Building the Herd – Andrew Melachrino

#19 Andrew Melachrino

Position: Forward

Born: Guildford, Surrey

Announced as signed: Bison website, 14th June

 

The final piece of the Bison’s third line puzzle was put into place today with the announcement from Doug Sheppard that GB under 20 international Andrew Melachrino has joined the Bison from…oh, what are they called? Play in Berkshire, blue jerseys, won the playoffs, something about doughnuts…oh yeah, Slough Jets.

Melachrino, a product of the Guildford junior system was playing for the Guildford Phoenix under 18 side at 16 in 2008/09 when he made 13 appearances, scoring 16 points for one of the best under 18 sides in the country. The following season he improved on his points total for the Phoenix, scoring 23 points in 12 games. That season also saw Melachrino’s first forays into senior hockey with the Guildford Flames where he spent time on the bench as a spare forward. In those 10 appearances he notched his first senior goal which proved to be his only point of the 2009/10 campaign which saw the Flames win the EPL cup. In 2010/11, Melachrino’s offensive output for the Phoenix literally doubled as he hit 46 points including 31 goals in 15 games at under 18 level. He was also a part of the Flames roster, dressing for 34 games but again with somewhat minimal icetime. 2011/12 saw Melachrino leaving junior hockey behind for his first full season as a senior player. He was announced by Slough as part of the ENL Jets setup for the season and gave a good account of himself scoring 18 points in 15 games with 11 goals. The majority of the season however was spent with the EPL Jets themselves where he made 35 appearances scoring 3 points. Melachrino’s role was mainly on the third line where he earned a reputation last season for his tenacity, determination and hard skating. Andy represented GB under 20s last season at the division 1a world championships where he finished as the most penalised player in the tournament.

So that’s it, the last British member of the roster has been announced. This signing has been rumoured since Slough announced his departure (along with the entire Slough roster who were also rumoured to be signing here. Back in March when the Bison lost 8-3 to Slough, I singled out Melachrino for special praise. After falling into the boards awkwardly off a hit from Nicky Chinn, Melachrino was helped from the ice and everyone thought that his night was done. After a spell in the dressing room, he reappeared back on the bench. Then a little while later he was suddenly back on the ice and Block C was in shock. About 5 minutes later he was crushed mid ice by Viktor Kubenko (always keep that head up folks) but he got up and kept on skating. If nothing else and I said so in the Running with the Herd piece for the game, you couldn’t question his heart.

The signing of Melachrino answers a lot of the questions I threw up in the piece for Jacob Corson-Heron about the make up of the 3rd line. It seems likely that Redmond centres, with JCH and Melachrino on the wings with Wynn rotating in which gives us a third line that, whilst somewhat lacking in size (nobody on the third line is officially over 5’10”) we have a mix of speed, tenacity and grit with players who have an eye for goal. Melachrino will get the chance as some good ice time with the Bison now he is properly number 9 forward. It’s likely he’ll sit the odd shift to get Wynn on the ice (same with Heron probably as well) but he’ll be getting regular ice time. Sheppard is obviously very keen on him as well and Melachrino has spoken highly of Sheppard, saying it’s a big factor as to why he’s here. He says he likes to skate and hit hard, I’m not going to turn that down.

Only thing that might get the goat of some is Melachrino will be icing in #19 this season. For me personally, it doesn’t bother me but there are some who wonder whether that number should have been left to one side for a season. Then again he’s asked, the club have said he could so on we go.

Welcome to the Herd, Andy. We’re not that fussed about the number you want on the back as long as you play hard for the logo on the front. Play the way you did last year and all shall be well.

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