MELVILLE City’s five-game winning streak in the State Hockey League came to an abrupt halt with a 4-2 loss at home to the Hale Hockey Club on Saturday.
Hale needed a win to keep its finals hopes alive and quickly built a 2-0 lead against a Melville team that lacked structure and control through the first half.
A goal just before half time to Justin McDougall seemed to settle Melville and a period of sustained pressure through the 20 minutes after the break resulted in McDougall scoring a second goal – the sixth time this year he has scored a double – to make the score 2-2.
Melville then had a period of dominance and looked set to score at any time, until the side was reduced to 10 men through a yellow card to Matt Willis with two minutes to go.
Hale scored to go ahead from the resulting play and then scored again with 30 seconds left on the clock to seal the win.
Coach Russell Lee said he was disappointed with the result.
“Hale had a lot to play for and we knew they would be tough to beat but we were well below our best in the first half, and even when we had established a level of pressure in the game we never really looked in control,” he said.
“One more point from our last two games gets us into the finals and we are confident we can achieve that, but on that performance we have a lot to do to be a force once we are in.”