PERTH, Australia – This week we saw an extended weekend of Ice Hockey commencing Thurday evening with the all important derby between the Melbourne locals. Melbourne Mustangs needed a win to hold onto the chance to sneak into the last playoff spot but it was not to be. They were outperformed by Melbourne Ice, but only just, with the Ice’s winning goal scored with just under four minutes left to play. The Ice dominated in the first period scoring the only two goals with Matt Armstrong and Jason Baclig the goal getters. The Mustangs fought back in period two bringing scores to level by the next break. In the final term the Ice put their head in front with a goal from Lliam Webster but this was matched less than a minute later by Mustang’s Pat O’Kane. With supporters from both sides on the edge of their seats the Ice did what needed to be done in the final minutes with the winning goal from Andrew Erzen delivering them the Yarra Cup in a nail-biter.
On Saturday Perth Thunder at home proved way too strong for the Sydney Bears winning in convincing style with a 4 to zero goal score. The goals were all singles scored by Ken Rolph, Ric Del Basso, Dan Mohle and Sam Wilson. The rematch on Sunday was not as one sided but Thunder continued to impress with a win of 5 goals to 3 and it was a great way for Thunder players and fans to celebrate their 50th game in the AIHL. Ken Rolph continued his goal spree scoring a hat-trick and Brian Berger and Sam Wilson each scored a single. The result was exactly what the doctor ordered to create a safe haven for Thunder in the Playoff top four and they now are looking forward to an exciting September if all goes to plan.
The Sydney Ice Dogs showed us exactly why they are top of the AIHL ladder on the weekend with their road trip to Melbourne Icehouse. On Saturday they beat Melbourne Ice 5 goals to 3. Ice Dog’s Simon Barg and David Dunwoodie were impressive with 2 goals and a single was scored by Matt Puntereri. The Ice Dog’s continued their form when meeting Melbourne Mustangs on Sunday, defeating them 3 goals to 1. Dunwoodie was again a goal score for Ice Dog’s with a single goal and he was ably assisted by singles from Robert Malloy and Todd Stephenson.
The Newcastle North Stars thrashed the Canberra Knights in Canberra on Saturday with an 8 zero scoreline and over their last three games North Stars have achieved an average of 7.7 goals. Highlighting the strength of their goal scoring capability was the hat-trick by Beau Taylor, two goals by Tim Stanger and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir and a single from Domonic Osman. Cotnoir remains in contention for the league’s top goal scorer but he’d have to displace fellow team member Jeff Martens who is sitting pretty on top with 60 points.
Next week Adelaide Adrenaline are back in action hosting Melbourne Ice for the double-header. The two Sydney teams: Bears and Ice Dogs meet Saturday. Melbourne Mustangs head north to play Newcastle North Stars on Saturday followed by the Sydney Bears on Sunday. Perth Thunder head to Canberra to play the Knights in a double-header. At the end of another exciting week we find Newcastle North Stars and Sydney Ice Dogs have secured their playoff spots with Melbourne Ice and Perth Thunder looking most likely to follow suit.
Results at a glance
Thursday 15th August
Melbourne Ice 4 @ Melbourne Mustangs 3
Saturday 17th August
Perth Thunder 4 @ Sydney Bears 0
Sydney Ice Dogs 5 @ Melbourne Ice 3
Newcastle North Stars 8 @ Canberra Knights 0
Sunday 18th August
Sydney Ice Dogs 3 @ Melbourne Ice 1
Perth Thunder 5 @ Sydney Bears 3