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Bullfrogs Roll Into New Season

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Bullfrogs celebrated the old then rang in the new with a resounding 12-2 victory over the Buffalo Wings in their season opener Friday night at the Arrowhead Pond.

Kevin St. Jacques, who arrived in training camp only three days ago, scored two first-half goals for the Bullfrogs, who are playing in Major League Roller Hockey this season.

Last year, St. Jacques played for the rival Los Angeles Blades in the defunct Roller Hockey International.

“I wasn’t really going to play this year, because there was only one West Coast team,” St. Jacques said. “It’s totally cool to be here.

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“There’s no pressure because with the kind of lineup we have, I don’t have to be the goal-scorer all the time. I just suit up and go out and play. There are a lot of talented guys here.”

The Bullfrogs celebrated winning the 1997 RHI title in pregame ceremonies in front of an announced crowd of 8,279 that appeared to be about half that size.

Fullerton businessman Dennis Murphy, for whom the RHI championship was named, presented the final RHI title cup to Bullfrog President and General Manager Stuart Silver.

The celebration continued on the floor, where the Bullfrogs broke a 1-1 first-quarter tie with 11 unanswered goals against a befuddled Buffalo defense. Forward John Hanson, formerly of the Orlando Jackals, scored three goals and forward Bill Lund assisted on two of Hanson’s goals.

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The Bullfrogs, who have a number of RHI veterans on their roster, didn’t need the services of their all-time leading scorer, Victor Gervais, or defenseman Rick Judson. They have decided to sit out the season because they were left unprotected by the Bullfrogs in the MLRH draft in May and subsequently taken by other clubs.

Tom Menicci sat out Friday’s game because the terms of the trade that brought the defenseman to Anaheim from Tampa Bay have not been approved by the league.

Buffalo, which was 6-18 in RHI last season, grabbed the early lead. Ken Blum slipped the puck past Bullfrog goaltender Rob Laurie with 8 minutes 44 seconds left in the first quarter to put the Wings up, 1-0.

But two minutes later, St. Jacques was credited with a goal when he deflected a 20-foot slap shot by veteran B.J. MacPherson past rookie goaltender Tony DiFilippo.

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“I don’t know if the quality of play in this league will be like RHI,” veteran Bullfrog forward Glenn Stewart said. “There will be some good teams and some bad teams, but hopefully as the season goes on some teams will get their bearings and things will pick up.”


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