Landon Oslanski had a 4-point night and the Perth Thunder marched back into the winners column with a 6-3 defeat of the Melbourne Ice on Sunday night at O’Brien Group Arena.
It was just the win the Thunder needed in the context of their AIHL Finals campaign, after coming off a loss to the surging Melbourne Mustangs the night before.
Oslanski opened the scoring for Perth just under 4 minutes in when he snuck in from the point and took a cross-ice feed from Pier-Olivier Grandmaison to make it 1:0 Thunder.
Oslanski nearly had a second minutes later, only to be denied by the glove of Jaden Pine-Murphy.
Melbourne struggled to create quality scoring chances early with Josh Velez and Sam Hodic having the best opportunities, but neither could best Peter Di Salvo in the Thunder net.
It would finally come from Ice veteran Matt Armstrong on the power play, after the Thunder took a delay of game penalty. Armstrong managed to tip a Tommy Powell shot past Di Salvo to make it 1:1.
Perth were stunned moments later when Nate Fleming surged out of the penalty box on a breakaway, taking the feed from Velez and putting it past Di Salvo upstairs to make it 2:1 Melbourne.
With their AIHL Finals aspirations hanging in the balance, Thunder needed to regroup and the second period is when they did exactly that.
Fleming nearly had a second and Pine-Murphy held the Thunder offence at bay until Grandmaison found a way past, when he threw a knuckleball on net which slipped in through the five-hole and tied the game 2:2 with 6:23 to play in the second.
Grandmaison struck again with a beauty moments later, when he deked past Lliam Webster and buried it upstairs to make it 3:2 Thunder.
Andrew Cox scored on the power play three minutes later with his 11th of the season, after he tipped in an Oslanski bullet from the point, and the pendulum had swung well and truly in the favour of the WA side.
Thunder headed into the dressing room 4:2 up at the intermission and with all the momentum.
They didn’t take their foot off the accelerator in the third and Jordy Kyros scored his 5th of the year and the 5th of the game for the Thunder with 13:06 to play.
Scott Corbett had a golden opportunity to pull one back for Melbourne on a 2-on-0 breakaway with 5 minutes to go, but Di Salvo held firm to make a fine pad save.
Marcus Wong added a late one with a wrist shot from the point to make it 5:3 but it was scant consolation in the end.
Jamie Woodman notched a late insurance goal with 39 seconds remaining to make it 6-3 and the Perth Thunder boarded the flight back home with three points from a possible six on the weekend.
The win puts Perth in third on 41 points, two points clear of the 4th placed Mustangs on 39. The Ice remain in 7th with 29 points on the year.
The Melbourne Ice will close out the season at home to the CBR Brave in a double header on the 25th and 26th August.
The Thunder return to the Perth Ice Arena for a do-or-die double header with Newcastle Northstars next weekend to determine their 2018 AIHL Finals fate.