Sunday evening at the Dundalk Ice Dome was a strange one. Despite Bob Marley spreading the love with song after song of his being pumped out as the players enjoyed a rather relaxed warm up, nobody seemed to be feeling the love. Six players were ejected from the game with a further two more sitting in the box for 10 minutes. Oh and there were also 10 goals scored, all of which were even strength goals, as well as a combined 89 shots on goal.
The Wolves found themselves up by a goal after only six seconds. They broke from the opening faceoff with the puck and gained the offensive zone rather easily. From a wide position, Andrew Duncan fired the puck past Martins Strazds. A stunned silence gripped everyone including the Wolves. The Hawks then got to work and they had to work extremely hard. Four minutes later they were level through Aigars Brencis, with Jozef Hruska and Viktors Serdjukovs getting the assists. It was another eight minutes before they actually took the lead with an excellent finish from Serdjukovs. In tight to the near post he roofed the puck past Sean Gibson’s catcher and left shoulder. Brencis and Hruska picked up the assists. Brencis got his second just before the break to give them a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. Despite the Wolves being outshot and being outscored, they gave as good as they got and the majority of the play was concentrated around the neutral zone.
However, the Hawks came out with a bit more energy in the second period adding 3 more goals and outshooting their opponents 21 – 11. They dominated the period. Hruska got two of those while Serdjukovs netted his second. This period though was all about the penalty minutes. 44 minutes in fact. That’s how many each team racked up in the period. Each team only picked up two minor penalties but each team also picked up two Game Misconducts. First of all Alexandrs Fjodorovs and Paul O’Mahoney were ejected as a result of fighting each other just inside the Wolves’ defensive zone. This was followed by Sergejs Selenkovs and Tyler May being ejected for a similar action. This time it happened in the Hawks zone. The score after the second period was 6 – 1. However, the penalty minutes were adding up while the benches were getting shorter.
As you can imagine, the 3rd period started rather subdued with both teams wanting to avoid any more players being ejected. Again the Hawks dominated possession but the Wolves were dangerous on the break. In particular, Wyatt McTavish who is an excellent puck carrying defenseman was always a threat whenever he had the puck outside of his own zone. Roman Bnocko and Steven Ewen were also a threat going forward. However, they couldn’t find a way past Denis Kurealass who came in for the final 20 minutes. Again the Hawks added 3 more goals. Serdjukovs got his hat trick while Hruska added 2 more for a total of goals. It seemed as though this period would pass with no major incident but with 24 seconds remaining in the game Janis Kipars received a Match Penalty and Ian MacNevin received a Game Misconduct for fighting.
As I said, a strange evening with action end to end but in a rather slow developing way. The Hawks did dominate the second period and the early part of the third period. However, the Wolves gave a great account of themselves and probably should have finished a few more chances. On the other side of things, both teams should leave the fighting alone and concentrate on hockey. It is amateur Ice Hockey after all and everybody has to go to work the next day. They should remember too, that children are impressionable and quite a lot of children come to watch games in the IIHL and IIHL Recreational Division. Role models they all are, even if they have never asked for that tag.
Final Score – Hawks 9 – 1 Wolves (3 – 1, 3 – 0, 3 – 0)
SOG – Hawks 58 – 31 Wolves
PIM – Hawks 77 – 82 Wolves
Saves – Strazds (19/20), Kurealass (11/11) – Gibson (49/58)