By Mike Williamson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday night was a homecoming of sorts for the Chelsea hockey team as longtime Bulldogs assistant coach Kenny Grundy came “home” with a Pinckney team to face the Bulldogs for the first time since he took over the Pirates program last spring.
It was a different kind of Homecoming as the Pirates and Bulldogs same the same home ice at the Arctic Coliseum and Saturday, Pinckney was considered a home game for the Pirates with the Bulldogs being the visitors.
The game was close from the start and went down to the final minutes, but the Pirates pulled it out 4-3 for Grundy in his first time coaching against his former team.
The first period was a scoreless draw with both teams having some quality chances.
Chelsea had a good chance on a power play, but Pirate goaltender Connor Slotnick made a nice save on a play in front of the net. The Bulldogs then missed a pass on a 2-0 break and a short time later Slotnick made another save on a centering pass.
The Pirates best chance came in the final seconds of the period when the Pirates had a pair of great chances, but the Bulldogs Aidan Boote was there for both saves to keep it scoreless.
Boote came up big at the start of the second as he came up with a save on a Pirate breakaway to keep it 0-0.
Pinckney found the net first when Tyler Horvath tipped a rebound between the legs of Boote to make it 1-0, but The Bulldogs answered less than a minute later when Brady Fleszar found the net to tie it a 1-1.
Chelsea took a 2-1 lead when a shot off the boards behind the net bounced right to Brad Sullivan who flipped it into a wide-open net.
The Bulldogs were called for a penalty late in the second and the Pirates started the third on the power play. Just 28 seconds into the third the Pirates tied it at 2-2 when Bubba Smith wristed a shot into the net to square things up.
Michael Whitus whipped a shot at the Bulldogs net from the blue line that Boote could not see with a lot of traffic out front and it found its way through to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
It stayed that way until just under a minute to play with the Bulldogs with an extra man and an empty net. There was a scrum against the boards that the Pirates Lucas Lumpiesz won and lifted a long shot from their own end that found home for an empty net goal to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead with 59.6 left in the game.
The Bulldogs kept the net empty and had the extra attacker and Fleszar scored his second of the game with 5.6 seconds left to make it 4-3, but the Pirates held on and rushed the ice to celebrate the victory.
There were lots of hugs between Grundy and his former Chelsea players and fellow coaches in the handshake line after the game.
The Bulldogs fell to 0-3 overall on the season and 0-1 in the SEC White. Pinckney improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the White.
Pictures by Mike Williamson