The Perth Thunder have managed to come away from a successful weekend with six points, claiming two wins in back to back games against the Adelaide Adrenaline at Perth Ice Arena.
The Thunder secured second place in the process, and Coach Dave Ruck was relieved that his side was finally finding some consistency after winning their last three games in a row. “We managed to put out three good periods hockey in both games, if we are going to win games consistently we are going to have to outwork and out-skate the other team and this weekend we finally proved that we can do that with some persistence“He said.
Saturday’s game saw the Thunder take out a convincing 6-2 victory against the Adrenaline. The Perth side managed to put a staggering (and possibly record breaking) 73 shots on goal in the contest, and the Adrenaline struggled in the third period to suppress the offense from the Thunder who managed to run away with the game in the later stages.
In the early goings however the game was fairly even, with the scores tied at one goal apiece heading into the second period. After Simon Kudla gave the Thunder the lead with seven minutes remaining in the second, the Perth squad seemed to rally off a one goal lead.
Jonathon Bremner gave Perth an early 3-1 lead; however the Adrenaline managed to make a game of it shortly after as Ryan Foll made it 3-2 with sixteen minutes remaining. From there however the game was quickly slanted in the Thunders direction as they took control of the lead with Breault, Punler and Grand-Maison each delivered goals to put the final score at 6-2 heading into Sundays contest.
Thunder pulling all the shots against Adrenaline. Photo: Richard Sak.
The second game of a back to back for both teams told a similar story to the first. The Thunder came out and pressured the Adrenaline down low, outshooting the Adelaide side 15-4 in the opening frame which saw the Thunder take a 1-0 lead with Bremner getting his second goal of the weekend.
From There the Adrenaline bounced back a bit early in the second, with Ales Kratoska getting a powerplay goal to even the game as he did the previous day.
This time however it was Pier-Olivier Grand Maison who stole the show for the Thunder, as he scored back to back goals on his way to a hat-trick to give the Thunder a 3-1 lead heading into the final period.
The Adrenalin were not eager to take another loss though, and half way through the third Alex Adams had gotten the Adrenaline within a one goal reach of levelling the scores.
As the final period wore on, both teams seemed to go back and forth as Ben Breault gave the Thunder a two goal lead once more, before Kratoska brought it back again to 4-3 with six minutes remaining.
With the goaltender pulled for the Adrenaline, Grand-Maison was able to finish off his hat-trick effort on the empty net and finally give the Thunder the series sweep they were looking for to help them achieve second place on the AIHL standings.
Adrenaline coach Jim Fuyarchuk felt his team worked hard in both games, however the Thunder were able to force them to play outside their usual systems that have brought them success. “The approach needs to be the same with every game, with the line-up that we have, it’s important that we play to our strengths, and that involves playing a strong defensive game, and being patient in order to capitalise when the other team gives us chances. This weekend showed us what we need to do to improve as a team, and I believe that we have a team that will keep pushing in the right direction.” He said.
Di Salvo a solid wall between the pipes for the Thunder. Photo: Richard Sak.
With the All-star game around the corner, both teams will enjoy a break before they get back in action, with the Thunder splitting a weekend between the Bears and the Northstars the following week. The Adrenaline However will have an extended three week break before taking on the Brave.