Melenick scores hat trick
Having a defense consisting of Bob Piccaro and Paul O’Connor, and Tom Brother in goal offers up so much offensive opportunity for their teammates on the Eldo.
While Piccaro and O’Connor own the area in front of the Eldo net and Brother saves anything else that gets through, the rest of the team can set up shop at the blue line, waiting to break out and set up numerous odd man rushes.
Once the puck is in the opposing team’s zone, Piccaro and O’Connor then hold court at the opposite blue line keeping the puck in play and allowing their teammates to work their own style of Town League magic on offense.
That style set the tone for the Eldo’s win over the Bacchanale on Thursday, January 29 at Big Mine Ice Arena.
Bacchanale goalie Jay Harris did what he could to turn away the Eldo attack but the pressure proved too much in the opening period of play.
The Eldo broke the seal on the Bacchanale net when Hank Deroche won the puck behind the goal and fed Steve Melenick in the slot with a backhand for the one-time shot.
Two minutes later, the Eldo won a face-off in the Bacchanale zone, kicking the puck out to O’Connor at the point. O’Connor settled the puck and looked up to find a mass of human flesh in front of the Bacchanale goal, completely blocking Harris’s view of the puck.
O’Connor used the five-man screen to pick the upper corner clean with a blistering slapshot that Harris never even saw, giving the Eldo a 2-0 lead.
The Bacchanale broke through on a handful of occasions in the first period, with both Pete Nichols and Peter Bright getting clean shots on net but Brother shut them down to hold the two-goal lead with two periods to play.
Thirty seconds into the second period, O’Connor had another clean look at the net but opted instead to push a pass through traffic to Melenick for the tip-in and a 3-0 Eldo lead.
While three goals can often shatter a goalie’s confidence, Harris remained focused to turn away several more Eldo opportunities the rest of the second period. Meanwhile, the Bacchanale showed some signs of life on offense as hustle in the neutral zone by the likes of Rebecca Cerio and Meredith McNamara pushed pucks through into the Eldo zone to set up shots on net.
Again, Brother shut down those that did get through and the Eldo carried a three-goal advantage into the third.
Down but not out, the Bacchanale’s rally cry turned to “three in the third blue, three in the third.”
Unfortunately, the call went unanswered as the Bacchanale struggled to finish what few chances they had on the Eldo goal.
The Eldo converted on a power play when Deroche found Melenick open in the slot again and Melenick stuffed his third puck in for the hat trick and the 4-0 Eldo shutout.