In what had been dubbed the battle of fire and ice, the Sydney Bears and Melbourne Ice took to Macquarie Ice Rink on Sunday afternoon for the much-anticipated "fire and Ice" rematch. Earlier this season, a game between the two clubs had to be cancelled due to a speaker fire in the roof. The rematch didn't disapoint as the Melbourne Ice skated away with the 3 points in a back and forth game.
( Melbourne Ice Niklas Dalhberg - Photo - Peter Podlaha)
The first period was a scoreless affair, despite the Ice spending significant time in the offensive zone, they were unable to get anything by Bears' goalie, James Downie. The Bears looked like they would be the first to light the lamp with a breakaway late in the second. However, the period went much the same way with neither team able to break the deadlock.
Joey Hughes would be the first on the board for the Ice with just over 15 minutes left in the second. putting the Melbourne side in front.
“We were here with twelve skaters and two goalies and they did a good job. They did what I asked and they didn’t play fancy hockey. They just played good hockey and they got the win for it,” Melbourne Ice coach Charles Franzen said of the win.
(Sydney Bears Captain Michael Schlamp - Photo - Peter Podlaha)
A goal by Matt Armstrong with just over five minutes remaining sealed the deal for the Ice despite a late goal by the Bears' Richard Tesarik. The home side pulled their goalie in an effort to equalise but were unable to take advantage of the extra player with the Ice taking the win 2-1.
“They had a really short bench and we didn't capitalise on it. We didn’t execute our game plan to the fullest,” said Sydney Bears Assistant Coach Brent Vandenberg. He continued, “We didn’t skate well tonight and after an emotional game last night. I don't think we really had the legs for it.”
The two teams will play again next week with the Bears taking it one game at a time in their effort to clinch a finals spot. The Melbourne Ice are looking to continue their winning way on the road to AIHL Finals.
(Melboure Ice golie Dayne Davis - Photo - Peter Podlaha)