There was no such thing as an off-season for Churchill High School football players Liam Waugh, Dustin Jackson, Will Reimer and Bryson McNeil as the Bulldogs hockey team opened its season Nov. 5 at the Sam Southern Arena, taking on the Linden Christian Wings.
Hockey head coach Mike Harris said that the team had made special adjustments in order to accommodate the football players who make up a third of their team.
"We scheduled practices later in the evening and early in the mornings so we could have the football guys at practice."
Coach Harris added that there was excellent communication between the hockey and football coaches.
Assistant hockey coach Colin Shaw said "football was a great way to keep the guys in awesome shape for the hockey season."
As for the game, Linden Christian scored late in the first and early in the second period to take a quick 2-0 lead.
An undisciplined Bulldogs team took too many penalties, leaving itself short-handed for most of the second period, which eventually resulting in another LC goal.
The match went the way first regular season games usually go, as the Dawgs were sloppy compared to a more finely-tuned LC team, which was playing the sixth game of its regular season.
The Bulldogs were granted a later start date to their hockey season as they waited for football to end.
"We just need more game-situation experience and we’ll be all right," Harris said.
As the Ice Dawgs marched into the dressing room for intermission, down 3-0, their heads were hung low.
Goalie McNeil made a couple big saves to begin the third period as both teams came out on fire. But the Dawgs simply couldn’t put one past the LC goaltender until the Dawgs got a break and captain Dustin Jackson scored a beautiful backhand goal on a breakaway.
The LC goalie then stood on her head as the third continued to heat up.
For the most part, the third was cleaner, better hockey and even with the net empty the Bulldogs lost a tough game 3-1.
Best of luck to the Dawgs with the rest of their season.
Dan Sylvestre is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge.