The Perth Thunder managed to steal a pair of wins at Perth Ice Arena this weekend, in what they hope to be the start of a massive turn around since the club got off to one of their worst starts since joining the league in 2012.
Both games looked to be tight heading into the final twenty minutes of play, but it was the third period which played a crucial part in both wins which finished with scores of 7-3 on Saturday and 5-2 on the Sunday.
Both games saw the scores tied at two goals apiece heading into the final period. Thunder Captain Jamie Woodman said he wasn’t surprised that Adelaide challenged the Thunder squad for the most part this weekend.
“I think both teams had this weekend circled on their calendar and despite their lack of success this season they have some great young kids and some tough imports to play against,” Woodman said.
“Both teams had opportunities to score, and it just came down to putting together three good periods of hockey which is something we haven’t been able to do a lot this year.”
“There isn’t a single guy in that locker room that doesn’t understand the struggles we’ve had this year, and there has been frustration at times, but there isn’t anyone up and down this line-up that doesn’t believe in what we can produce if we play the right way.”
The Thunder’s success over the weekend was rounded out by an onslaught of both import and local scoring, while facing an outstanding goaltending performance from Adrenaline goalie Jesse Gordichuk.
The Perth imports showcased the talent they can produce that will be needed, if the Thunder are to continue to string together wins to make the finals. Ben Breault and Keven Veilleux both had a pair of goals, while Louick Marcotte had a goal and five assists in a dominant performance from all three imports for the Perth squad on Saturday.
However, Sunday saw the locals put up points with Rob Haselhurst netting a pair alongside Sean Tobin to help the Perth team pull away in the third period for the second time that weekend.
Thunder Coach Dave Ruck was pleased for the most part with his team’s success and was glad to see the team finally fighting for a spot in the top four.
“We looked at it as a good opportunity to take away some much needed points this weekend, and credit to them, Adelaide managed to make a game out of it both days and forced us to lift our game in order to get the wins. In the end we we’re lucky enough to have the results end up in our favour,” Ruck said.
“This year for us to win games, I think we really needed to find the right balance up and down our line-up. Obviously, it’s important for us to have our imports produce and to play their role on the team, but to have local scoring is something that can make a good team great.”
For Adelaide, their performance might have not got them their first win of the season but coach Jim Fuyarchuk felt like this weekend showed some of the positives this team has to look forward to as they continue to develop, into what he hopes to be, a contender in the future.
“A lot of people have talked about this team this year, and I think despite the results in each game I’ve felt pretty good about our guys in terms of their work ethic and their attitude,” Fuyarchuk said.
“They have goals set out, and at this point our plan is to just help them to achieve that. Without a doubt this season we have been challenged mentally to stay in games and continue to compete hard and battle throughout, and those are the things that we are trying to address as the season goes on.”
The two wins helped the Thunder to get themselves back into the finals race. They now sit tied at 18 points alongside the Ice Dogs, who will take on both the Bears and Brave this weekend, and the Mustangs who will play Newcastle on Sunday.The Thunder will head to Adelaide for a rematch against the Adrenaline in their final two clashes of the 2019 season, as they hope to find another pair of wins and launch themselves into finals contention.