Melbourne Ice continued their great form in 2012 by crushing the Gold Coast Blue Tongues 6-0 Sunday afternoon, it was a very physical & demanding match, the Ice were simply clicking on all cylinders & got the desired result they were after.
Once again it was Jason Baclig who got the team going, with the first shot of the match during the opening minute of play. The tone was now set, Melbourne looking hungry & wanted to test the opposing goaltender as much as possible.
And it wasn't long before Baclig had his second of the game, just over a minute had passed when Baclig fired home his tenth for the season. His superb afternoon of hockey was rounded out early in the second period, when Baclig scored his third & struck a dagger through the heart of the traveling Blue Tongues.
The Ice piled on 4 goals during the second period to build a lead which would take all of the Blue Tongues skill & courage to peg back, something they couldn't overcome. Melbourne would eventually run out 6-0 winners, in what was a terrific all round team performance by the lads from Docklands.
There was a lot of anticipation heading into the Ice v Blue Tongues match up, with recent results indicating it was going to be a tough encounter. With the second period being the most productive for the Ice, something Powell said started from the warm up "Yeah it was a massive second period for us yesterday, we just really bared down on every shift and got the bounces we wanted. We just felt good all through pre-game to the final whistle."
Powell also said the physical encounter wasn't new to them, they knew it was something the Tongues would bring to the table "We always expect a great physical, tough game vs Gold Coast, They're a real good team over there. We try to put in as hard as we can, shift in and shift out to get the results we want."
The game was also marked with the return of Powell himself, who is a fan favourite down at the Melbourne Ice. Getting the skates back on for the first time this season was one thing, but as he described, it was also pleasing to get an early return goal "Yeah absolutely I've missed playing a lot in these past few weeks, but the boys have been doing great without me which made it a little easier for me to come back when I was completely ready." "It was great to get on the board early, wasn't thinking about it straight away, just wanted to help out in any which way I could but definitely a relief."
The Ice now take a 5 point lead at the top of the Easton Conference standings, thanks in part to the Perth Thunder taking back to back wins against the Adelaide Adrenaline.
Something Powell says the club isn't too phased by, as they only look at what they need to do night in & night out, not the rest of the competition "We aren't focusing on anyone else, we're just concerned on what we can do every game."
Melbourne now hit the road this weekend where they will tackle the Knights in Canberra, then head across to face the Sydney Bears in Baulkham Hills. While the mood at Melbourne is a positive one, Powell says nobody is getting ahead of themselves with a lot of games still to be played "It's gonna be a huge road trip this weekend, we're really looking forward to it, we have a confident group in our room but not overconfident, we know we have to work hard for every bit of ice out there."
Melbourne head into the weekends road trip full of confidence as they look to build on their lead atop of the Easton standings, with key individuals returning to the Ice squad this past week, Melbourne are now building towards that post season push & third consecutive Goodall Cup.
But for now, full points this weekend is the main priority.
By Andrew Macdougall