It was another night in the Development Division and as the end of the regular season rolls around, it turns to the business end of the season. The Dublin Wolves, who have been almost perfect this season, look virtually unstoppable. On the other bench though, are the resilient Whalers who currently lie third in the table and had the possibility of clinching a spot in playoffs with a result. The earlier meeting of the two teams led to an 8-5 victory for the Dubliners in a tightly contested battle. We hoped for more of the same. It didn’t take long for the Wolves to get off the mark with a goal after 52 seconds from Tyler May, tapped in from a deflected pass. The Wolves were on their way. It didn’t take long for them to add a second, and after a wonderful a pass from Vlado Zak led to Ajiptal Dhaliwai tapping home. The Wolves tagged on a third and were stepping it up a gear to show why they are top of the league, scored by Andrew Duncan.
The Whalers didn’t lie down though, and between the speedy McEvoy creating chances, with Black and Gattensby supporting, they did show some potency going forward. They were unlucky to not get a goal back midway through the first, but the play broke the other way, and the Wolves turned on the style. A fourth goal came from none other than Roman Bnocko, who beat the Whalers goalie near post and put the game realistically beyond reach at such an early stage.
As the game started to get into the flow, it was entertaining action, both teams carving out chances. But the young McEvoy couldn’t keep his discipline as Wolves captain David Clarke drew a dubious penalty. He added insult to injury scoring goal of the night from a one timer on the resulting power-play, making it 5-0. They added a sixth, a minute and a half later after an uncovered puck was stuffed in from the doorstep. 6-0 at the end of the first, and it was looking inevitable.
As the second period began the Wolves continued as they had left off only for a theatrical tripping penalty from James ‘Bart’ Gattensby, stopping a sure goal 1 minute into second. It was well dealt by the Whalers penalty killing unit. The game then evened out, with both sides getting chances, until the Wolves tagged on two more goals, one from a fortunate deflection off a skate scored by Dhaliwal, who didn’t know much about it, and another goal from Bnocko set an eight goal advantage.
Another dubious penalty against the Whalers led to a delay-of-game call, and the Wolves added a ninth against a tired penalty kill. A beautiful pass from Ian McNevin made it nine unanswered goals, and Tyler May’s second goal.
The third was more of the same, McNevin from Duncan, and a silky goal from the talented Bnocko, provided the eleventh. Karim Saleh scored at 45:54 turned out to be the last goal for the Wolves. The Whalers had a sting in the tail, as David Dunne battled for the puck from an errant Wolves pass and softly slotted home to make it 12-1. “All-Star” Gattensby scored a superb individual goal with 3 seconds to go after a solo dangle down the left wing left the small Whalers support something to shout about. After an excellent and well-contested game, it’s shaping up as though both teams could meet again in the IIHDL playoffs next month. Let’s hope for more of a contest.
Final score Wolves 12 – 2 Whalers