The Sydney Ice Dogs hosted the CBR Brave on Saturday night at the Macquarie Ice Rink, it was the second meeting between the clubs in 2019, and the Ice Dogs were fired up after a disappointing loss in Canberra last week. Despite a great second period from the home side, the Brave rallied in the third period, scoring five goals to secure the 6-4 win in front of a big Sydney crowd.
The first period saw both teams establish their physical presence early with solid scoring opportunities going each way. However, strong play from both goalies saw the game remain scoreless after one. The Ice Dogs blocked shots and protected the slot well all period, import goalie Garrett Bartus made some impressive saves when called upon.
“We were playing really well, they (CBR) didn’t really have too many good looks there in the first,” said Bartus, “ We were taking care of rebounds and taking care of the front of the net.”
CBR forward Adam Kambietz scored unassisted on a wraparound early in the second period to open up the scoring. However, from the midway point of the game the Ice Dogs took over, scoring three unanswered goals from the sticks of Paul Crowder, Tim Crowder and David Dunwoodie. The physicality of the game continued to ramp up throughout the second, with multiple net-front scrums and penalties going each way. Bartus continued to make timely saves under pressure, with the Ice Dogs heading into the third leading 3-1.
Sustained pressure early in the third period led to Jordan Draper redirecting his first goal of the game just minutes into the final stanza, bringing CBR within one. Paul Crowder’s second of the night, a power play goal with fifteen minutes to play, gave the Ice Dogs what seemed to be some breathing room.
Bartus continued to make some big saves, however consistent pressure from the Brave’s forwards as well as struggles from the Ice Dogs to navigate the neutral zone soon allowed CBR back into the game. Jordan Draper potted his second of the night on a shorthanded breakaway just one minute after the Ice Dogs had pulled further ahead.
After some back and forth opportunities, CBR finally tied things up after good movement on the power play led to a goal from Brayden Low. From there, the Ice Dogs were up against it as CBR continued to amass scoring chances. Low scored again with four minutes remaining in the game and Jordan Draper completed his hat-trick on an empty net goal to put the game to rest.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to CBR,” said Bartus when asked how they managed to break through in the third. “They’ve got a lot of depth and they keep coming at you. They were pretty relentless and carried their momentum.”
The Ice Dogs were not without their moments of brilliance on Saturday and fans can be congratulated on a big turnout as well as the support shown for the charity Beard Season.
Beard Season encourages men to grow out their beards as a conversation starter to raise melanoma awareness in Australia. The Charity is the brainchild of creator Jimmy Niggles, who lost a close friend to melanoma in his early 20’s.
Beard Season set up a tent at Saturday's games, and fans could get free skin checks during the intermissions. Fans also got the chance to chat to ex-NRL star David Williams and Niggles about the work Beard Seasons is doing the community.
“It was awesome! Phenomenal!” said Niggles after the game. “Beards and ice hockey area a great match!”
The Ice Dogs are currently fifth in the AIHL standings and return to Macquarie to face off against the Sydney Bears in a hometown derby on Saturday, June 1.