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Canberra Brave blows golden chance in AIHL loss to Melbourne Ice

Canberra Brave surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose its Australian Ice Hockey League clash with ladder-leading Melbourne Ice 3-2 in Melbourne on Saturday night.

The Brave drops to third place on the ladder, but can take the overall lead if it beats the Ice in theĀ  second game of its double-header on Sunday.

Stephen Blunden cemented his place at the top of the AIHL goal- and point-scoring ladder. He now has 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points from 12 games.

Anton Kokkonen was the only Brave player to score in overtime, with Blunden and Mathieu Ouellette missing their attempts. Ice captain Lliam Webster and Tim Johansson scored in the shootout for the home side.

It was a scoreless first period, with the Brave unable to capitalise on two powerplay opportunities. The Ice looked strong at the beginning of the second period before a stolen puck enabled Blunden to score for the Brave.

The Ice looked to have scored only seconds later, but it was ruled Jeremy Brown hit the puck into the net with his glove and the score remained 1-0.


Shortly afterwards, Brave goalie Petri Pitkanen left the ice after being hit in the face by the puck.

Blood streamed from a nasty cut underneath his left eye, however, he returned to the ice shortly afterwards and immediately made a spectacular one-on-one save to keep the Brave 1-0 up at the final break.

Blunden scored again in the final period, sneaking the puck into the net on a wraparound play.

With about six minutes left Brown opened the account for the Ice.

Tommy Powell equalised for the Ice with just under four minutes remaining to send the game to overtime.