MELBOURNE, Australia – It was fitting that on the first two days of winter 2013 we saw such an exciting weekend of games delivering sensational shoot out finishes, close games and a thumping Thunder victory away from home. All eight teams are stepping up the pressure and see-sawing results are keeping fans on their toes. No team could muster a double win with single wins achieved by Adrenaline, Mustangs, North Stars, Bears, Thunder and Ice Dogs. Three proved to be an unlucky number of goals for Melbourne Ice in both away games and on each occasion they lost by one point.
First game up on Saturday, in Adelaide, was a long-awaited result for home fans with Adrenaline winning comfortably 6 goals to 3 against the Bears. As the first Adrenaline home game for the season it was a great result and Wehebe Darge was a standout performer delivering four points including a goal with only 1:46 left on the clock in the third period. The day was extra special for their coach O’Handley with the crowd singing Happy Birthday for his 40th! The teams had a rematch on Sunday but Adelaide fans were not able to will their team over the line and witnessed a loss to the Bears 4 goals to 2. The Bears are keeping the pressure on the top three teams with their victory landing them in fourth place on the ladder but face a tough task next weekend playing the top two league teams.
In a nail biter in Melbourne, on Saturday, the determined Mustangs defeated Perth Thunder 6 goals to 5 exciting the home fans. Mustang’s Brendan McDowell was impressive with two goals. In the rematch on Sunday the Thunder stepped up with Michael Forney, Joe Tolles and Matt Strueby putting on a show for the travelling Thunder fans, each scoring two goals. The three were instrumental in reversing the result and delivering a 9 goal to 3 drubbing against the Mustangs. Amazingly four short-handed goals were achieved in the game, three for Thunder and one for Mustangs – always a challenge when down a man. The Mustangs fans are anticipating ongoing improvement for the remainder of the season.
Newcastle North Stars impressed at home with a narrow victory over Melbourne Ice on Saturday with a 4 goal to 3 win. Winning their only game for the weekend gave them five games on the trot and the Knights and Bears may have a tough time stopping their run next weekend.
The Ice Dogs secured the extra goal in a shootout on Sunday against the Ice resulting in a dismal weekend on the road for last year’s premiers and a spot on the of the ladder for the Ice Dogs. Ice Dogs home fans were thrilled with the exciting finish and Matt Puntereri continued on his fine form scoring another hat-trick. Puntereri is deserving of his top of the goalie leader board with 27 points and has been instrumental, along with Anthony Kimlin in the goal, in delivering Ice Dogs top of the ladder position at this point of the season. He is one of only three players to have 10+ goals and 10+ assist so far this season.
Results at a glance
Saturday 1st June
Adelaide Adrenaline 6 @ Sydney Bears 3
Melbourne Mustangs 6 @ Perth Thunder 5
Newcastle North Stars 4 @ Melbourne Ice 3
Sunday 2nd June
Sydney Bears 4 @ Adelaide Adrenaline 2
Perth Thunder 9 @ Melbourne Mustangs 3
Sydney Ice Dogs 4 @ Melbourne Ice 3