Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thunder struck down by Knights

Perth Thunder officially entered the competition on Saturday afternoon, the stage was set, large crowd, nice arena & a new era in Australian ice hockey. But when the smoked settled on the big occasion, Perth couldn't get that lucrative first victory.

Perth fell at the last huddle with the Canberra Knights taking the honours in a shootout victory, it wasn't something to be ashamed of, as Canberra already look like the shootout kings. The Knights have been victorious in 3 recent shootouts to start the season, so losing in that vain shouldn't worry Perth all that much. 

While the result is important the occasion can & should be marked as a total success, the Perth Ice Arena is a perfect venue for hockey, it displays the professional look the AIHL strives for in it's competition & looks terrific with glass all around the rink, something which all AIHL clubs should be working towards.

Perth's squad is also assembled fairly well, they have the likes of young Canadian winger Kenny Rolp, and former UK Elite League winger Paul Graham. Key imports are a must for any team in the AIHL, but the mix must be right in order to succeed in what has become a very competitive competition. 

They also have Australian representatives Greg Hyde & Ric Del Basso to provide the right nucleolus for the squad to not only be competitive, but provide enough entertainment & fire power to bring fans back through the turn styles.  

That will be the key for Perth Thunder moving forward, can they sustain the interest to make this a profitable hockey club?

I don't see any reason for it not to work, ice hockey in Australia can appeal to a vast range of people in the community. It's fast, high scoring, tough & for families wanting to have a day out, the game doesn't drag in length compared to other sports that go on throughout the country. 

They have also kept the trend from the early matches within the league going, which is goal scoring. Coming up against a goaltender in Mike Brown it wasn't going to be easy, Perth were shooting well & just couldn't get that extra edge to walk away with all the points, coach Stan Scott was still pleased & is already looking towards next week.

 "We were probably the better team on the ice, but Canberra played a good defensive structure,” 

 "we fly to Melbourne next weekend,” “We've got to hold our own against those teams."

700 peopled packed into the arena, media filled the place & Perth looked up for the match. The support for hockey is there for all to see, let's hope we can see it continue for the remainder of the season. 

The ground work had been done, now with the club officially hitting the ice, it's time for the Thunder to take the AIHL by storm.

By Andrew Macdougall

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