By Chris Dubiel
STEVENS POINT, WI – After taking the win in a close game on Friday night, the Bulldogs were in for another tough tilt as the Saints came out strong in the first period Saturday night. Eagle River, WI native Lee Satran was tested early and often, making several key saves in the early minutes of the game.
“If I get a lot of shots in the first five minutes and I do [well], it’s pretty much lights out for the rest of the game,” said Satran.
Central Wisconsin did well limiting Chicago’s chances by keeping them to the outside and countering off of turnovers. The Saints generated some good scoring opportunities, especially on the power play, but could not solve Satran in the opening frame. A high-sticking call on Saints forward Colin Van Hauter negated a Central Wisconsin power play and created a 4-on-4 situation with 2:40 remaining. Just as Chicago’s penalty expired, Jim Bohne knifed through center ice and into the Central Wisconsin zone. Bohne cut across the slot to lose the defenseman and fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Saints goalie Stephen Salek to put the Bulldogs in front. Bohne’s power play goal was crucial, coming late in the period on the road. Satran made a big stop on a 2-on-1 with five seconds left to keep his team ahead going into the intermission. The Saints held the advantage in shots 16-6.
While Central Wisconsin had been playing with emotion and intensity since the third period of Friday night’s game, the Bulldogs began to pick up the pace of their game in the second period. The teams would trade penalties and chances throughout the period but no one found the back of the net till midway through the period. During 4-on-4 play, Vito Bruno banked the puck of the right wing boards in the neutral zone. Bruno’s bank pass found Mike Maines who streaked into the Saint’s end and snapped a wrister past Salek’s glove to make it 2-0 Chicago. The Bulldogs generated momentum off of the goal as Salek needed to make some tough saves to keep his team in it.
With 3:06 left in the second, Adam Marshall was whistled for hooking, after Central Wisconsin had a near miss. They would capitalize on the power play seconds later as Ian Dart fed Jeremy Ebert in the deep slot. Ebert roofed the puck to cut the Chicago lead in half. Just as the Saints got themselves within one, the Bulldogs came right back with a big goal late. Marshall disrupted a Central Wisconsin pass and the puck bounced to Colin Papesh who fed Pete Jorgensen parked in front. Jorgensen made no mistake and ripped one off the right post and in to make it 3-1. Chicago took back the momentum and carried a two-goal lead into the second intermission.
Central Wisconsin’s play became more chippy as the game wore on as frustration began to set in. A lot of jawing went on in front of both benches but the Bulldogs were not goaded into any dumb penalties.
“The most important thing is we shut them up on the score board and we shut them up in the stands,” said Bulldogs forward Mike Delaney.
After Satran thwarted an early barrage of point blank chances for the Saints, the Bulldogs pulled ahead further as Luke Morin hit Delaney in stride as he streaked up the middle and blew past the defense. Delaney deked Salek down with a backhand-forehand move as the goaltender went for the poke check. He finished upstairs to make it 4-1 Chicago.
“I went in there, made a move hard and finished strong,” said Delaney.
The Bulldogs added one more tally late after Jorgensen was able to stuff home a loose puck after attempts from Tyler Cosentino and Colin Papesh. A workmanlike effort in front of the net rewarded Chicago with a 5-1 lead. The Bulldogs took care of the puck and closed out the game for their fourth straight win.
Chicago was outshot 45-30. Satran was sharp, finishing the game with 44 saves and was named the game’s third star. The Bulldogs go for the sweep on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.