The C.D. Dodd Perth Thunder return to Perth Ice Arena following split of weekend games on the East Coast that featured a dramatic come from behind victory this past Sunday over the Sydney Bears. The Thunder host the Newcastle Northstars for a pair of home games on Saturday 3rd August and Sunday 4th August at Perth Ice Arena.
Saturday 3rd August and Sunday 4th August Perth Thunder (11-W/9-L/1-OTW/1-OTL-36 PTS, 4thPlace) Newcastle Northstars (14-W/7-L/1-OTW/0-OTL-44PTS, 2nd Place)
Thunder with Late Heroics to Earn East Coast Split
The C.D. Dodd Perth Thunder completed a late-game come-back from two goals down to defeat the Sydney Bears 4-3 in regulation at Macquarie Ice Rink to salvage a split of their two-game road trip. Kieren Webster started the comeback with his team leading 17th goal of the season, and second of the game, to narrow the deficit to 3-2 with just under six minutes to play. KevenVeilleux would equalize with 4:15 remaining and he would then score the game winner with just 1:08 to play in the game. Webster and Veilleux would each finish with four points (2G-2A) to lead the Thunder to the victory and earn a split in the weekend’s games. The victory over the Bears allowed the Thunder to pull within one point of Sydney in the race for third in the overall standings and the opportunity to potentially avoid a semi-final match up with the league leading CBR Brave.
On Saturday, the Thunder were unable to complete the four-game, season series sweep against the Sydney Ice Dogs, also played at Macquarie Ice Rink. The Ice Dogs were victorious 7-5 and kept their fading finals chances alive. Keven Veilleux (2G-1A) and Rob Haselhurst (1G-2A) led the Thunder with three points apiece. A strong third period rally by the Thunder saw them close to within a goal after trailing 6-2 entering the final frame. The comeback would fall just short as the Ice Dogs would ice the game in the final thirty seconds.
This Week’s Home Games-Newcastle Coming to Town
The C.D. Dodd Perth Thunder will host the 2nd placed Newcastle Northstars for a pair of weekend games at Perth Ice Arena. The Thunder will be looking to gain as many of the six available points on offer as they strive to secure their spot in the AIHL Finals series. The Thunder currently hold down the fourth and final qualifying position with a six point lead over the fifth placed Melbourne Mustangs. The Thunder are also battling the Sydney Bears for third overall, entering this weekend’s games, the Thunder trail the Bears by a single point in the race for third.
The Northstars will be looking to effectively lock upsecond place on the AIHL ladder. A sweep by Newcastle would just about ensure a second place finish for them, while on the flip side, a regulation sweep by the Thunder would pull them within two points of the second placed Northstars, something that would have been unforeseeable just a few short weeks ago.
Game time for both Saturday and Sunday is 4:30pm at Perth Ice Arena in Malaga. The Thunder will be counting on a boisterous home crowd to support them as they make their way down the home stretch in the AIHL’s regular season. Tickets can be purchased on-line at perththunder.com or at the door subject to availability.
Newcastle Northstars-Who to Watch!
The Northstars are led offensively by a pair of Canadians, Sammy Banga, who leads the team with 19 goals and 28 assists for 47 points in 22 games played. Francis Drolet has scored 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points in 22 games played in his first AIHL season. Goaltender Dayne Davis has been impressive in posting a 12-6 record with a 2.89 Goals Against Average and a .904 Save Percentage in 18 games this season. The veteran Davis continues to be solid between the pipes for the Northstars as he looks to lead Newcastle back to a Finals appearance.
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