For much of the first period on Saturday a thick fog covered the ice and would be ominous sign for an all around bad weekend that the Blue Tongues had to endure. The weekend started off poor with the Blue Tongues suffering a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the ice, and ended even poorer with the weekend’s second game having to be cancelled due to dangerous rink conditions.
Photo: Naomi Hewitt
The early fog did not slow down the Ice who managed to jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Matt Armstrong and Todd Graham. The Ice controlled the play for a large part of the first period largely because of the Blue Tongues parade to the penalty box. The Tongues played shorthanded for two-thirds of the first period, and the results showed on the ice.
However, as the fog began to lift off the Ice so did the Blue Tongues hopes. The second period was the opposite of the first, with the Ice taking penalty after penalty giving the Tongues multiple 5 on 3 advantages. They were final able to cash in on Ice mistakes and late in the second Greg Bay deposited the puck in the net after getting a great pass from Ben Spillane.
Unfortunately, the Blue Tongue momentum did not last long. Melbourne would score twice the first from Doug Wilson, and then Matt Armstrong would score the second goal of his eventual hat trick. After Armstrong’s second goal things became really chippy.
Several skirmishes would break out, and referees would eventually dole out three misconducts in the third. In total the two teams amassed over 60 minutes in penalties throughout the game.
Photo: Ron Kordyban
One of the lone bright spots was Anthony Barnes who in his AIHL debut, also recorded his first AIHL goal. The fifteen year old barreled over the goalie, and managed to find a way to deposit the puck in the net. It may not have been the prettiest goal, but Barnes displayed the talent that has allowed him to make the jump to the AIHL at such a young age.
On Sunday, the game was called with the two teams stuck in a 0-0 tie. It was requested by Melbourne management that the game be called to preserve the safety of the players due to dangerous ice and board conditions. There still has been no official ruling on what the outcome of the game will be.
The Tongues are making their second road trip of the year down to Melbourne to take on the Mustangs on Saturday, followed by yet another matchup with the Ice. The Mustangs game is very important, seeing that they are tied in the standings with the Blue Tongues. Sunday will be the rubber match in a developing rivalry with the Ice.
The Blue Tongues have a weekend off this coming long weekend, then travel back to Melbourne to face the Melbourne Mustangs again on Saturday at 5pm, and the final meeting for the season between the Blue Tongues and the Melbourne Ice on Sunday at 3.30pm.
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