

“We’ve spent two practices on those, just short-handed (situations),” Allegretti said. “You could tell we knew what we were doing with those.”

The Bulldogs finished the night with a pair of power play goals in the third period.

Hockenberry got his second goal of the game 43 seconds into the third, one-timing a deep cross pass from Allegretti.

Then with five minutes remaining Meadville had another man advantage and were pelting Jones with a series of shots. Mike Bogardus finished it off, backhanding a loose puck over a sprawled out, flailing Tigers goalkeeper.

Jones was apparently injured on the play and left the game after that fifth goal. He faced 29 shots and made 24 saves by the time he left the ice. The Bulldogs had 31 shots total.

On the other end of the ice, Shilling needed just 11 saves to record his second shutout of the year.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the defense,” Shilling said. “They played well. Everybody played well (Monday). Hopefully we can keep it going.”

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you