Perth Thunder vs Newcastle Northstars Recap | 13 May 2023
Saturday, May 13, 2023 - Submitted by Matthew Olsen
Saturday’s game was vital for both clubs. The Northstars were looking to hold third in the Rurak division and ultimately bridge the gap between them and Adelaide Adrenaline to keep a hold of the final’s race. For Perth, it was an opportunity for points against a side from outside the Hellyer division which is crucial in the three-way fight to top the standings.
The first period got off to an optimistic start for both sides with Ben Breault and Zane Jones trading chances. The opener eventually came through Riley Langille for his first career goal, assisted by Jake Ruck with a cross ice pass in the offensive zone, and within 30 seconds the score was 2-0 through Conner Jean.
Charlie Smart’s prowess was required for the visitors to stave off a 1-on-1 opportunity in the early stages of the second period, and the clutch nature of the save paved the way for a 2-1 scoreline through Daniel Berno off the stick of Josh Adkins. The Northstars were well and truly making their presence felt.
Though the scoreline would stay this way for the remainder of the period, tensions rose and penalties were plentiful – most notably when a scramble on the boards saw Perth receive a double minor for roughing. Rob Haselhurst sat with Liam Campbell joining him in the box, a disadvantage for the Thunder by the time the 3rd period would arrive.
As was expected, the 3rd started with tension, skirmishes and a near miss from Connor Schultz drifting wide of Rhys Pelliccione in net. The increased pressure meant something had to give and it did. Northstar’s Ethan Hawes, with a piece of individual brilliance, set up a scramble put away by Matt Price on the far post, equalising the game on the better side of 10 minutes remaining.
The growing tensions reward Northstars with a flourish some 5 minutes later when an attempted clearance out of Perth’s defensive line found John Kennedy. His lugged puck would eventually be tipped in by Daniel Berno. A 3-2 lead late in the game meant Newcastle were close to clinching the win.
An Andrew Cox penalty for tripping with 3 minutes remaining made a Perth comeback too tough to handle, and when Ethan Hawes’ wrister from range was put away to make it 4-2 the game was put to bed for Newcastle.
Saturday’s game was a massive statement win on the road for the Northstars’ season. Newcastle roll forward, while Perth may yet be stuck in 3rd with the Bears and Mustangs holding firm in the Hellyer division.