Sunday, May 14, 2023 - Submitted by Andrew Macdougall
The Melbourne Mustangs got back to winning ways during week five of the Australian Ice Hockey League season with an 8-3 victory over the travelling Brisbane Lightning.
Four goals for debutant, and former Mustangs head coach, Chris Lawrence set the tone finishing the game with six points and guiding the team to their sixth win of the season.
It was Lawrence who would get the Mustangs going early and setup the first goal of the night as a nifty pass found Ty Wishart who slammed the puck home near the blue line at 15:58.
However, the Lightning were going to be a gritty and tough team to beat throughout the entire 60 minutes as their first goal to tie it up at 1-1 three minutes later as Anthony Barnes slid the puck five hole on Sebastian Woodlands who was making his first start for the season in net.
Lawrence would open his goal scoring account 4:33 from the intermission and the give the Mustangs a 2-1 buffer after one period of play having his hands in both goals.
There would be two goals for either team in the second period as the Lightning came out strong and gave the Mustangs no breathing room, strong on the forecheck and quick puck movement would see Brisbane really take it to the home team.
Mustangs would have goals through Vladislav Rachinsky and Lawrence, while the Lightning would find the back of the net through Alexis Girard and Sacha Rapchuk as the teams headed into the final intermission with the Mustangs leading 4-3.
The final period would be all the Mustangs as the Scott Timmins and Lawrence show got rolling, the Mustangs piled on four unanswered goals as the two forwards picked up a pair each in the period to see the Mustangs run out 8-3 winners to move atop of the Hellyer Conference.
Speaking after the game head coach Pat McMahon was pleased to get back on the winners list but also with how his team responded after struggling to find rhythm early in the match.
“It’s still a work in progress we still had a couple of guys out of the line up and obviously today’s game with the addition of Chris Lawrence into the line up he obviously brought a big game today scoring four goals and two assists.
“I wasn’t really happy with the way we played in the first period, and we talked about in the locker room between periods, they came out in the second and picked it up a little bit and then we really kind of poured it on in the third.
Lawrence brings a wealth of experience to the Mustangs squad not only on the five on five but also boosting their powerplay units, something McMahon was full of praise for.
“Obviously brings a tremendous amount of experience and high quality of play to the team, basically when you get a guy like that on your team, he is going to lift everybody, and I think in the third period that’s kind of what happened.
“Guys see how strong he is out there, and they follow the lead I guess.”
A fan favourite in between the pipes Woodlands would start his first game this season and grab a win with McMahon describing his game as phenomenal.
“He played phenomenal, and he had a really strong game, first goal is a little unfortunate a little defensive mistake lead to that one that had nothing to do with Seb’s play. Kind of pretty much kept us in there in the first period really, once we settled down and started to play our game it was a little bit easier for him, but he played tremendous.”