Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, returned to the ice after playing just six games in 18 this season.
Grant Toulmin scored 4 goals to lead the Sydney Ice Dogs to a 7-2 win over the Newcastle Northstars on Friday night at Macquarie Ice Rink.
Sydney had a strong physical presence entering the game. With 13:11 left on the clock the Ice Dogs headed to the power play when Nicholas Mizen was given two minutes for interference.
The Dogs put themselves on the board on the power play with 11:47 remaining in the first period. Shannon McGregor beat Northstars goalie Nicholas Mizen on a beautiful opportunity made possible by Grant Toulmin and Rory Rawlyk.
The power play goal was McGregor’s first of the season. The lead was soon extended when Todd Stephenson found the back of the net. The goal was assisted by Grant Toulmin and Stephen Johnston.
The Dogs headed to the penalty kill for the first time in the night after a too many men on ice call was assessed with 6:12 remaining. Sydney successfully killed the penalty but with 42 seconds left in the period the Northstars Joseph Harcharik snuck one in, cutting the Dogs lead in half at the end of the first.
The home team hit the ice fired up for the second period. Newcastle’s Joseph Harcharik was sent to the box 20 seconds in to the second on a hooking call. The Ice Dogs capitalised on the opportunity and Grant Toulmin scored his first of the game, with assists coming from David Dunwoodie and James Marino.
With nine minutes gone by, Tomas Manco visited the box for holding. Sydney successfully killed the penalty and with 6:49 remaining Ellesse Carini scored a beautiful goal on a takeaway, with assists going to David Dunwoodie and Andrew White.
The Northstars made it 4-2 with 4:34 left in the period when Felix Poulin just beat goalie Damien Ketlo. Less than a minute later Sydney responded to the goal when Grant Toulmin scored again, giving the Dogs a 5-2 lead at the end of the second.
After spectacular defensive work and great saves by Damien Ketlo, the Ice Dogs were awarded their fourth power play of the night when Newcastle’s Jonatan Ruth was sent to the box with just under eight minutes remaining for hooking.
Sydney again capitalised on the opportunity and Grant Toulmin completed his hat trick, giving the Dogs a 6-2 lead. Assists went to Dave Dunwoodie and Stephen Johnston. With only 49 seconds left in the game Grant Toulmin scored a final goal with assists coming from Stephen Johnston and Todd Stephenson.
The team fought hard and maintained a strong on ice presence to take down defending champions, the Newcastle Northstars for the second time this season. Sydney travels to Perth next weekend face the Thunder in back to back games. The next home game is July 1st against the Perth Thunder.