Facing one of the loudest crowds Macquarie Ice Rink has ever seen, the Sydney Ice Dogs took on the Sydney Bears in the second battle for the harbour city on Saturday.
The Dogs have won 34 of the 57 contests against the Bears since the club’s founding in 2002, last defeating them on April 22nd by a score of 1-0.
The home team dominated play from the beginning and broke the scoring seven minutes and 22 seconds into the derby when Lachlan Shumak slipped the puck past Bears goalie Anthony Kimlin. Assists went to Dave Dunwoodie and Rory Rawlyk.
The goal was Shumak’s fist AIHL goal since beginning his career. “it’s pretty good… It’s always been a dream to play in the AIHL and to now finally score, it’s a pretty good feeling” said Shumak.
Multiple penalties throughout the first period saw Andrew White assessed a 10-minute misconduct and double minor for roughing alongside Bears Jeremy Brücker.
The Ice Dogs killed all penalties they faced and entered the second holding a 1-0 lead over the Bears.
After a period of flaring tensions resulting in multiple scrums, Lachlan Shumak was sent to the box with 4:35 remaining after being assessed a 10-minute misconduct and two minutes for checking to the head. A lucky break was given to Grant Toulmin on the penalty kill and he capitalised on the opportunity, scoring his fifth of the season to give the Dogs a 2-0 lead.
With another 15 minutes in the books the Dogs hit the ice for the final period. Strong defensive play meant that the Dogs were able to dominate the game and Damien Ketlo stood tall, making an impressive save with just 6:28 left and again less than a minute later.
With 2:37 left on the clock Todd Stephenson was sent to the box for two minutes for holding. 30 seconds later the Bears pulled their goalie, giving the team a six on four advantage. With 40 seconds remaining the puck rolled in to the empty net after it tipped off a Bears stick. The second shorthanded goal of the game was given to Scott Stephenson and secured a 3-0 win for the Ice Dogs.
The Sydney Bears just can’t figure Damien Ketlo out. The shut out is his second of the season, his first coming when he played against the Bears on 22nd April. Ketlo is the only goaltender to have recorded two shutouts this season and his 34 save performance on Saturday night proves him as one of, if not the best, goalies in the league.
The win has pushed the Dogs back up in to a playoff position as they take possession of fourth place. You can see the Dogs play again on Friday June 16th against the Northstars.