CANBERRA, Australia – This week delivered topsy-turvy results once again with only Melbourne Mustangs notching up an impressive double on the road to give them some breathing space in the fight for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs. The top three teams: Sydney Ice Dogs, Melbourne Ice and Newcastle North Stars only achieved one win apiece but Melbourne Ice could consider themselves unlucky with Perth Thunder stealing their victory overtime following an awesome contest in front of Ice’s home crowd. Perth Thunder and Adelaide Adrenaline are still well and truly in the running for the play-offs but the bottom two teams, Sydney Bears and Canberra Knights need to start thinking about 2014 and beyond as this season’s play-offs is beyond their reach.
In Adelaide on Saturday the Sydney Ice Dogs upset the celebration plans of the home crowd and defeated Adelaide Adrenaline 6 goals to 4. Brothers Scott and Todd Stephenson were impressive for the Ice Dogs with three goals and two assists between them. In the replay on Sunday Adrenaline sought revenge and defeated the Ice Dogs convincingly with a 5 goal to 1 scoreline.
Perth Thunder headed to Melbourne for a double-header against Melbourne Ice. On Saturday the home team thrilled the crowd with a convincing win of 5 goals to 3. Only single goals were scored by players of each side and Todd Graham, Jason Baclig, Glen Mayer, Tommy Powell and Matt Armstrong each contributed to the win with a goal. On Sunday, a compelling game kept fans on the edge of their seats. Thunder ultimately overcame the home side in the shootout and kept alive their chance to secure entry into the playoffs.
In Newcastle on Saturday, Melbourne Mustangs enjoyed their road trip defeating Newcastle North Stars in a close encounter 2 goals to 1. Andrew Fitzgerald and Brendan McDowell were goal scorers for the Mustangs and the final goal from McDowell snuck in with only 29 seconds left on the clock and delivered victory. The Mustangs then travelled onto Sydney playing the Sydney Bears at Baulkham Hills and thrashed them 10 goals to 3.
Newcastle North Stars, meanwhile, had a comfortable win at home on Sunday defeating the Canberra Knights 9 goals to 5. The North Stars and Melbourne Ice are now neck and neck and are in hot pursuit of the top of the ladder Ice Dogs, with only one point separating the top three teams.
Next week sees a short round of only five games with Perth Thunder and Adelaide Adrenaline taking a well earned break. The North Stars host the top of the ladder Ice Dogs, the Melbourne derby is played out between the Ice and Mustangs, the Canberra Knights host the Sydney Bears then the Bears host the North Stars at home. In the final game the Ice Dogs and Knights meet in Liverpool and we should by the end of the round see the cementing of position for some top sides.
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Results at a glance
Saturday 27th July
Sydney Ice Dogs 6 @ Adelaide Adrenaline 4
Melbourne Ice 5 @ Perth Thunder 3
Melbourne Mustangs 2 @ Newcastle North Stars 1
Sunday 28th July
Adelaide Adrenaline 5 @ Sydney Ice Dogs 1
Melbourne Mustangs 10 @ Sydney Bears 3
Perth Thunder 6OT @ Melbourne Ice 5
Newcastle North Stars 9 @ Canberra Knights 5