Mustangs’ fans arrived at the Medibank Icehouse full of optimism on Saturday afternoon, when the Melbourne club took on visiting team the Perth Thunder.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long into the game before they realised Melbourne were playing nowhere near as well as they had the previous week and it looked like it would be yet another tough night at the office.
The Mustangs weren’t as bad as the 7-2 score line suggests; two of the seven goals were scored in the last two minutes of the game, but poor defence and costly penalties were again the cause of the Mustangs downfall.
The first period saw Perth limited to only one goal but they had all of the offensive play and it was only through some great defensive work from goaltender Oliver Wren that the score wasn’t higher.
The Mustangs made some forward rushes but sloppy work with the puck caused many turnovers.
The second period was costly for the Mustangs.
Despite two power play attempts early in the period, the Mustangs were unable to capitalise.
At 8:37 into the period Perth found the back of the net again to go up 2 -0.
After a diving save from Wren, the puck popped out, but his defensemen were not there to clear.
Perth’s Phil Ginand was able to pounce on the loose puck and get it into the back of the net.
The Thunder scored twice more in a matter of minutes – first on a power play after a penalty to Andrew Belic at 9:51 and then less than a minute later at 10:45.
With the score 4-0, Mustangs coach Steve Laforet decided a goaltending change was in order and Michael James was brought in to replace Wren between the pipes.
The third period again started well after the Mustangs were able to draw a Perth penalty but again the team was unable to capitalise.
Scott Levitt brought the crowd to life with two great scoring efforts and it looked like the Mustangs were back in the contest trailing 4-2 at 9:36 in the third period.
Unfortunately a defensive lapse allowed Perth to score less than a minute later and with the score now 5-2 a disheartened Melbourne Mustangs team let two more in within the dying minutes of the game.
Despite the 7-2 score line, all was not lost.
There were flashes of brilliance from the team with Levitt selected as a star of the game.
Unfortunately these flashes were undone by some sloppy stick work and hence the score line speaks for itself.
Coach Laforet has some work to do with the players before the team heads on the road to face the Blue Tongues in Brisbane for this weekend’s double header.
The Mustangs next home game is on August 9 against cross town rivals the Melbourne Ice.