|Bourke hat-trick buries Brave
A six-goal third period and a Jamie Bourke hat-trick has led the Melbourne Mustangs to its first win of the season, downing the CBR Brave 7-1 at O’Brien Group Arena on Sunday night.
A Brave five-minute penalty at the end of the second period proved the difference as the Mustangs consolidated the advantage, scoring two goals early in the third, before a third goal straight after the major penalty elapsed.
After an arm-wrestle for the first two periods before running away with the result, Mustangs Coach Michael Flaherty was pleased with the way his side battled for the win.
“The whole game was a good game for us,” Flaherty said. “We stuck to our systems, worked to our structures, we did the things we’ve been doing in other games and not getting the result. Today we got the result; things started to fall our way. It’s the old saying, the harder you work the luckier you get.”
Having been undefeated until this game, Brave Coach Josh Unice said the game proved to be a tough but necessary result for the team.
“We need to be better,” Unice said. “When you get complacent and expect things you sometimes get humbled. We needed a wake-up call and the Mustangs gave us that. They were better in every aspect of the game and we must be better.”
The Brave were the first on the board eight minutes into the match, when a Geordie Wudrick stretch pass gave Neal Prokop the edge out wide before giving the tip in to Casey Kubara.
While the lone goal was all that troubled the scorers in the first period, it had been an entertaining period with the shots 10-8 to the Mustangs.
It was a tight match with end-to-end hockey and strong performances from both the Mustangs’ Fraser Carson and Brave’s Aleksi Toivonen working hard to turn away the strong offence from both sides.
However, the Mustangs began to gain the ascendency throughout the second, taking 13 shots to four.
Midway through the second, Jamie Bourke created something out of nothing as the Mustangs gained the zone, unleashing a bullet from out wide, surprising Toivonen to slot the goal.
The goal ended about seven minutes of uninterrupted play, as both teams proved disciplined until the pressure built and overflowed, the Brave’s James Byers and the Mustangs’ Vadim Virjassov had a scuffle that saw Byers ejected for dropping the gloves with a minute left in the second.
This proved to be the turning point as Vadim Virjassov scored two in quick succession, leaping on a rebound from a strong Ryan Ruddle attempt, before a shot fake and pass from Jamie Bourke gave Virjassov the second in only two minutes early in the third.
As the five-minute penalty ended, the Mustangs added their fourth, with Bourke finishing a nice end-to-end play, giving the home side a 4-1 lead early in the third.
Three more late goals to Bourke, a tip in to Brendan McDowell and Pat O’Kane continuing to play the puck gave the Mustangs extra padding as they ran away with the 7-1 win.
Despite the result, Flaherty said there are several things the Mustangs can work on into the future, starting with next weekend’s away double header in Perth.
“There are always things to work on,” Flaherty said. “The systems and structures we’ve put in place, we’re confident that they’ll work for us and we’ve just got to keep working on those same things and keep pushing it. If we do those things, like today’s result, it should come.”
For Unice, there were several things he took from the weekend.
“The first game everyone played great; [Sunday] was a bad game by everyone,” Unice said. “But we will get better it shows how close the teams are and how good we must play every game because the other teams are going to give us their best.”
The Brave get to put these lessons into action next week, hosting the Sydney Bears at home on Saturday, before travelling to Newcastle to take on the North Stars on Sunday.