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.
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.
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.
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)
[twitter-follow username=”AndrewMcMurtry” scheme=”dark”]
[twitter-follow username=”HewittSports” scheme=”dark”]
[twitter-follow username=”HSNHockey” scheme=”dark”]