A Kasey Kulcyzcki double has led the Melbourne Ice to a 5-4 shootout win over the Melbourne Mustangs, in the second Melbourne Derby for 2019.
A packed O’Brien Icehouse saw the 7th placed Ice take a much needed win over their crosstown rivals, after regulation and overtime could not separate them.
Kulcyzcki opened the scoring not less than 26 seconds into the game, catching the Mustangs and the O’Brien Icehouse crowd by complete surprise.
Kulcyzcki struck again at even-strength just 5 minutes later for his second of the game and the Ice led 2-0 with 8:54 to go in the first.
The one-way traffic continued when Todd Graham added his second for the season and the 28th of his career on the power play, with 2:54 remaining to give the Ice a three goal lead and silence the Mustangs' faithful. Kulczycki's assist on the goal made it three points for him in the first period.
It would finish 3-0 Ice after the first frame, despite being outshot 9-5 by the Mustangs.
Always fitting for a Melbourne Derby, physicality and penalties were the story of period number two. Both the Ice and Mustangs spent nearly the entire period either on the power play or on the penalty kill.
Jordan Owens and Christian Isackson had quality chances for the Mustangs but could not get past the goaltending of Sebastian Andersson.
After a few solid checks from both teams, Andrew Erzen sent Chris Wong head first into the boards near the Ice bench, sparking a melee with 5:59 to go in the period. Erzen was given a 5+GM penalty for boarding in the wash-up, Wong had to be escorted from the Ice and did not return to the game.
However, despite all the penalty minutes only the Mustangs were able to capitalise and that was with a man in the box. Vadim Virjassov continued his good run of form when he grabbed a shorthanded marker for his 4th of the season, with 1:41 remaining.
Virjassov’s goal would be the lone goal for either team for the period, finishing 3-1 in favour of the Ice after two.
Despite being down on the scoreboard, the Mustangs picked up from where they left off at the end of the second and turned it on in the third.
Matt Anderson made it 3-2 just 26 seconds into the period on the power play. Matt Armstrong then answered for the Ice to push the lead back out to two goals for the Ice, but that would not last.
Virjassov added his second goal of the game 4 minutes later, followed by Sean Jones tallying less than a minute after that and just like that it was a 4-4 hockey game with 7:27 to go.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the remainder of regulation or in the overtime period, until Tommy Powell finally ended the game in the sixth round of the shootout. Powell’s second shootout attempt was as successful as his first, handing the Melbourne Ice a vital two points to generate some momentum.
Andersson stopped 41 of 45 shots in the win, while Pine-Murphy made 17 saves from 21 shots.
The win moves the Ice to 5 points on the season with their position on the AIHL ladder unchanged. They will not face the Mustangs again until June 22 at the O’Brien Icehouse.
The Ice will now face the Adelaide Adrenaline at 5pm AEST on Saturday night at the O’Brien Icehouse, where the Mustangs will also face Adelaide on Sunday afternoon at 2pm AEST.