This weekend has seen the Providence Bruins eliminated from post-season action to end the hockey season in New England, but on the other side of the world, SCoC's two Australian Ice Hockey League teams, the Newcastle North Stars and the Melbourne Mustangs, have got the AIHL season off and running along with the rest of the teams in the competition.
The Mustangs played once this weekend on Saturday, facing their cross-city rivals the Melbourne Ice in a sold-out OBG Ice Arena. As the away team, the Mustangs were always slightly up against it and they made their task a whole ton harder by allowing the Ice to score through Joey Hughes a mere 23 seconds in. A tight meeting then saw no more goals scored until the third period-unfortunately for the Mustangs, they both came for the team in red, white and blue thanks to Matt Armstrong and Tom Powell.
The Mustangs were outshot 28/23 and failed to score on 5 PP attempts, while also perfect on 8 PKs. Vadim Virjassov was named 'Stangs player of the game-the Mustangs themselves provide this handy infographic as a game report.
You'll not in particular that Mustangs captain and NH native Pat O'Kane petted a dog, which instantly makes him more awesome still.
Meanwhile, the Newcastle North Stars fared a lt better than the 'Stangs as they made the long cross-country trip from East to West Coast to face the Perth Thunder (who, incidentally, are the team of SBN's Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets. The North Stars opened their goal account for the season on Saturday through Patrick Nadin, before Perth equalised to leave the game tied 1-1. However, we then saw this nice backhand effort from the newest North Star Connor McLaughlin to restore the Stars' lead late:
The Thunder would equalise again, though, leading to a shootout, which the North Stars won to give themselves two points from the opening game.
On Sunday, the North Stars pulled a narrow 2-1 decison out over the Thunder once again in the second game of their double-header...goals from Tim Stanger and Scott Swiston in the third period overturned a 1-0 deficit and ensured that the Stars took 5 points from a possible six.
The Stars now sit 2nd in the AIHL, with CBR Brave top courtesy of two big wins on opening weekend - the Brave took a maximum six points with two regulation wins over Sydney opposition, first beating the Ice Dogs 5-2 on Saturday before taking a 6-3 win over the Bears earlier today.
Next weekend, Newcastle take on the Melbourne Ice on Sunday with their home opener on May 1st, while Melbourne have a double-header vs the CBR Brave. We at Chowder will of course keep you updated with all three games via Twitter, with a preview/review of the weekend on here on Friday and Sunday.