Fight Knight as the Dogs consolidate first

Photo :: Rev William A Stewart

Photo :: Rev William A Stewart

The Canberra Knights tough season has continued at Liverpool with the Sydney Ice Dogs taking it 8-1 despite fighting taking some of the lustre of the win. Andrew McMurtry with more.

The Sydney Ice Dogs have dominated the hapless Canberra Knights in a performance that was almost overshadowed by a series of fights.

Already leading 8-1, which was the final score with minutes left, it seemed as though the first scuffle came as a result of the Knights huge import defencemen Maxime Suzzarini being checked into the boards after Jamie Blazevic’s skate broke, sending him into Suzzarini’s back.

A tall man, Suzzarini’s stick struck the Ice Dogs’ Scott Stephenson in the face.

After squaring off, there were no penalties, although Stephenson played no further part in the game, seemingly sent to cool off in order to protect him for the weekend in Melbourne in a fortnight.

However, this was just a precursor to a brutal final two minutes, where fighting took centre stage, including Suzzarini taking on the Ice Dogs’ Tomas Manco, with the import seemingly inciting the situation further following the two players penalties.

Seconds after the restart, Ice Dogs youngster Alec Stephenson went toe-to-toe with the Knights Alain Riesen, ending both their nights with only 90 seconds to play.

Prior to the dramatic ending, the game went mostly the Dogs way with a majority of possession, territory and, of course goals.

While it was another tough night for the Knights, Chris Slauenwhite showed again that he is going to be a great goalkeeper, turning the Ice Dogs away well throughout the early stages of the first period, despite the territorial advantage of the home team.

Holding out for almost the first 10 minutes, Matt Puntereri continued his great form from Newcastle, kicking off the Dogs scoring and opening the floodgates.

While Mikko Jortikka scored on the power play a couple of minutes later, Scott Stephenson got the Sydney-siders back on top before the end of the period.

The second was all the Dogs with Puntereri scoring early before Simon Barg injected himself into the game.

Shorthanded, Barg quickly added two more breakaway goals off some great initial work from David Dunwoodie.

The second goal was unique with Dunwoodie jostling to get around the last line of Knights defence before being fouled.

With the puck sliding into centre ice, Slauenwhite dived out of his crease, but Barg was fasted, scoring the goal and bringing the score to 5-1  at the end of the second.

The third was more of the same with Dunwoodie scoring early, a rare appearance from Eric McKenna seeing a huge slapshot to beat Slauenwhite and Barg sealing his hattrick.

Changing out both goalkeepers gave Nickolas Eckhardt and Dylan Burgess a turn between the pipes with both players doing well with the rare opportunity.

Ice Dogs coach Ron Kuprowsky said it was been a great weekend at this stage of the season with a 5-3 win over the North Stars in Newcastle and the 8-1 demolition of the Knights.

“It’s the wins we needed that gets us ready to start booking flights and stuff like that,” Kuprowsky said. “The boys needed that confidence going in and the score reflected the way the teams played.

“We’re starting to click. We’re starting to get the proper lines together. We’re starting to get the power play to settle down. We’re coming back from a few injuries and there are still a few to come.”

The last few minutes of the match may have gotten the crowd on their feet but Kuprowsky was unhappy with the loss of discipline.

“There was a slip. We lost a lot of discipline there,” Kuprowsky admitted. “It’s something we’ll deal with. It looked like the old Dogs. That is not acceptable behaviour. There are always consequences for bad behaviour.

“We’ll probably have to make Melbourne short staffed but we’ve gone short before. The thing is that we’ve got a long deep bench so we can get away with missing a few players.”

The Knights look to next week to try and take some points of the Bears in what will now be a dead rubber, while the Ice Dogs get a weekend off before playing a tough double header against the Ice and Mustangs on the weekend of the 17th-18th of August.

By Andrew McMurtry

HSN MVP Points

3 points – Simon Barg (SID)

2 points – Matt Puntereri (SID)

1 point – David Dunwoodie (SID)

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Andrew McMurtry

Andrew McMurtry

Andrew was born and raised in Western Sydney and grew up on a diet of Rugby League and Cricket. However, after becoming relatively disenfranchised with both sports in the last year or so, he sought out a new favorite sport after a chance meeting with Sydney Ice Dogs and Australian National Team star Scottie Stephenson. Since then, the love for Ice Hockey has grown strong. He joined the Ice Dogs as a journalist and was getting various arrows published in local papers and at AIHL.com but with TOH, he hopes to cover more than just the matches and let the fans into the lives of the players. Andrew recently completed his Honours degree at the University of Western Sydney in October 2011 and has since found a job in journalism, writing for MediaConnect, although a little too much of his time is spent watching and following the New Jersey Devils in the NHL. In his spare time, he writes for FILMINK magazine as a contributing writer and tries to be the best man he can for his beautiful fiancée. Follow Andrew at his twitter account @andrewmcmurtry as he does his part to help Ice Hockey take it’s rightful place in the upper echelons on Australian sport.
Andrew McMurtry

@AndrewMcMurtry

Husband, father, sports journo @FairfaxMedia and editor, social media manager & statistician @AIHL. Working far too hard! All views are my own.
Oh man, pumped for this. https://t.co/JRZ3TwCm08 - 2 days ago
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