Perth Thunder struggle against dogs at home. Photo Phil Taylor.
The Sydney Ice Dogs took game one of a double header at Perth Ice Arena on Saturday, coming out with a 3-1 victory and a chance to challenge for the league’s top spot on Sunday.
Special teams played a role in the win for the Sydney squad, who managed to convert on 50% of the powerplay chances they were awarded with Todd Stephenson and David Dunwoodie both getting goals with the man advantage.
The first period was slow to start, but after Alastair Punler was sent to the box for interference, Stephenson got the Ice Dogs on the board with just over four minutes remaining in the period. The Thunder however managed to answer back in quick succession as Pier-Olivier Grandmaison got the scores back even again just twenty seconds after the games opening goal. From there the period concluded with the scores even at one goal apiece as both teams were still looking too find their feet.
The second started in the same way the first had ended, and despite the Thunder outshooting the Sydney side 17 to 12 in the period, it was the Ice Dogs who managed to get ahead in the game with two goals in the duration of play as both teams battled back and forward to gain momentum for their side.
The Thunder were forced to put a man in the box after the team conceded a bench minor for too many men, and just seven seconds into the ensuing powerplay, David Dunwoodie had found the back of the net and given the Ice Dogs the lead once more.
The goal gave the Ice Dogs the edge in play, and from there they continued to push the Thunder on the back foot. With the game leaning in favour of the Sydney squad, they managed to strike again for the third. This time it was Todd Stephenson again who buried his second of the night and put the Ice Dogs ahead by two goals heading into the final frame.
The Third period saw the Thunder try to establish some offensive success, however the Ice Dogs were able to close up shop in the defensive zone, and continued to make it hard for the Perth side to get many good chances in front of goaltender Curtis Skip, who managed to make 33 saves in his teams win during the games play.
The final twenty minutes of play saw no changes in scoring for either team, and the final score was sealed with Stephenson’s goal in the second period at 3-1. For the Ice Dogs, it was a well deserved win which was sealed by their ability to shut down the Thunder for most of the game, despite the Perth side being given multiple chances to score with the man advantage.
Sundays game will see the two teams face off once more, this time the Thunder will have to attempt to get more chances in close, and establish themselves more assertively in the offensive zone. The Ice Dogs however will look to continue the dominant performance shown in Saturday’s game, with special teams being a key to either team’s success in the weekend’s second game.