Monday, August 15, 2016 - Submitted by Adam Ioannidis
The Melbourne Ice have put down the Sydney Ice Dogs with a 4–1 result at the O’Brien group Arena on Sunday night.
The result sealed the Ice’s first Minor Premiership since 2011, the season the Ice claimed the second of three straight Goodall Cups.
For the Ice Dogs, it was a strong performance with the side’s playing an energetic and high-paced game of hockey.
“We were just happy to get through, no game means nothing, there's spots to play for, there's systems to tweak, there's always something going on,” Ice Coach Brent Laver said.
Six minutes into the first period and the Ice put the first digit on the scoreboard with a garbage goal from Matt Armstrong, after an attempted shot by the Ice’s Tommy Powell failed to make it past Ice Dogs goalie Charlie Smart.
“I thought it was a pretty good game,” Ice Dogs Coach Vlad Rubes said. “We were a few players down, but were mostly in the game for all 50 minutes. We played the best team in the league; we don't have to be ashamed of what we produced tonight.”
The second period saw a bit more action with Strat Allen getting a power play goal past Ice goalie Jaden Pine-Murphy two minutes in, after a pass from behind goals from Remy Sandoy.
The Ice Dogs definitely tightened up their defence for the majority of the second period.
Allen looked to have scored a second goal to even up the game with 3:50 left on the clock, but the goal was waved away by the refs, called to have never made it in the goal but instead hit one of the goal posts and rebounded out.
“There were a couple of crucial moments where they scored their first goal after an off-side and then we scored a second goal,” Rubes said. “So it could've been 2 -1 our way, but unfortunately it went the other way.”
With a minute and a half left, Armstrong scored his second for the night with a slap shot from the point, after a pass from Danish star Lasse Lassen.
The third period was a steady battle between the two teams, but the Ice found their marks and seemed to hammer the final nails into the coffin through Chris Yule and Lassen.
Rubes praised the defensive performance against the Ice, who have scored more goals than any other team this season.
“I think everybody was way more defensively minded tonight, and we knew we were going to play the top team with lots of offensive power so we have to take care of our area first and then eventually help ourselves create a few opportunities. We didn't capitalise on our chances though,” Rubes said.
Laver was pleased his charges will take momentum into next weekend’s double header against the Thunder.
“It was the third period, the third period I thought we went out there and thought "you know what, let's start to drive momentum into next weekend,” Laver said. “I thought we stepped up and played the sort of hockey that we wanted to play.”
The Melbourne Ice face Perth Thunder next week at the O’Brien Group Arena for their last double header before the playoffs, whilst the Sydney Ice Dogs will play their final game of the season against CBR Brave at the Liverpool Catholic Club Ice Rink on Saturday.