Canada run over USA late in Brisbane Ice Hockey Classic
Sunday, June 14, 2015 - Submitted by Johnny Stallman
A large and excitable crowd came out to witness the third game of the Ice Hockey Classic at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with the crowd favourites Canada beating the USA 6-3.
The crowd witnessed a touching puck drop from Eddy Ashford, a young hockey fan from Brisbane. The game started off with both teams coming up with big scoring chances straight off the bat. Without any hesitation, players delivered big hits onto one another which reminded the crowd just how deep and intense this rivalry was.
The first period remained scoreless until the dying moments, and made it seem like the game would be a battle between the two goalies but Canada’s Bryan Cameron scored on a hard slap shot to give his team the lead at the end of the first period.
The second period started where the first period ended, with both teams coming up with big scoring chances.
Only two minutes into the period, the USA capitalised on a poor Canadian line change, locking the scores back up at 1-all through a Mike Cichy goal off a feed from Garnet Exelby and Kevin Baker.
The pumped up USA team didn’t waste any time in gaining the lead, with Michael Forney taking advantage of an unfortunate turnover and putting the US up by 1.
The crowd definitely seemed more into the game throughout the second period as they witnessed firsthand why ice hockey is the fastest and hardest sport on earth, with bone rattling hits being handed out left and right.
With the crowd getting involved and a “Let’s go Canada, let’s go” chant arising from the crowd, the Canadians seemed to find strength and Matt Frattin scored on a beautiful toe-drag shot after a long ice pass from the Canadian goalie Tyler Bunz, which tied both teams up halfway through the second.
In what was a fairly disciplined game, the first power play finally surfaced as the US had too many men on the ice, and the Canadians made use of the man advantage and scoring on the power play as Bryan Cameron picked up his second goal of the game.
With team Canada ahead 3-2, tensions eventually boiled over between the two teams, with a hard cross-check from the known enforcer for the Syracuse Crunch Eric Neilson seeing he and Bryan Lerg drop the gloves, igniting the crowd as the two players traded haymakers.
Back on the game, Bryan Cameron had a great chance to complete his hat-trick but was robbed by USA goaltender Garret Sparks who was having an amazing game and showed everyone why he considered a top goaltender in the AHL.
With the third period underway and Canada leading 3-2, the Americans came out hungry to tie the game. The period was mostly dominated by USA as they were looking to tie the game up, their hard work finally pays off as Nick Lazarko cashes in on a beautiful feed by defenseman Ned Lukacevic to once again lock up the scores.
With both teams leaving everything on the ice to try and get the go-ahead goal, both sides had some great chances denied by two goaltenders who were having excellent games.
With less than five minutes left in the period, the game was coming down to the wire. In what could be considered a controversial goal, Canada’s Jordon Southorn fed Matt Frattin a risky cross-crease pass and Frattin put it into the back of the net off his skate. USA immediately pleaded their case to the referees saying the puck was kicked in; but the announcer kept the crowd in suspense as he announced the goal was under review. In what felt like hours the referees finally confirmed it was a good goal, with Frattin officially picking up his second goal of the night.
USA goaltender Garret Sparks showed his frustration and anger at the call, hurling his stick into the boards and netting.
Capitalising on the momentum of the go-ahead goal, Canada scored again on Sparks just minutes after the controversial goal and then the short handed empty netter by Bryan Cameron put the nail in the coffin to secure the win for his team as well as securing his hat-trick for the night.
With game three done and dusted and Brent Burns’ last game in Australia for the tour, the Canadians put up a win in what was an epic battle between these two great teams.
Canadian coach Wayne Primeau said the game was of a high standard, as you would expect of the teams of this calibre.
“This was a great game; it could've went either way but for some great goaltending at both ends,” Primeau said. “It should make for a good final game.”
Both teams make their way to Perth to play the final game of the 2015 Ice Hockey Classic with the Canadians leading 2-1.