The Sydney Ice Dogs took to the ice for the final time at home this season on Friday night, in a Battle of Sydney against the Sydney Bears, with the visitors taking the victory in dominating fashion.
The game could not have gotten off to a worse start for the Ice Dogs, who conceded two penalties in the opening five minutes.
On the second of these penalties, the Ice Dogs would concede the first of many to the Bears, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead as Timothy Newmark found the back of the net.
A perfect opportunity would arise for the home side to hit back, getting a two-player advantage for 1:09 midway through the first in a 5v3 power play, but they would be unable to find the net.
Late in the first period, the Ice Dogs would again find themselves on the power play, with Alexander Gauthier getting four minutes in the box for high sticking.
The home side would once again be unable to capitalise, in a perfect summation of the Ice Dogs’ season to date.
While this is a rebuilding season for the Ice Dogs, the inability to convert on the power play has been a big problem this season, and something they will need to look at improving next season.
Heading into the second period down 2-0, the nightmare would continue just after the start of the second, as the Bears would score again through Ellesse Carini, and then again a minute later from Michal Glowka to extend the lead to four goals inside the opening two and a half minutes.
The Ice Dogs almost opened their account, but the goal was waved off much to the frustration of the home side, and the visitors would capitalise with the Bears scoring their third of the period to make it a 5-0 lead with no signs of slowing down.
Tensions would flare with 12 minutes to go in the middle frame, which would see both sides have a player sent to the box for four minutes each for roughing and cross-checking. The tempo and intensity of the game noticeably increased as a result.
A sixth goal would be scored by the Bears with 3:36 to go in the second, and a visibly frustrated Jakob Doornbos took off his helmet and started yelling at his team, before taking a few moments to calm himself down.
Speaking to The Inner Sanctum post-game, Cameron Todd spoke about the team being on the receiving end of the spray from Doornbos.
“He’s got every right to do that. We f***ing hang him out to dry all night,” Todd said.
“He’s making first, second, third saves, and we’re just watching it go in.
“We just have to sit there and cop it because he’s got every right to go off at us.”
Five minutes into the third, the Bears would add a seventh, and an eighth goal would find its way past Doornbos six minutes later, with double digits looking like an ever-increasing possibility.
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The ninth would come less than 40 seconds later, and the clock could not run out fast enough for the Ice Dogs, who would concede the tenth goal of the evening with 6:28 to go in the final frame.
Despite a horror evening in the net, Doornbos would not lose his sense of humour, jokingly celebrating a save not long after play got back underway.
With five minutes remaining, the Ice Dogs would finally hit the board with Strat Allen ending the 27-save shut-out Anthony Kimlin had been building.
Not to be outdone, however, the Bears would restore the double-digit lead 30 seconds later.
Doornbos would stop the lead from extending further on an Ice Dogs power play as the Bears would get a short-handed opportunity by way of a penalty shot as a result of an interference call, which was saved.
It looked like all the scoring had stopped as the game teetered towards its conclusion, but with three seconds on the clock, the Bears would bring up the dozen, ending the game with a 12-1 win.
For the Ice Dogs, they have two games remaining as they head to Melbourne to face the Ice and the Mustangs.
“It’s always fun to get away with the team,” Cameron Todd said speaking about the road trip.
“We’ve gotta make sure we bond together, [that] we all play as a team.
“We really need to get two wins just to build ourselves a bit of confidence and know that we can actually play in this league as a team and be competitive.”
For the Sydney Bears, the dominant victory helps them build momentum heading towards the AIHL finals weekend, which takes place from the 2nd to the 4th of September.
The Bears, who are locked into third spot, will have to play three games back-to-back-to-back across in order to win it all.
“It definitely helps [build the momentum] when you’re rolling like that and all lines get to touch the puck,” Bears captain Brian Funes told The Inner Sanctum post-game.
“Everyone starts building confidence and you start to see that the plays open up for you.
“It’s good cause everyone got plenty of ice time. Everyone was making good plays out there, so it’s good to give everyone that confidence leading into the finals.”
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