After a week of indoor practices and last-second schedule changes due to unhealthy air quality in the Valley, the Bulldogs still managed a strong weekend on the pitch, tying with Billings Central and defeating Laurel.
Whitefish (3-1-1) tied Billings Central 1-apiece on Friday before taking down Laurel 3-2 the following day. Both games were originally scheduled to be played at Smith Fields in Whitefish before being moved last Thursday.
“It was great to get out and have some clean air and to get a real game in,” head coach John Lacey said. “Once we got the rust out in the first half we felt real good about the games we played.”
Ian Lacey scored Whitefish’s lone goal on Friday, assisted by Casey Schneider. Whitefish managed only six shots on goal and got just the one to fall. Goalkeeper Colter Upton had two saves on Billings’ three shots on goal.
It looked like the same story the following afternoon, tied 1-all at the half against Laurel, but goals by Noah Romagnuolo and Xander Burger pushed the Bulldogs ahead for the win.
Romagnuolo scored two goals in the game, one in each half.
Upton had 10 saves for the Dogs in that match.
While scoring hasn’t been a big issue for Whitefish this season, Lacey said missed opportunities plagued his team during Friday’s tie.
“We left a few on the field with Billings that we should have scored,” he said. “We have to score, so some of it is a mentality thing, some of it is a tactical thing, and we’re also trying to be more opportunistic. It’s hard to score, so we can’t let chances go to waste.”
Lacey said he’s happy with how his team has been playing, especially against strong eastern times like Billings and Laurel, and he’s excited to see how the Dogs play once conference play begins.
Whitefish hosted Columbia Falls on Tuesday after presstime. They’ll also take on Bigfork for homecoming Saturday at noon at Smith Fields.
“We’re real excited for that Columbia Falls game,” he said. “It’s a little harder once you start playing the teams that you know really well. We just need to go out and start pushing.”
Whitefish 1 0 — 1
Billings Central 1 0 — 1
BC — Camden Elletson (Felipe Gnecco), 4:00
W — Ian Lacey (Casey Schneider), 31:00
Shots on goal — Whitefish 6, Billings Central 3; Corner kicks — Whitefish 2, Billings Central 4; Goalie saves — Whitefish 2 (Colter Upton), Billings Central 5 (NA); Fouls — Whitefish 7, Billings Central 12; Cards —NA.
Whitefish 1 2 — 3
Laurel 1 1 — 2
W — Noah Romagnuolo (Eli Joos), 24:00
L — Logan Jones, 26:00
L — Jones (Gus Crowl), 63:00
W — Xander Burger (Joos ), 67:00
W — Romagnuolo (Marvin Kimera), 76:00.
Shots on goal — Whitefish 8, Laurel 12; Corner kicks — Whitefish 2, Laurel 2; Goalie saves — Whitefish 10 (Colter Upton) 10, Laurel 5 (Kade McIvain); Fouls — Whitefish 11, Laurel 12; Cards — Whitefish 1 yellow, Laurel 1 yellow.