The two top teams, the two leading goal scorers in the AIHL and two great goal tenders forms the recipe for a great contest at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium.
The previous nights victory went to the Ice Dogs in a close fought battle in Liverpool who benefited from a depleted Newcastle line up.
Going into this match the Ice Dogs would be without Todd and Scott Stephenson, so it could be finals time before we get to see both sides at full strength. But did it detract from what would be a sensational edge of your seat game? The answer is no.
The scoreless first period saw some fast open hockey, with good clean play, which swung from one end to the other. Both sides managed to penetrate the opposing blue line however great goal tending by Australian National Men’s Team Goal Tenders, Anthony Kimlin and Olivier Martin kept the puck out of the net.
The second period was a repeat of the first, with the crowd riding every shot regardless of what team they supported. Every loose puck was pounced on and fought over harder than seagulls on chips at the beach, but neither team could break the deadlock.
The first penalty of the match came at 2.19 left in the second period when Tomas Manco was called for holding however the Ice Dogs held solid with great defence by McGregor, Ward and Wilson. Could this be the game that finishes scoreless and goes to a shootout?
The third period saw some frustration as both teams strived to break the deadlock whilst fighting fatigue which was kicking in after two tough nights of hockey.
Fans were looking to Billy Cliff, Matt Puntureri, Jeff Martens or Beau Taylor to break the deadlock during power plays for both teams.
The crowd roared when the puck crossed the Ice Dogs line however it was disallowed as the puck, shot by Jeff Martens crossed the line after a whistle was blown.
The Ice Dogs had the power play opportunities with 16.35, then the North Stars had the opportunity at 10.37, but the nervous tension in the crowd increased when David Upton grabbed pine time when he was sent to the box with 2.28 remaining, giving the Ice Dogs the greatest opportunity to close out the match against four North Stars players on the ice.
During the power play, Domonic Osman, who was miked up live for the North Stars Livestream, made a drive to the net that after taking the puck from Anthony Wilson but shot wide.
With 1.03 remaining in the game and short handed, Beau Taylor slipped the puck to Domonic Osman who skated towards Kimlin, before he fired it just inside the blue line to score.
In a game that had the two top teams we saw two penalties a piece and one short handed goal. Did we get our monies worth? Indeed we did!
Photo:: Debra Jean Photography