Fans were not dissapointed with the action at the Sydney derby. Photo: Rhys Lavender
Macquarie Ice Rink played host to a near full house on Saturday as both Sydney teams met for the first time in 2018 with Sydney Ice Dogs beating Sydney Bears 5-1.
Opening the scoring was Ice Dogs import Grant Toulmin, whipping the puck in the back of the net with just under 4 minutes to go in the period. A primary assist on the play saw Geordie Wudrick chalk up his 200th AIHL point early in his 4th season. 43 seconds later, Ice Dogs import defenceman Nathan Chiarlitti scored to give the blue team a quick 2-0 lead, adding to his 2 point per game production. Both teams had chances at their respective ends with Ice Dogs goaltender Curtis Skip making his AIHL debut. Bears tender Anthony Kimlin was making his season debut after his stellar Mighty Roos performances recently in the Netherlands.
Toulmin celebrating 1 of his 2 goals for the evening. Photo: Rhys Lavender
An entertaining 1st period was followed by a period of missed chances and a lot of turnovers, especially in the neutral zone. There were extended periods where the puck failed to get anywhere near either net which stayed clean all period.
The pace quickened in period 3 with the Bears on the attack early. However, it was Ice Dog young gun Ellesse Carini taking advantage of a turnover and scoring high after a breakaway, giving the home team a 3-0 lead.
Bears finally got on the scoreboard in the 35th minute of the game. Recently returned from an off-season playing hockey in Sweden, experienced Bears forward Adrian Esposito took advantage of a loose puck after a Bears attacking zone face-off, reducing the margin to 3-1.
Soon after, Grant Toulmin scored his second goal of the afternoon, helped by Geordie Wudrick's third assist of the match. Needing a late charge, Bears pulled goaltender Anthony Kimlin for the extra attacker, leading to a Scott Stephenson long distance empty net goal with 83 seconds to play. Ice Dogs ran out winners 5-1 in a game that was often a lot closer than the 4 goal margin indicates.
Stevenson celebrating Ice dogs win fans. Photo: Rhys Lavender