The CD Dodd Perth Thunder have fallen short of a maiden Goodall Cup championship, falling 5-2 to the Sydney Bears on Sunday night.
Louick Marcotte and Kieren Webster each hit the scoreboard, while Nico Viksten made 22 saves on 26 shots faced as the Thunder let an early two-goal lead slip.
The Bears power play proved lethal, going two-for-two on the night, scoring at both ends of a five-on-three to erase the Thunder lead, while the Thunder’s special teams proved fruitless, going zero-for-three on the power play.
The Thunder got off to the ideal start when Marcotte rifled a shot by Bears goaltender Anthony Kimlin a little over five minutes in to the opening period.
Webster then made it 2-0 a few minutes later as he pounced on a rebound from a David Kudla shot to fire another past Kimlin, as the Thunder looked to have all the momentum and seemed more settled than the Bears.
However a slashing penalty to Andrew Cox and a subsequent tripping call against Ben Breault resulted in a late five-on-three, and the Bears seized momentum in the game.
First it was Adam Dauda who scored at five-on-three with 18 seconds remaining in the period, before Jake Ratcliffe scored at five-on-four just 12 seconds later to send the teams to intermission level at 2-2.
The Bears then completely seized the initiative in the game, scoring twice in a span of 33 seconds in the second period to push the Thunder to the brink, leading 4-2 at the second intermission.
An injury to Shaun Tobin and fatigue looked to be conspiring against the Thunder, and they couldn’t find a way to put another past Kimlin, and it was finals MVP Danick Gauthier who sealed the deal for Sydney, putting one in the empty net in the final minute to seal the Thunder’s fate.
The win is the Bears’ first Goodall Cup championship since 2007, while the Thunder’s maiden voyage to the final Sunday of the season ends in ultimate heartbreak.
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