The fourth-placed Maple Leafs have dismantled their Sydney rivals, the third-placed Lightning to seal a trip to Melbourne for the final of the inaugural season of the AJIHL. Andrew McMurtry reports.
It was a tough day for the Lightning who tried hard but couldn’t come up with any answers to the fast and physical Maple Leafs attack.
Kubara opened the scoring halfway through the first period after an even start to the match, latching onto a pinpoint pass from Captain Jayden Ryan after flying onto the ice from a perfect substitution.
It was quickly added to when Adrian Braun tapped in a pass from Kubara to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead at the break.
After the break, the teams seemed to be feeling each other out again for the opening five minutes, before a flurry of activity.
Kubara continued his goal scoring before the Lightning opened their account 20 seconds later.
While the Lightning goal gave some hope to the higher ranked team, it was swiftly taken away when Kubara scored his third and Clemie his first to take a 5-1 lead with three minutes left.
It may have felt like the game was all but over until Luke Zvonicek gave the Lightning some hope of a miracle, scoring just before the final break.
It was short lived with Clemie completing his hattrick quickly after the break.
The big win, and the 7-3 win for the Red Wings in Melbourne earlier on Sunday has set up a real ‘David and Goliath’ battle for the inaugural AJIHL championship.
The Maple Leafs will have a bigger mountain to climb against the top-of-the-ladder Red Wings, with Jake Burgess rarely troubled between the pipes and the team needing more outstanding performances to have any chance of knocking off the minor premiers.