Sunday, July 9, 2017 - Submitted by Bernard McNamara
The Sydney Ice Dogs found their scoring touch and ran away with a 5-1 win over the Melbourne Mustangs on Sunday night at the O’Brien Group Arena. After a bruising encounter the night before, the Ice Dogs took advantage of a depleted Mustangs line up to split the double header competition points and keep within touch of the AIHL top four.
Ice Dogs Scott Johnston (#20) and Shannon McGregor (#7) have Mustangs' forward Jamie Bourke penned in. Photo: Phil Taylor.
Ice Dogs’ forward Stephen Johnston got the visitors on the board with his 7th goal of the season, linking up with Grant Toulmin and Todd Stephenson to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Ice Dogs pushed the pace again in the second period and were rewarded for their effort when rising star Ellesse Carina scored a breakaway goal to make it 2-0. The Mustangs had to wait for a power play opportunity with Ice Dogs captain Scott Stephenson in the box for tripping before they could answer back with a Pat O’Kane goal.
Ellesse Carini's speed makes him hard to catch on a breakaway. Photo: Phil Taylor.
Stephen Johnston restored the Ice Dogs two-goal cushion, with his second goal of night. Rory Rawlyk threaded the needle and found a streaking Johnston in the slot to make it 3-1 Ice Dogs heading into the final period.
The third period was the Damien Ketlo show: the Ice Dogs goalie stood on his head, making save after save to deny the Mustangs and keep it a two-goal game.
Damien Ketlo put up 24 saves from 25 shots on goal, enabling his team to focus offensive pressure on the Mustangs. Photo: Phil Taylor.
Ice Dogs’ forward Grant Toulmin then put the game out of reach with a pair of empty net goals in the dying minutes to secure an important 3 competition points for the travellers.
Even with the loss the Mustangs remain in fourth place on the AIHL ladder for another week and now prepares for the final Melbourne Derby of 2017 this Thursday against the Melbourne Ice at the O’Brien Group Arena.
Supporting their team, members of the Stampede in Melbourne and will be looking forward to their next show of force at the upcoming Melbourne Derby. Photo: Tania Chalmers.
While the Ice Dogs head back to Sydney and prepare for their own cross-town match-up, facing the Sydney Bears in the third Sydney Battle of 2017. The Ice Dogs have won the previous two encounters and will be looking to carry their strong form into the match.