The Cityview Ice Dogs have ended their season opening Melbourne road trip with a win and a loss after defeating the Mustangs 6-3 at Docklands Ice Arena on Sunday night. To come out of a road trip with a 50/50 record should give the players – and fans alike, a lot of confidence going in to the stretch of home games coming up in May. To put it in perspective; the Dogs took 8 games to register their first win in 2010, they didn’t win a road game in 2010, and they haven’t won a Sunday road game since 2008.
The game began with early pressure from the Mustangs as they managed to put a few unchallenged shots on goal but net minder Jimmy Herbert was more than up to the task. Herbert stopped everything that came at him and denied the Mustangs the early momentum.
Midway through the first period Todd Stephenson, who was playing his 150th AIHL game, scored an amazing goal as he weaved his way up the middle and hit the top left corner to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead.
The Dogs continued to dominate the first period as import Mitch Bye scored his first AIHL goal, but the Mustangs ruined the party scoring on a PP just before the break.
Import Brook Robson broke the goose egg for the season scoring his first AIHL goal chasing down a rebound on the powerplay to restore the two goal buffer. Ex-Melbourne Ice player Jamie Bourke made it 3-2 after capitalising on his breakaway scoring bottom right on Herbert.
The Mustangs did level the scores with a powerplay goal but their momentum was abruptly halted as Andrew White put home a Tomas Manco shot.
Similar to Saturday’s game, the third period saw the Dogs score on their first shift as Matt Monaghan extended the lead to 2, which he then added to as he scored his second of the night on the power play to seal the result.
You might think that a win against the new young team in the league isn’t that great an achievement, but so far the Mustangs have managed competitive totals against the Ice and the Northstars, who only managed to better them 7-5. They also have beaten the Bears who finished fourth last year. This win really showed that the Dogs are on track for a great season and they are ready to back it up with another this coming weekend as the Dogs host the Melbourne Ice in the season opener on May 1st.