A penalty shootout loss to Perth Thunder on Sunday has denied the Kodiak Melbourne Mustangs a perfect weekend on their annual West Australian road trip.
The Mustangs, like last year, left Perth Ice Arena with one win and a loss, collecting four points to sit second on the AIHL ladder after the first two weeks of the season.
A 5-0 victory on Saturday gave the Mustangs their second win of the campaign before the Thunder picked up their first points the following day, with a shootout score deciding the goalless match.
Mustangs American-import, Christian Isackson, continued his hot start to the year with one goal and a pair of assists on Saturday.
They 27 year-old centre now has five points on the season with his third-period score sealing the win, after earlier providing goals for Brendan McDowell and Patrick O’Kane.
It didn’t take long for the Mustangs to score in the match, with just 63 seconds off the clock when Jamie Bourke opened proceedings for the visitors, courtesy of Brendan McDowell.
After failing to score from two powerplays, it was third time lucky for the Mustangs with captain Michael McMahon doubling his team’s advantage with just 27 seconds left in the first period.
The Mustangs’ third and fourth goals came early in the second with McDowell netting with just 2:37 gone before O’Kane found twine after 4 minutes and 19 seconds.
On the defensive end the visitors were just as dominant, successfully killing off four Thunder powerplays for the period to hold a 4-0 lead with one to play.
Isackson put the icing on the cake, with his late goal being assisted by coach Max Parent and O’Kane.
Along with Isackson and McDowell, Matt Anderson had multiple points with two assists.
Goalie, Jaden Pine-Murphy was fantastic with his first shutout of the season on 26 saves, and his form rubbed off on his opposite number, Nico Viksten on Sunday.
In a rare spectacle for the AIHL, the performance of both goaltenders forced the first ever five-minute overtime period in league history as both defences couldn’t be penetrated.
With no team able to score in regulation, the three-on-three extra period - introduced this season - also couldn’t produce a goal, as Pine-Murphy and Viksten continued their outstanding play.
With the game headed to a shootout it took until the sixth round of penalties for the deadlock to be broken, with Robert Haselhurst’s shot the first to get by Pine-Murphy in more than 90 minutes.
Matt Anderson had the chance to prolong the shootout, but his attempt was poked away by Viksten.
Mustangs coach Max Parent said his team was unlucky not to take maximum points from the weekend while praising the efforts of both goaltenders on Sunday.
“We really dominated them in the first game and the difference probably could have been bigger, we missed quite a few (chances) that we could have easily put in the back of the net,” he said.
“Sunday was very different, I’ve never seen a game like that here in Australia, normally you get quite a few goals in this league.
“I think it was just both teams were ready to battle, there just wasn’t much room on the ice for both teams while both deciding to pretty much block the front of the net.
“They played a very good game defensively and so did we, but we had tons of chances even in that overtime period, we just couldn’t score.
“Both goalies did very well…Jaden had a great weekend and probably couldn’t have done any better and credit to their goalie on Sunday too.”
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