After Saturday’s physical game, both teams headed into Sunday slightly worse for wear. But the home team, Perth Thunder were able to snag themselves back-to-back wins by defeating Newcastle North Stars 4:1.
The first period was evenly contested with both teams applying pressure, though neither was able to get the puck past goalies, Mathieu Dugas and Harrison May.
As the period continued, the physicality from the previous night’s game had seeped back in. Both teams tried to maintain their discipline until tempers bubbled over in the final minutes of the period; Perth Thunder’s Justin Fox earned himself a game misconduct, a spearing penalty, and early shower. The home team was forced to continue without their leading goal scorer for the remainder of the game.
The second period may have started with a clean scoreboard but that soon changed when Jonathon Bremner, newly promoted to the top line, made the most of his extra ice time by scoring the game’s opening goal with assistance from Robert Hasselhurst and Stuart Stefan.
The North Stars quickly responded with an equalising goal just over two minutes later when Matt Wetini found the back of the net for the third time this weekend. (Assist Cody Danberg and Chris Wilson)
The second period surprisingly came to an end with no further penalties and the scores tied up at one apiece.
The third period got off to a quick start with Stuart Stefan finding a way to get the puck past North Stars goalie, May, just one minute into the period and putting his team ahead 2:1.
The Thunder continued their fast-paced momentum which the North Stars were happy to match but unfortunately were unable to steer any of their 10 shots on goal past Dugas.
What the second period lacked in penalties the third period made up for, and at the half way point things started to get a bit scrappy when Thunder’s captain, Sam Wilson, and North Stars’ defenseman, David Ferrari, were sent to the sin bin for roughing.
The penalties didn’t affect the outcome of the game and in the dying minutes of the third period, the North Stars decided to give it one last push and pulled goalie May from the ice. The gamble, however, didn’t pay off with the home side’s, Andrew Cox, putting the puck in the back of the empty net.
Corey Toy’s late penalty for hooking didn’t help the Newcastle team with Thunder’s captain, Wilson, scoring the final goal of the game with a shorthanded empty netter- making the final score 4:1.
Following the game, Newcastle’s forward Matt Wetini, who finished the weekend with three goals under his belt, didn’t believe the score line was a true indication of how close the game was.
“I think that tonight's score line didn't indicate how close the game was. Full credit to Perth. They played great all weekend.” But, he conceded, “There were parts that we played great and some not so great. We just need to put in a consistent effort for 3 periods!”
Wetini added that some minor work will be needed this week during training in preparation for next week’s match up against the Ice Dogs.
“We need to fine tune our defensive zone. A few little mistakes cost us big this weekend,” said the forward. “I think our special teams did alright this weekend. A few key players back in the line-up next weekend should help improve those areas.”
Perth Thunder’s Sam Wilson believed his team’s effort was made up of more positives than negatives, stating the game, “Went pretty well. Yesterday we started off pretty slow. We got three goals behind but we just got the momentum going and put a couple away and things just flowed on from there,” he continued. “To back it up again today. Wow, the boys came out flying. First line and secondary scoring makes a big difference.”
The Perth team will enjoy a bye next weekend but Wilson is hoping that they can get a little extra practice in for their trip to NSW in two weeks’ time.
“I’m hoping we can get some ice time next weekend, do the normal trainings during the week and just keep the feet moving.”
With a weekend made up of 98 minutes in penalties, a tug of war over leads, and a bagful of goals, it had all the makings of a blockbuster weekend… one the Perth crowd undoubtedly enjoyed every minute of.