After an opening weekend that saw mixed fortunes for the Melbourne Mustangs and Newcastle North Stars (the Mustangs losing 3-0 to cross-city rivals Melbourne Ice and the North Stars taking two wins in their cross-continent trip to Perth Thunder) this weekend sees both SCoC-backed teams play their home openers and another cross-city derby. Here's what's on tap.
Here are the highlights of the Mustangs/Ice game:
The 'Stangs have a double header against the red-hot CBR Brave, which is just about the toughest rebound game they could have asked for after their opening-weekend loss. The Brave are coming into the game with the single-season AIHL goals record holder Geordie Wudrick having established an ominous-looking partnership with their new Canadian import Neal Prokop, who scored seven goals between them last weekend and set up another three each. The Brave, in fact, scored eleven goals this weekend and either Wudrick or Prokop were involved in seven of them each. That's what you call a hot start.
The Mustangs, for their part, haven't lit the lamp yet this AIHL season, but with a big crowd at the OBG Arena and the TV cameras there for the Saturday game, it's time for Pat O'Kane and his squad to start firing up their season challenge.
NEWCASTLE NORTH STARS
The North Stars are in action only once this weekend - they take on the Melbourne Ice on Sunday in their home opener. Two teams with a 100% record clash at the Hunter Ice Skating Rink with the Stars, too, playing their home opener.
The Stars will be hoping that Connor McLaughlin can continue his quick settling process - McLaughlin scored his first goal on his NS debut and has already rekindled his partnership with Scott Swiston and Beau Taylor...
The North Stars will be boosted even further this weekend, though, with the arrival of Brandon Wong - the ECHL veteran (235 pts in 311 games) is without doubt one of the best forwards in the AIHL (although he's playing in Australia only for a limited period while the Stars await the arrival of Josh Harris and Brandon Greenside). He will be a huge gain this weekend against an Ice team that comes in to the game unbeaten.
The Battle of Sydney has its first iteration as the Bears face the Ice Dogs on Sunday, while the Ice Dogs themselves also face the Ice on Saturday. Here's a full list of the fixtures (FO are in local time, 14 hours ahead of EST)
Melbourne Ice @ Sydney Ice Dogs (6pm)
CBR Brave @ Melbourne Mustangs (5pm)
CBR Brave @ Melbourne Mustangs (4pm)
Melbourne Ice @ Newcastle North Stars (4pm)
Sydney Ice Dogs @ Sydney Bears (5pm)
You can watch the North Stars, as you can with all their home games, live through their own stream. The Mustangs, too, broadcast games (although Saturday's will not be shown as it's being recorded for Aussie TV).
We at Chowder will do our best to Tweet updates throughout the weekend...but in the meantime, go 'Stangs, and go Stars!