The Sydney Ice Dogs faced the Newcastle North Stars on Sunday in a hard fought game at Macquarie Ice Rink.
Sydney had a strong physical presence entering into the game. The Dogs opened the scoring with 11:48 left to play in the first with a goal from Strat Allen. The goal was assisted by Dave Upton. With 1:20 remaining on the clock Dan Pataky was sent to the box for cross checking. The North Stars were able to even the game just 16 seconds into the penalty kill with a goal from Joe Harcharik. With 10 seconds left in the period Newcastle took a 2-1 lead when Matt Marantz found the back of the net. The goal saw the home team trailing 2-1 at the end of the first.
Goalie Damien Ketlo continued to stand tall, making tough saves against the defending champions. Newcastle took a 3-1 lead half way through the period when Matt Marantz scored his second of the night. A late second period goal from Mathew Lindsay saw the away team extend their lead to 4-1. With 1:24 remaining on the clock the Dogs headed to the power play when Newcastle’s Tim Stanger was called for interference. The two teams wrapped up the second with Newcastle holding a 4-1 lead.
Sydney entered the third period on the power play for 36 seconds and worked hard to create chances but unfortunately were unable to capitalise on the opportunity. With just 57 seconds gone by in the final period the Dogs cut Newcastle’s lead in half when Strat Allen scored his second of the night. The goal was assisted by Grant Toulmin and Dave Upton.
Sydney headed to the penalty kill with 16:08 to go when Strat Allen was given two minutes for goal tender interference. The Dogs were able to successfully prevent the North Stars from scoring. With 8:23 left in the game the home team headed back to the power play when Newcastle’s Mathew Lindsay was called for tripping. Although creating many chances, they were unable to find the back of the net.
The teams skated 4 on 4 for two minutes with 2:48 to go when North Stars Robert Malloy was assessed a minor for elbowing and Dave Upton for holding. With 1:15 remaining the Ice Dogs pulled goalie Damien Ketlo, giving them the extra player. Newcastle’s lead was cut down to one goal with 18 seconds left when Grant Toulmin managed to beat North Stars goalie Nick Mizen. Toulmin’s goal was assisted by Dave Upton and Strat Allen.
Although almost completing a comeback late in the third, the Dogs were unable to finish off with a win. Despite the loss the team fought hard and worked together cohesively.
The Dogs are back at it in Newcastle next Sunday, facing the North Stars for the second time this season. Sydney next plays at home on May 27th against the Canberra Brave.