It’s Saturday 31st August, 2013, at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre. The game between the Canberra Knights and Sydney Ice Dogs was just about to start at 5:30pm. And history is about to be made.
Not the good kind of history, like the Brave winning the Goodall Cup, the first time in 20 years a team from Canberra has won it. Unfortunately, this is the bad kind of history, the kind of history people would rather not happen.
This would be the last time the Canberra Knights, as we knew them, would play in the Australian Ice Hockey League. Except that no-one knew it yet.
Everyone at the game simply thought it was the end of another season that got away from them. The Knights had a 2-0-1-24 record that didn’t look like it was going to improve – they were playing the top-of-the-table Sydney Ice Dogs in their last game of the season. At least it was a home game for the Knights, a chance to finish off the season in front of their loyal, passionate fans. They’d be back next year, with a bunch of new imports, and hoping things would fall their way and give them something to really look forward to.
Here’s the game report for that final Knights game, recreated for this look back in time.
CANBERRA – Two goals to David Dunwoodie and four points to Robert Malloy helped the Sydney Ice Dogs demolish the Canberra Knights 8-2 at the Phillip Ice Skating Centre on Saturday evening.
The first goal for Dunwoodie, a power play goal, was scored at 9:30 of the second period, with Matt Puntureri and Robert Malloy picking up the assists. Dunwoodie’s second goal, another power play goal, was scored at 2:49 of the second period, with Robert Malloy getting the assist.
Robert Malloy scored one goal and three assists for four points. Matt Puntureri scored one goal and two assists for three points. Simon Barg scored one goal and one assist for two points.
Jordan Braid scored two goals for two points for the Knights, while Jordan Gavin got two assists for two points.
Anthony Kimlin was the winning goalie for Sydney Ice Dogs, making 23 saves on 24 shots, for a Save Percentage of 0.958. Brad Hunt was the losing goalie for Canberra, making 31 saves on 39 shots, for a Save Percentage of 0.795.
Of course, we all know what happened since then. The Ice Dogs went on to defeat the Ice 4-2 in the semi final, before beating the Newcastle North Stars 6-3 in the AIHL Grand Final. The Ice Dogs returned to the playoffs in 2014, however the fortunes of the Ice Dogs quickly soured, resulting in a forgettable 2015 season. The Ice Dogs have since rebuilt to become a competitive, challenging team to play, however they have not made the playoffs since.
As for the Knights, they were folded in February of 2014. The CBR Brave were born within a month, and a new powerhouse emerged from the nation’s captial. The Brave have made the AIHL playoffs every year of their existence, winning the Goodall Cup in 2018 after several heartbreaking finals finishes.