Ainars Podzons celebrates the 3rd of his 4th goal of the night. Photo: Scott Stephens.
The CBR Brave have shaken off an anomalous Saturday night 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Melbourne Mustangs to once again stamp their authority on the league. The Brave running away 8-4 victors over the Mustangs at the Brave Cave on Sunday night.
The big guns for the Brave found their mark, with Ainars Podzins netting 4 goals, Chris Leveille added 2 more and Hayden Dawes and Chris McPhail rounding out the goal scorers for the Brave. The Mustangs fought throughout the game and were rewarded with 2 goals to Brett Ferguson as well as goals to Sean Jones and Ben Davies.
The Mustangs from Saturday night never seemed to reappear for the Sunday game as the Brave were able to stamp their brand of hockey on the game. Where the Mustangs blocked shots and interrupted passed on Saturday night, the Brave were able to connect those passes and take those shots on Sunday night.
It was a game with no shortage of action, and penalty minutes for that matter. The Brave and Mustangs combined for an astounding 146 penalty minutes. Per Daniel Goransson and Nikita Kolesnikous were significant contributors to the minute tally as the two exchanged blows late in the second period. After neither gave an inch in the tussle, the dance was done and both were handed 5 minute roughing majors and a 20 minute game misconduct.
It wasn’t the first, nor was it the last moment of scrappy play, but the Brave found a way to rise above and capitalise on their opportunities. Both Aleksi Toivonene and Matt Hewitt were outstanding at times, with both goalies suffering from some unfortunate puck luck at times.
Brave with the comeback for the second game of the doubleheader. Photo: Scott Stephenson.
CBR Brave Head Coach Rob Starke was pleased with his teams’ bounce back performance saying “We came with a purpose tonight and obviously we got back to playing Brave hockey and we got rewarded for it.We had our work hats on we were doing all the right things and things went our way”. Starke continued, “Look we we enjoy being in first place we enjoy having a target on our back we enjoy being the team to beat we're going to continue doing that down the stretch”.
Melbourne Mustangs Head Coach Max Langelier-Parent saw plenty of optimism from the game, but also plenty of room for improvement for the Mustangs.
“We were a little flat to start with, a few bounces didn’t go our way I think they were playing a good fast game. Defensively we lacked a bit of focus and that that kind of cost a few goals but overall I think it was a good game. A lot of offense you know, a few posts in there and I think it was a good game of hockey. I think they took their chances and they have a really good offensive team and we didn't capitalize on our chances I think that was a big difference”.
Mustangs start to turn season around in Brave defeat. Photo: Scott Stevenson.
The Melbourne Mustangs have shocked a lacklustre CBR Brave to claim a crucial 4-1 victory at the Brave Cave on Saturday night.
The Mustangs have been a club on the slide, claiming only 2 competition points in the last 8 games. The return of Jamie Bourke from suspension seems to have been the catalyst that the Mustangs needed to turn their season around.
The Mustangs started the game looking to make a statement against the league leading Brave, and from the first drop of the puck they looked the more dominant of the two teams. The Mustangs got the game off to a hot start, scoring with just over 2 minutes played through Matt Anderson.
The Brave fought their way back into the game, with just over 4 minutes left in the period, were rewarded with a fortuitous deflection from Kai Miettinen that wrong footed former Brave goalie Aleksi Toivonen.
From that point on, the Mustangs regained the ascendancy and never looked back. Every time the Brave tried to claw back the Mustangs blocked a shooting lane or broke up a pass in one of their best defensive performances of the season.
Goals to Brendan McDowell, Mitch Humphries and Brett Ferguson applied more heat to a struggling Brave outfit that seemed a shadow of the team that has so far set the league on fire.
Can the Brave bounce back from the loss and rediscover their offensive prowess, or will the Mustangs continue their efforts to salvage their season and sweep the weekend?
Mustangs looking to pull up for round 2 against the Brave. Photo: Scott Stevenson.