The Sydney Ice Dogs are the 2013 AIHL Champions after a convincing 6-3 win over the Newcastle North Stars.
The two NSW sides – who opened the season with the very first 2013 game in April – went head-to-head in the grand-final before a sold out Medibank Icehouse after producing some dominating form in their respective semi-final matches on Saturday.
The grand-final game opened in typical fashion: tough and tight.
The tight competition was soon blown out of the water with Sydney’s Billy Cliff gaining the first goal of the night, one of six, with five minutes remaining in the period.
Todd Stephenson backed it up to see the Ice Dogs lead 2-0 headed into the second period.
A lone goal from Newcastle’s Dominic Osman in the second the period close 2-1.
Osman scored all three Newcastle goals.
Newcastle was hopeful of a comeback, however too much time spent in the penalty box and wayward passes and plays saw team come undone.
Anthony Kimlin, Sydney goaltender and Australia’s national man-between-the-pipes, also did not make it easy on the North Stars, living up to the “great wall of Kimlin” slogan he has gained this season.
At the opposite end Olivier Martin, Australia’s backup goaltender, while also tough, saw six goals slip his grasp.
Both the Ice Dogs and North Stars picked up their form in the final period, however it would count more for the Sydney side.
Two Simon Barg goals – delivered seconds apart – and one from Paul Baranzelli saw the Ice Dogs lead 6-1 with five minutes remaining in the game.
Osman closed the gap 6-3 but it was not enough to take the win away from the Ice Dogs, who have been searching for a championship for nine years.
Todd Stephenson notched 3, Simon Barg 2 and Billy Cliff with the goal of the year were the scorers for the Dogs as it topped off a incredible season for the Dogs.,
The Ice Dogs last won an AIHL championship in 2004, winning 3-1 over the North Stars.
Simon Barg, Matt Puntereri, David Dunwoodie, Robert Malloy, Todd Stephenson, Billy Cliff, Scott Stephenson, Brian Funes, Shannon McGregor, Paddy Ward, Joel Rhodes, Tomas Manco, Richard Tesaric, Paul Baranzelli, Chris Sekura, Eric McKenna, Anthony Wilson, Tyler Kubara, Daniel Spina, Franki Vlasek, Alec Stephenson, Jamie Blazevic, Anthony Kimlin, Dylan Burgess
The eight-team semi-professional league was established in 2000 and allows a maximum six import players per club. The Goodall Cup is the world’s third-oldest senior national Hockey trophy still awarded, after the Stanley Cup and the Allan Cup.