(from Dundalk Ice Dome)
Sunday evening saw the IIHL Development Division Playoffs Final take place at the Dundalk Ice Dome. The atmosphere around the rink before, during and after the game was immense and the tension between the sides on the ice was evident, as both sides wanted to be crowned the champions. But as always there can only be one winner, and this year the Raiders clinched the title.
Each team was rearing to go as they received a good warm up fifteen minutes prior to the face off. The first period started off fast as each team put pressure on the other’s defense by getting the puck deep into the corners. The Raiders put the pressure on the Flyers outfit and a pass from Ilya Fandeev found it’s way into the capable hands of Sergei Klimenkov who slotted home the puck past Emmet Dowling to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead just over minute into the game.
Seven minutes later, due to a Flyers defensive error, Armands Paudrups from the Raiders found a breakaway on his opposition’s blue line but his shot went wide of the net. The Raiders once again had the Flyers’ players sweating when Sergei Klimenkov slotted the puck into the bottom right corner of the home team’s net, finishing the third period 2-0 in favour of the Raiders.
Referee Jana Gerkena issued a tripping penalty to the Raiders Mihail Fedans just over two minute into the game. And they would later learn that the penalty would cost them as a Mark Pepper pass found Sergei Shostak who scored a power play goal to make it 2-1. Flyer Brian Cleary found a breakaway but the Raiders goal tender stood tall in between the pipes. Nothing of interest occurred in the remainder of the second period as each side took their fair-share of penalties.
The third period was going to decide which team would be crowned champions and as the Weakest link catch phrase says which team would be ‘going home with nothing’. Each team during the short two minute interval where planning on how they would get past each other’s defense. And I must say each defense was tested to the limits.
Twenty-two seconds into the game the Raiders’ Vladimir Fedans brought the scoring to 3-1. Determined not to let the game slip, Flyers veteran Mark Pepper scored an us-assisted goal as he slotted the puck into the top right corner making it 3-2. And the Flyers bounced back once again thirty seconds later when Micheal Mansfeld equalized the scoring to 3-3.
Sergei Klimenkov scored a power play goal for the Raiders at 36:59 making it 4-3 and this proved to be the winning goal as the Flyers were unable to find a way past the Raiders. But in a last bid effort to score the Flyers called time out and also took off goaltender Emmet Dowling to add the extra man, but the Raiders defense stood strong.
When the final whistle blew the packed to the rafters Ice Dome erupted with celebration as the League Chairman Wayne Hopkins presented the Raiders captain with the Playoff cup. So a well hard fought game that was end to end action and a nail biting third period concluded the 2009/2010 Development Division action.