Sunday, July 17, 2016 - Submitted by Mitchell Mann
The CBR Brave saw off a fast finishing Sydney Ice Dogs, claiming victory in a 6-5 thriller at the Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre on Saturday night.
The opening term was played almost entirely in the Ice Dogs defensive zone with the CBR Brave constantly peppering Ice Dogs goalie Charlie Smart with 15 shots on goal.
First period goals from Stephen Blunden, Mark Rummukainen, Mathieu Guertin and Tyler Kubara saw the home side run away with a healthy 4-0 lead.
Prior to the first intermission, a scuffle broke out between the Ice Dogs’ Alec Stephenson and Brave’s Ryan Johnson with both ejected from the game. However, the fight looked to have stirred something in the Ice Dogs.
The Ice Dogs emerged from the locker room intent on making the night hard for the Brave, and were rewarded with their first goal 22 seconds into the second period through import Petr Stepanek.
Stepanek would again reduce the deficit for the visitors, this time on the man advantage.
Not to let the game get out of hand, the CBR Brave struck back within seconds as Jan Safar capitalised on a Tyler Kubara chip and chase to calmly beat Charlie Smart in a one-on-one contest.
The Ice Dogs went into the final break with the ascendancy, but also a 5-2 deficit to overcome.
Stephen Blunden scored his second goal of the night to give the Brave a 6-2 lead early in the third period, but the rest of the period belonged to the Ice Dogs as the visitors threatened to steal a miraculous win.
The Ice Dogs doubled their shot count from the previous two periods in the third and were well rewarded for their efforts, slotting three goals past Aleksi Toivonen.
Third period goals from Remy Sandoy, Scott Stephenson and Petr Stepanek completing his hat-trick saw the Brave lead cut to just one goal with less than five minutes left in the game.
The Ice Dogs threw everything except the kitchen sink at the Brave in the last five minutes, but Toivonen and the Brave’s defence refused to give in, holding on for the win by the skin of their teeth.
Sydney Ice Dogs Captain Scott Stephenson lamented the slow start from his side.
“We came out flat,” Stephenson said. “Definitely not the start that we wanted and hats off to Canberra, we got outclassed in that first period.”
Stephenson also pointed to the turning point in the game for the Ice Dogs.
“We weren’t playing with pride,” he said. “We weren’t taking responsibility and we weren’t supporting each other in our own end and you can’t get away with that in this league so part of regrouping was about taking pride in our own end.”
CBR Brave coach Josh Unice was pleased with the overall performance from the Brave.
“I thought that we showed our true skill level in the first period,” Unice said. “I thought we dominated the play. You look at that period and there really was no offence in our end from Sydney.”
“You can’t have those lulls in play; you’ve got to bring it all the time. I thought that we could have played better in the second and the third, but at the end of the day we got the victory and that’s all that matters.”
The Ice Dogs look forward to hosting the Perth Thunder at the Liverpool Catholic Club Ice Rink next Sunday while the CBR Brave host the Adelaide Adrenaline in a double header next weekend at the Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre.