|Thunder overcome North Stars in high scoring thriller
The Perth Thunder claimed a high-scoring seesawing contest 7-5 over the Newcastle North Stars at the Perth Ice Arena on Saturday night.
With the AIHL Finals race so tightly contested this season, both the Thunder and the North Stars were in need of the win to keep their Finals hopes alive.
Despite having fifteen shots to eight throughout the period, Perth were unable to convert goal opportunities. The North Stars struck twice through Nick Orford-Quirk and Matt Wetini.
However, things really heated up toward the closing seconds of the first period when Thunders forward Brad Young and North Stars defenceman David Ferrari came to blows which resulted in Young being ejected from the game for high sticking.
The second period proved that none of the spice had left the match. The physicality was on show once again and the North Stars extended their lead to three on the back of a Cody Danberg's shorthanded goal.
At the half way point of the second period the Thunder found themselves on a five-on-three power play. Import, Justin Fox, made the most of the opportunity, kick starting the Thunder’s counter attack.
When Robert Haselhurst scored the second Thunder goal of the night three minutes from the end of the second period, the game was set up for a grandstand final period.
Jordan Kyros tied things up on a power play within five minutes of returning to the ice. But the North Stars struck straight back when Jayson Chalker beat Mathieu Dugas. However, only 28 seconds later, it was once again locked up at 4-all when Justin Fox scored his second of the night.
It took until eight minutes from the end of the game for the Thunder to claim the lead for the first time in the match through alternate captain, Andrew Cox.
North Stars forward Matt Wetini tied the score once again with his second but the sheer glut of possession and shots on goal saw the Thunder break the North Stars once again for a 6-5 lead with just over five minutes remaining. Corey Toy claimed the goal, continuing his seven-game scoring streak.
With time running down, the North Stars pulled goalie Harrison May. The move didn’t pay off with Toy ending up with a double by scoring an empty netter.
Defenceman Toy conceded his team were lucky to get the win after a sluggish start but ultimately believed their persistence paid off.
“It went well, I mean, I think we played well as a group. Newcastle are a really good team and they came out and played hard,” Toy said. “We battled through some adversity with guys going down, guys getting hurt and getting kicked out of the game so that was tough but it was good to see the boys rise up and keep battling.”
The Perth Thunder hosted the Newcastle North Stars played again on Sunday night.
The Thunder will have a bye next weekend before travelling to Sydney to play the Sydney Bears and Sydney Ice Dogs. The North Stars will play next weekend against Sydney Ice Dogs in Newcastle.