The long awaited Battle of Sydney at Sydney Ice Arena between the Sydney Bears and the Sydney Ice Dogs promised a lot and it certainly delivered. It delivered the biggest regulation time loss to the Sydney Bears in the 2014 AIHL season and a hat trick for Ice Dog John Clewlow. This report was originally written for Hewitt Sports.
A large and noisy crowd from both Sydney supporter bases packed out the Sydney Ice Arena on Saturday May 24. Both teams had played the same teams the previous weekend after theMelbourne Ice and the Melbourne Mustangs came to town. The Ice Dogs at home lost to the Ice 6-3 on Saturday but came back the next day to defeat the Mustangs 7-2. Meanwhile, the Bears lost both games (2-1 v Mustangs, 4-2 Ice). Regardless of what happened last week or for the earlier parts of the season, playing your fiercest rival can change a season.
The opening exchanges passed without incident as both teams eased themselves into the game. Both teams did a good job early of staying out of the penalty box and the game flowed fairly well. There were lots of contest for the puck but it took a while for either team to trouble the off-ice officials. With 9.09 to go in the first period, the Bears opened the scoring thanks to Sean Hamilton Steen, assisted by Jarrod Smith. Bears 1-0.
Soon afterwards with 5.41 to go in the period, the Ice Dogs returned serve to tie the game up at 1-1. Daniel Palmkvist saved the initial shot but could not control the rebound. As has been the case for a lot of the season, David Dunwoodie was jolly on the spot to drive the puck home with assists from John Clewlow and Simon Barg. It would not be the first time that Dunwoodie, Clewlow & Barg would feature on the scoresheet.
The first power play of the period was with 4.31 to go before the first Zamboni – rather late by both team’s standards. Bear Cameron Todd was hooked to the penalty box for hooking, giving the Ice Dogs the first power play. Not long after, the Ice Dogs took advantage of the extra man on the ice and scored a power play goal. Surprisingly, the names Dunwoodie, Clewlow and Barg would not appear in either the G or A columns. Mitch Bye scored, assisted by Richard Tesarik and Brian Funes.
The noise was so loud at times that I could not even hear the announcer’s poetry readings or the game information. The Ice Dogs gave their fans even more to cheer about in period 1 with their third goal 1.53 before the end of the period. The order was changed around somewhat with Clewlow scoring, assisted by Barg and Dunwoodie. Compared to some saves I have seen him make this year, the goals Palmkvist saw sail past him and into the Bears net allowed seemed like they could have been more easily stopped with the possible exception of the rebound goal which opened the Dogs’ scoring.
At the end of the first period, the Ice Dogs were ahead 3-1 and the score could have been anything at the end of the game if this scoring rate from the Ice Dogs kept up. Not surprisingly, the Ice Dogs were also ahead on shots on goal with 17 shots to the Bears’ 8.
Soon into the second period, the Bears had their first power play of the evening at 12.37. Carter Moore was carted off to the penalty box for tripping. Finally the Bears scored a power play goal with Sean Hamilton Steen scoring his second goal for the evening, assisted by Cameron Todd and Lee Turner. The Bears were back within a goal at 10.54. Ice Dogs 3-2.
With Moore back on the ice, the Ice Dogs were winning many of the little battles on the ice. With 6.08 in the period remaining, 4 on 4 hockey commenced with Dane Ludolph (Bears, roughing) and Chris Sekura (high sticking) heading to their respective penalty boxes. There was a lot of feeling in the game and in the stands as you would expect at this stage of the match. Soon after, Adrian Esposito took a seat in the Bears penalty box for having a slash. At 3.56, Richard Tesarik added a goal to his earlier assist to make the score 4-2 to the Ice Dogs with able assistance by Brian Funes (adding to his earlier assist) and Billy Cliff.
At the second intermission, the Ice Dogs were ahead 4-2. Bears captain Michael Schlamp & one of the Ice Dogs assistant captains were having a chat with Team Zebra before leaving the ice. The chat turned out to be very important because after it, it was announced that David Dunwoodie was assessed at the end of the period and given a 2 minute minor for a hit to the head and a 10 minute misconduct rather than at the time of the offence. Combined with a hooking minor to Chris Sekura (his second visit to the penalty box in period 2) with 1.35 to go in the period, the Bears would start period 3 with 5 on 3.
Once again, the Ice Dogs dominated shots on goal 13-8 for the period and 21-16 for the match to date. The Ice Dogs were everywhere at speed while the Bears were not winning the small battles and the strange bounces of the puck. It was all Ice Dogs and the Bears needed to start period 3 harder to take advantage of the 5 on 3. Unfortunately for the Bears but good for the Ice Dogs, the Bears did not trouble the scorers for the remainder of the game. The Ice Dogs had two more celebrations to complete with John Clewlow shooting and scoring twice in the period (14.11 and 4.48), thus completing a hat trick and sealing the much deserved win. Simon Barg was performing the role of Clewlow’s wing man with assists on both 3rd period goals. David Dunwoodie returned from his long break in the penalty box for the final assist.
The 6th goal saw Daniel Palmkvist bench himself, after 45.21 of game time. He was not receiving a lot of support from his team mates but 6 goals were conceded, his worst for the season. He had saved 33 out of 39 shots at the time he was replaced by Luke Read for his first game time on the ice for the season. In his 4.39 on the ice, Read successfully made the 2 saves required of him. At the other end of the ice, Tim Noting was having a much better time with saving 30 of 32 shots. Many of the shots from the Bears were from a distance with no traffic in or around the blue paint, making his game a lot easier than Palmkvist had it. Final shots on goal surprisingly favoured the Bears in the final period 16-11. By this stage, however, the Ice Dogs were well ahead. Final shots on goal finished in the Ice Dogs’ favour as expected, 41-32.
While the scoring was relatively quiet in the 3rd period, the penalty timekeepers were working overtime. The hinges of the doors will need to be oiled again as some scores were getting settled on and off the puck. Spencer Austin (Bears) and Mitch Bye (Ice Dogs) had a matching pair of roughing penalties at 15.23. Robert Malloy (Ice Dogs) served an interference penalty at 11.40. Brian Funes (Ice Dogs) went for a slash at 10.55. Another matching pair of penalties occurred at 8.39 by Branden Stobbs (Bears) and Chris Sekura (Ice Dogs), Sekura’s second visit for the game. Funes went for another slash at 4.34. To end things up penalty box wise, Stobbs (Bears) and Moore got together on the ice again, roughing it out with 1.04 remaining. Stobbs earned himself a 10 misconduct penalty for his trouble but for this game at least, that was purely academic.
There was some rough play with a few mass gathering of players – some other players from both teams were lucky to stay on the ice. The Ice Dogs converted 2 of 6 power plays (33.3%) while the Bears were only able to convert once out of 10 power play chances which is rather low.
To the joy of the Ice Dog faithful, the win sees their team march up the ladder at the end of Saturday. With only the Perth Thunder under them before this game, the Ice Dogs take a ride up the ladder, leaping over their next opponents the following day (Newcastle North Stars at Liverpool). The Ice Dogs have played the most games in the AIHL (10) to date and join the Bears on 12 points (8 games). Immediately ahead of the Ice Dogs and Bears on the competition table are the Mustangs (13), Adrenaline and CBR Brave (both 14). These teams are at least 6 points behind the Melbourne Ice who are leading the AIHL on 20 points and enjoying a weekend off.
The Bears have 8 days to re-group and work on attack and defence. They have had a road trip to Perth, 2 hard Melbourne games at home and a heavy loss to the Ice Dogs at home within the last 3 weeks. They are now on a 3 match losing streak on home ice. This 8 day break and only the one game this weekend comes at a good time for the Bears. Their next opponent are the visiting North Stars on Sunday June 1. The ladder is that congested that only the Thunder (even with their returning coach Stan Scott) is the only team that could not be considered possible finalists at this stage.
The Ice Dogs have an interesting match to complete their weekend, at home against the North Stars. The Novocastrians will be eager to win after a defeat by the CBR Brave. After the North Stars game, next weekend the Ice Dogs embark on their first Adelaide road trip of the year.
The Dogs were certainly barking and on fire today and totally deserved the win. They totally out-scored the Bears while keeping their own net relatively clean. John Clewlow, Simon Barg and David Dunwoodie remain at the top of the goal scoring table. With his hat trick, Clewlow finishes the evening as the league’s top scorer (11 goals, 8 assists). Overall, Simon Barg (9 goals, 16 assists) leads from David Dunwoodie (5 goals, 15 assists). Even with Dunwoodie off the ice cooling his heels at the start of period 3, the Ice Dogs had more than enough attacking options.
The Battle Of Sydney was certainly a battle! Apart from the Ice Dogs, the real winner of the evening was AIHL hockey in Sydney.
Sydney Ice Dogs 6 defeated Sydney Bears 2 at Sydney Ice Arena.
Sydney Ice Dogs
- Goals: John Clewlow 3, David Dunwoodie, Mitch Bye, Richard Tesarik
- Assists: Simon Barg 4, David Dunwoodie 2, Clewlow, Billy Cliff, Richard Tesarik
- Goals: Sean Hamilton Steen 2
- Assists: Jarrod Smith, Cameron Todd, Lee Turner