The Meadville hockey team looked like a lock on paper. In three previous meetings with Penn-Trafford, the Bulldogs won each by an average score of 7.7-1, including last season�s 8-2 victory.

What a difference a year makes.

Led by the stellar play of Chris Cerutti, the Warriors overcame a hostile crowd to post a 2-1 win over the Bulldogs at DeArment Ice Arena. The loss was the first in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League for Meadville, now 6-2-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the league. Penn-Trafford remains undefeated in the PIHL at 2-0-0.

And Cerutti is the reason why, as he scored both goals for the Warriors.

After a sloppy first period in which both teams looked out of sorts, the game went to the second with Meadville on the power play. It didn�t matter to the Penn-Trafford star.

Just 25 seconds into the second stanza, Cerutti broke free for a breakaway on Bulldogs goalie Bryan Danczak. Cerutti deked right, then went left with the shot. Danczak was up to the challenge and forced the shot wide with a tremendous pad save.

But 26 seconds later, Cerutti was at it again off a faceoff. This time there was nothing Danczak could do. Cerutti skated in all alone, faked left and, when Danczak went down to the ice, lifted the puck into the top right corner for a shorty and a 1-0 PT lead.

�(Cerutti) is a very talented kid,� said head coach Jamie Plunkett. �As soon as it looked like they were going to get the puck he moved to an open spot and they tried to get the puck out to him.

�We didn�t do a very good job of taking away their strength. He obviously was their strength and he had a bunch of chances. Of all of their shots, he probably had about 80 percent of them.�

Cerutti�s flash may have hurt the Bulldogs more than just with the goals.

Several times in the game, the Bulldogs tried to get too fancy and it cost them. With 6:19 left in the first period, Meadville gave the puck away in its own end while trying a fancy pass. Cerutti got it and fired on net, but Danczak stopped the shot and corraled the rebound.

With 1:10 left in the second period, Morgan Nickerson skated in after a loose puck. When PT goalie Joel Sterniak came out of the crease, Nickerson poked the puck under Sterniak, but rather than coming out to see the wide open net in front, he tried to take the shot from an impossible angle and hit the side of the net. Sterniak also stopped several shots because there was no action in front of the net.

�(Sterniak) was making some nice saves,� said alternate captain Casey Rogers, who scored the only goal for Meadville. �I don�t think he handled the rebound very well, but we weren�t there to get it.�

In the third period, the Bulldogs gave the puck away in their own end again. It was the story of the game for Meadville. Right down to the final goal.

�It came down to the end where they called a timeout and made the plays,� said Plunkett. �We made a mistake and lost the puck off the faceoff. And the last guy we need to leave all alone is (Cerutti).

�We really need to simplify the game more.�

That showed on Rogers� goal.

The Bulldogs were dominating play in the Penn-Trafford end after Cerutti�s first goal. The puck came to Rogers on the right side of the net. Rather than try something fancy, he took the shot. The puck found the five hole and 3:17 into the second period, the score was tied 1-1 .

It was one of the few mistakes Sterniak made in the game.

�Sometimes a good goaltender can steal a game for you,� said Plunkett.

Meadville will try right the ship Thursday when the team travels to face Baldwin at 7 p.m. The �Dogs then return home for a non-conference game with Trinity on Saturday and a huge PIHL showdown with Mt. Lebanon next Monday.

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