Czech Mate - 5th Jul 2015

Czech Mate The Dunedin Thunder, looking to bounce back from a tough loss against the Canterbury Red Devils the night before, hung on for a 3-2 victory over their Christchurch rivals.

Starting in goal for the Thunder was Czech import Jakub Pyrocheta and Michael Coleman was between the pipes for the Red Devils. Pyrocheta proved to be the story of the day making an incredible 70 saves in 72 chances. The Red Devils peppered the goal throughout the game, but despite two late goals and most of the pressure, the Thunder hung on to win 3-2 and earned a split of the weekend series with the Red Devils.

FIRST PERIOD

Pyrocheta was sharp early, making a number of good saves from close range in the opening minutes. The Thunder netminder was impressive throughout the period, making a number of tough saves to keep the Red Devils off the scoreboard and giving his teammates an opportunity to get the opening goal.

The Thunder did just that at 13:40 when Matt Enright opened the scoring with long range shot from the top of the left circle, coming on a feed from Heyd, giving the Thunder a 1-0 lead, against the run of play.

The Thunder had three powerplay opportunities in the period, but could not generate many good scoring opportunities. The Red Devils also failed to generate many chances on their powerplays and the best action came when the teams played at even strength.

The Red Devils dominated the shots on goal with 20, while the Thunder managed to get 13 shots on Red Devils goalie Michael Coleman, who was sharp as well.

But the story of the first period was Pyrocheta, who kept the Red Devils off the board early and gave the Thunder a chance to take an early lead.

SECOND PERIOD

The Thunder opened the second period a man down due to a late first period penalty on Heyd. However, they were able to effectively kill it off. Canterbury had a number of chances early in the period, but again, could not solve Pyrocheta.

The Thunder doubled their lead on a beautiful goal by Joe Orr, assisted by Matt Enright. The duo came on a two on one break at 8:57 of the second period, with Enright carrying the puck down the left side, crossing the blue line and making a perfect past to a streaking Orr who slotted home behind the helpless Coleman, giving the Thunder a 2-0 lead.

A penalty on Darling - his second of the game - threatened to give the Red Devils a chance to get back within a goal, but they could not generate any good chances with the man advantage and the score remained 2-0.

A third goal for the Thunder came on a turnover in the offensive zone. Joe Orr slotted home his second of the game with Pickering making a pass through to the charging Orr at 16:31.

Shortly after the Thunder goal there was a scramble in front of the Dunedin goal, but again Pyrocheta was able to keep the puck out and preserve the 3-0 lead.

A late penalty on the Thunder’s Harju for interference gave the Red Devils a chance to get back in the game, but Canterbury could not capitalize and the period ended with the Thunder holding a 3-0 lead.

Shots on goal for the period were 24 for Canterbury, 8 for the Thunder.

THIRD PERIOD

The third period began at even strength and Canterbury pressed early, but Pyrocheta flashed the leather, making a huge glove save to keep the lead in tact.

However, the Red Devils kept the pressure on and finally got one past the Thunder netminder as Keenan scored an unassisted goal 18:37 to cut the lead to 3-1. The Thunder started off the period flat as the Canterbury side were winning most of the loose pucks and the battles on the boards.

A second goal came for the Red Devils as Cvetek scored on a goal mouth scramble at 14:58, bringing them back to within a goal. Dunedin protested that the net was off its posts, but the goal stood, and the Canterbury was within one.
Harju picked up a slashing penalty and the Red Devils went on the powerplay, which they almost capitalized on a shot that bounced off Pyrocheta’s helmet, into the air and found its way into the back of the net, but it was disallowed as it was off his helmet and the Thunder clung to 3-2 lead.

Heyd picked a penalty for holding the stick as the Harju penalty expired. The Red Devils moved the puck well and were robbed repeatedly with Pyrocheta making several key saves to preserve the lead.

Harju then picked up a delay of game penalty as the Heyd penalty expired. The Thunder were barely holding on and Pyrocheta made two glove saves at point blank range and the Red Devils were unable to capitalize, despite several good chances.

The Thunder went a late powerplay and used the opportunity to slow the game down and did not generate much offense with the man advantage.

The Red Devils pulled Coleman for an extra attacker with just about a minute to go and generated a couple of chances, but could not notch the equalizer and the Thunder came away with much needed 3-2 victory.

Shots on goal in the third period were 28 for Canterbury and 8 for Dunedin. For the game the Red Devils had 72 shots compared to 29 for the Thunder.

Match report submitted by Rick Audas

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