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, 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 ten seconds left in the period Newcastle then took a 2-1 lead when Matt Marantz found the back of the net.
Sydney goalie Damien Ketlo continued to stand tall, making tough saves against the defending champions. But Newcastle took a 3-1 lead halfway 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 were unable to capitalise. 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, with Grant Toulmin and Dave Upton involved in the buildup.
Sydney headed to the penalty kill with 16:08 to go when Allen was given two minutes for goal tender interference. But the Dogs were able to 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 Lindsay was called for tripping. Although creating many chances, Sydney were unable to find the back of the net.
The teams skated four versus four for two minutes 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. The ploy worked, Newcastle’s lead cut down to one goal with 18 seconds left when Toulmin managed to beat North Stars goalie Nick Mizen.
Although almost completing a comeback late in the third, the Dogs were unable to finish off with a win. Despite the 4-3 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 play at home on May 27 against the Canberra Brave.