|Ice Dogs claim third Battle of Sydney over Bears
The Ice Dogs’ Simon Barg and David Dunwoodie combined for three goals to bury a spirited Sydney Bears outfit 4-2 on Saturday night at the Liverpool Catholic Club.
The match was a physical affair that left both teams bloodied and took the Sydney rivalry to a whole new level.
Michael Schlamp sent an early warning of intent, as he snapped a shot off the iron one minute into the first period. It was a period that was dominated by the visiting Bears, pressing hard and forcing the Ice Dogs into making mistakes and turnovers in their own end.
However it was the Ice Dogs that had a lucky break as David Dunwoodie cracked a shot at Bears goalie Daniel Palmqvist and the puck rebounded straight into the path of Simon Barg who directed the puck into the back of the net.
Sydney Bears interim coach Steve Austin said his side rued missed opportunities in the first period.
“We had a couple including one which rang off the goal post,” Austin said. “That first five minutes was crucial. If we could have popped a goal, sometimes it can just change the whole morale of the team.”
“Last week against Melbourne we went down and scored the first goal in both games and we managed to win both games. Unlucky for us this week the Ice Dogs scored the first goal and went on to win.”
The second period started where the first finished- both teams trying to assert their dominance over the other. Hard forechecking from both teams down in the corners led to more big hits before a very vocal crowd, letting the players know how they felt on the challenges.
Ice Dogs coach, Andrew Petrie, felt his team “rose to the occasion”, during a tough, physical second period.
“We try to set the rule in the team that we finish our checks all over the ice,” Petrie said. “I tell the guys all the time that you don’t have to crush the opposition player to finish a check but just have your body on them as it’s part of the game and a skill you need to exercise.”
In an entertaining second period, no score could be added despite strong power plays from the Bears. The Ice Dogs put their bodies on the line in front of goalkeeper, Tim Noting, who also made key saves to keep the Bears off the board.
Starting the third period four-on-four, it shifted momentum in the Bears favour. The Bears riding the momentum silenced the Ice Dogs faithful 37 seconds into the period when Dane Ludolph scored his eighth goal of the season, beating Noting with a quick snapshot and to lock the teams up at 1-all.
The Ice Dogs didn’t dwell on the setback for long as David Dunwoodie and Simon Barg combined again for the go-ahead goal.
Dane Ludolph said the Bears could have changed the face of the game while on the power play after failing to convert any of the six opportunities they had.
“When it was 2-1 and we got that power-play I said to the boys, this is our opportunity and then we ended up hitting the post,” he said. “Sometimes that’s the breaks. If it went in, it’s a 2-2 game and anything can happen but they ended up scoring their third.”
The Bears had two more opportunities on the power play to convert their chances into goals but failed to do so and the Ice Dogs made them pay for it.
Simon Barg streaked into the Bears zone, snapped off a quick shot - forcing Palmqvist into a spectacular save - only for the rebound to be put home by Dunwoodie for his first of the night and tenth of the season.
Brian Funes added a tally of his own and the fourth goal of the night, assisted by Dunwoodie, who had a hand in every goal on the night, and Billy Cliff.
However, the Bears didn’t give up. Robert Malloy was called for elbowing Sean Hamilton Steen, which drew blood and an angry reaction from players and Bears fans alike. He was given a five minute major and a game misconduct, meaning he’ll miss the Ice Dogs next game against the Brave. The man advantage led to Dane Ludolph’s and the Bears’ second goal of the game.
It was all a little too late for the Bears as the horn sounded and the Ice Dogs took away a hard fought three points.
This rivalry only seems to be growing each and every time they play each other. There is no love lost between them. The Ice Dogs’ Paul Baranzelli said it was always an occasion when these teams meet on the ice.
“It’s just going to be a battle for fifty minutes. It's going to be a physical game, " He said. "Being a local derby and the emotion that the game has when the two Sydney teams play, it’s a great feeling, the fans really get into it.”
The Sydney teams will play in the final Battle of Sydney on Saturday, 9th August at Sydney Ice Arena.
Next week the Bears travel back to Melbourne to renew hostilities against the Mustangs and Ice, while the Ice Dogs take on the Brave in Liverpool before the North Stars in Newcastle.