Return to last season’s form
I’m not going to say they’re back for good, but the Eldo did look like a championship team on Tuesday night as they handed the Bacchanale a sound 7-2 drubbing at Big Mine Ice Arena.
Team player/coach Paul O’Connor stoked the fires of his teammates prior to the game, reminding them of their 4-3 loss to the Bacchanale earlier in the season.
“It was a blood bath last time we played these guys,” said O’Connor. “Some of our DNA was left on the ice.”
The inspirational words took hold in the opening minute of the game when Guy Cuilla skated end-to-end to stuff the puck into the back of the net for a 1-0 Eldo lead.
Despite the early strike, the Bacchanale remained calm at the consecutive one-man assaults by the Eldo in the first period.
The Bacchanale spread the ice out with solid position playing and precision passing to counter the Eldo attack.
Proud new father and Bacchanale center Clif Dimon offered up the Bacchanale’s first real look at the Eldo net midway through the first period. Skating down the wing, Dimon drew a defender and fed David Bright Sr. in the slot. Bright took the shot but the pounding snow that evening had piled up in front of the Eldo goal and pushed his shot wide of the post.
The Bacchanale evened the score in the first minute of the second period when Meredith McNamara carried the puck wide and hit John Collins with a pass. Collins connected and this time the snow helped out, as the snow dragged the puck just enough to let it slip past Eldo goalie Justin Murphy.
The goal inspired the Bacchanale for a flurry of shots, and they whacked away at the puck in the snow, but Murphy and the Eldo defense held them off.
The Bacchanale looked to take the lead on a power play, but the man advantage blew up in their face as the Eldo sent their A-team on the ice to kill the penalty.
O’Connor netted the first of two short-handed goals, intercepting a breakout pass at the blue line and skating through to score for a 2-1 Eldo advantage.
Seconds later the Bacchanale was looking at a two-man advantage, but again it backfired, as Cuilla threaded through the Bacchanale zone to score his second goal of the game.
Cuilla followed that play with an assist to John Hickey for a 4-1 Eldo lead, and then finished the period with his third goal of the game in the last second to put the Eldo on top 5-1 heading into the third.
The Bacchanale earned a temporary reprieve from the Eldo attack midway through the third period when Collins poked a pass through the slot to Pete Nichols. Nichols tipped the puck to McNamara on the weak side and McNamara buried it near post for the Bacchanale’s second goal of the game.
But the Eldo was far from done, and they responded a minute later as O’Connor netted his second goal of the game, pushing a loose puck through during flurry in front of the Bacchanale net.
The Eldo then closed the game with random attacks of offense finally resulting in a top-shelf stuff by Matt Cahir to cap the 7-2 slaughter.