Last week, we looked at the first ever game played by the Perth Thunder. This week in AIHL History, we look at the opposite end of the spectrum, and review what turned out to be the last game for the Canberra Knights.
The Date: Saturday 31st August, 2013.
The Time: 5:30pm local time
The Place: Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre
Game Review – Sydney Ice Dogs @ Canberra Knights
The Knights, one of the founding teams of the AIHL, had not fared well towards the end of the 2013 season. Despite having four of their previous six games at home, the Knights had not won a game for the month of August. It did not look promising when the Sydney Ice Dogs, sitting at the top of the standings at the time, came to town on the last day of August.
And it didn’t take long for things to start. Robert Malloy (now of the Northstars) scored the first goal of the game at 9:38 of the first period, assisted by imports Matt Puntureri and Simon Barg. Just over a minute later, at 8:28, Jordan Braid would score a power play goal to tie up the score at 1-1. This would be the closest the Knights would get all game to the Ice Dogs. Richard Tesarik would score another goal before the first period ended, and the teams would head back to the rooms with the Ice Dogs leading 2-1.
The second period was highlighted by David Dunwoodie scoring two power play goals, taking the Ice Dogs’ lead to 4-1. Both goals were assisted by Robert Malloy, with Puntureri also assisting on Dunwoodie’s first goal. At 12:33 of the third period, Billy Cliff added another power play goal (the third in a row from the Ice Dogs) before Braid scored again for the Knights at 11:36. With the score now at 5-2 to the Ice Dogs, the Knights never scored again. Short-handed goals to Barg and Puntureri would be followed up by a power play goal to Shannon McGregor to wrap up the game 8-2 in favour of the Ice Dogs.
Key Player Statistics
Jordan Braid – 2 goals for 2 points
Jordan Gavin – 2 assists for 2 points
Robert Malloy – 1 goal 3 assists for 4 points
Matt Puntureri – 1 goal 2 assists for 3 points
David Dunwoodie – 2 goals for 2 points
Simon Barg – 1 goal 1 assist for 2 points
Anthony Kimlin – 23 saves on 24 shots, Save Percentage of 0.958
Brad Hunt – 31 saves on 39 shots, Save Percentage of 0.795
Where Are They Now?
Jordan Braid: Jordan returned to the Columbus Cottonmouths of the SPHL, which is where he was playing before donning the Knights Jersey. He also played for the Louisiana IceGators that same season. Jordan just finished a season for the Kerrobert Tigers of the SWHL, scoring 9 goals and 21 assists in 18 games.
Matt Puntureri: Matt returned to the Bloomington Thunder in the SPHL before moving to the Danville Dashers of the FHL, where he rose to a level of notoriety after being suspended for drinking a can beer on the ice that he had pulled from his shorts after a staged fight. Matt then went on to play for the Sun Valley Suns in the Black Diamond Hockey League, the Canterbury Red Devils in the NZIHL, and EV Aich in the Germany6 league.
Simon Barg: Simon would win the Goodall Cup with the Ice Dogs that season, and stay with the club for the 2014 campaign as well. In 2014, he would win the AIHL MVP award, along with the most assists (46) and most points (69). Simon has not played since the end of the 2014 season.
After The Game
The official game report can be found here. The Knights finished the 2013 AIHL season in last place, with a record of 2 wins, 0 shootout wins, 1 shootout loss and 25 losses out of 28 games. This gave them 7 championship points and a goal differential of -130. In comparison, the Melbourne Ice finished fourth, had a record of 16-1-3-8 for 53 points and a goal differential of +54. So the Knights were a long way from playoff contention, even before this game.
On the 27th of February, 2014, team manager John Raut announced that the Knights would be folding due to financial pressures. The team were in the process of preparing for the upcoming season when the news broke. The players, along support from key business people, were reborn as the CBR Brave, and are yet to miss the playoffs.
So now you have read the history of the last ever Canberra Knights game, is there a game you would like to see reviewed in a similar fashion? Due to limitations in the historical information on the AIHL web site, I can only confidently review games from about 2010 onwards. What would you like to see?