Perth Thunder have secured a six-point weekend, defeating the Canberra Brave 5-0 in a dominant performance at Perth Ice Arena on Sunday.
In a deja vu performance, it was Ben Breault who opened the scoring, rushing in one-on-one against Aleksi Toivonen just 30 seconds into the game. From there the Thunder continued to dominate the opening few minutes of the game, and while the two teams traded shots for the next few shifts it was Breault again who found an opportunity in front.
Ben Breault (#36) celebrates his two goals, the win and the six-point weekend sweep. Photo: Richard Sak.
As he has done several times this season, Breault provided the Thunder a healthy lead in the game, netting his second minutes later to put the home team up by two. The first period ended with the Thunder up 2-0 and the Brave trying to make good on their chances in front of net.
Brave coach Rob Starke said after the game he felt like his team simply needed to capitalise more on the scoring opportunities that came their way.
“We needed to generate more offensively this weekend, and you also have to credit their goaltender as well who was great, he said.
“But today, we just couldn’t find a way to score goals and eventually the game got away from us,”
Peter Di Salvo demonstrated why he’s one of the league’s elite net minders, recording a 36-save shutout to help his team to their second win of the weekend. It was no small effort: Di Salvo faced 21 shots in the third period, more than the rest of the two periods combined. Although kept busy, Di Salvo remained solid in his crease as the Brave pushed back, and the scoreboard still 2-0 heading into period three.
Peter Di Salvo denies 36 shots on goal to record his second shoutout of the season for the Thunder. Photo: Richard Sak.
In the final frame it was the Thunder who found the back of the net, scoring three goals from seven shots. Jordan Kyros, Rob Haselhurst and Jessyko Bernard each tallied points in the last twenty minutes of play.
Although the scoreboard showed a healthy lead in favour of the home team, the Brave continued to battle for the remainder of the game - often dominating Perth at times – but failing to make it past Di Salvo who was chasing his second shutout of the season.
While the CBR Brave continued to pressure the Thunder in their own zone, they could not find the net. Photo: Richard Sak.
The final offensive burst proved too much for the Brave to counter, however Rob Starke seemed confident his squad can respond in the upcoming two-game reply on home ice in Canberra.
“At least now we know what kind of game to expect” said Starke.
“Hopefully we can generate a little more on home ice, but you have to give the Thunder credit tonight, they played a solid game all around and at the end of the day they just found a way to capitalise in front and we didn’t.”
That solid performance solidifies the Thunder’s second place on the ladder as they put a six?point margin between themselves and their Canberra rivals.
The two teams continue their four-game mini-series at the Philip Ice Swimming and Ice Skating Rink.