The end of the AIHL regular season is fast approaching. Teams are starting to either prepare for the finals (Mustangs, Brave, Ice, Adrenaline & Ice Dogs) or should be thinking about next year (North Stars, Thunder & Bears). Faithful supporters are hoping for a miracle for North Stars & Thunder while others believe that they can join the Bears on Off-season Island.
(1st, 47 points)
The MOAT: Melbourne Mustangs did what they needed to do to remain on the top of the table by picking up 6 points in Perth and getting at least one win out of Canberra, which solidified their first finals appearance.
- Last Week: 6 points in Perth was nice but a sore head and concussion for Viktor Gibbs Sjödin during Saturday’s game was not. A solid performance in the west.
- The Weekend: In what was possibly a preview of the Grand Final, the Mustangs split the points, winning on Saturday and losing Sunday in a very emotional hot headed series.
- Run Home: Their longest road trip is now behind them. Have a challenging 3 games coming up against the Brave & the Ice. Will be looking to remain on top spot to take home some silverware for the winners of the regular season.
- Remaining Games: Ice (H), North Stars (H), North Stars (A), Ice Dogs (A)
(2nd, 46 points*)
CBR Brave at home had a scare against the North Stars in a close win but totally dominated the Bears on Sunday. This weekend’s 1 v 2 match up against the Mustangs will be a cracker.
- Last Week: Taking 6 points back to Canberra instead of 3 was a good result for the Brave. A 3-2 win against the North Stars could have went either way. Stephen Blunden’s 6 goal haul against the Bears in a 12-4 crushing give the Brave a good lead in to the Mustangs series.
- The Weekend: Many eyes were on Canberra this weekend to see how the Brave match up against the Mustangs. They did well on the Sunday
- Run Home: 1 weekend left at home before packing up their bags and heading off to the finals via Adelaide and Sydney. Must consider themselves safe from here.
- Remaining Games: Adrenaline (A), Adrenaline (A), Bears (A).
- Brave received an extra point in lieu of the re-scheduled game against Adrenaline.
(3rd, 44 points)
Rest assured, Melbourne Ice fans, you did not miss anything last week. They had the weekend off and no control about what happened around them on the ladder.
- Last Week: Do you think that the Ice players were sitting around watching the 3peat DVD box set on their weekend off?
- The Weekend: Both teams came straight from a weekend off. The Melbourne Ice were keen to take all 6 points from the Adrenaline to shore up their spot in the finals. They Ice won both games, but are not quite in the finals yet. Need to keep in touch with the Brave and Mustangs in front of them.
- Run Home: No more bus or plane trips for the Ice. Their next 3 games against finals contenders will help determine their spot for their finals.
- Remaining Games: Mustangs (A), North Stars (H), Thunder (H), Thunder (H)
(4th, 39 points)
The 2013 Goodall Cup champions did not need a loss to the North Stars (as well as a loss of players) the week prior and will be looking to stay into the final 4 after the weekend just been.
- Last Week: A 5-3 loss to the North Stars and suspensions to 2 players and a member of the coaching staff was not a part of the game plan in a controversial game.
- This Weekend : A weekend in Sydney saw the Ice Dogs pick up the points against the Bears (Saturday) but got walloped by the Thunder Sunday, 8-2.
- Run Home: Only one game against a finals contender could see the Ice Dogs rocket up the ladder. They can not afford to take the Bears and Thunder lightly, though.
- Remaining Games: Thunder (A), Thunder (A), Mustangs (H)
(5th, 37 points*)
After spending a lot of the season out of the top 4, Adelaide Adrenaline dropped to 5th spot. 5 into 4 does not go – will Adelaide’s 5 shootout wins help or hinder them in a couple of weeks time?
- Last Week: A relaxing weekend in wine country to put the last few weeks behind them and to focus on the finals?
- The Weekend: Adelaide shot across to Melbourne to play the Ice in a couple of games. This could have gone either way. Both teams had last weekend off so there is no momentum advantage for either side. The Ice however took control and Adelaide came away from the weekend with no points, dropping them to 5th.
- Run Home: 2 games against the Brave could go either way. Any stumble from here could see the Adrenaline stay in Adelaide on finals weekend.
- Remaining Games: Brave (H), Brave (H).
- Adrenaline received 2 extra points (1 per game) in lieu of the re-scheduled games against Brave and Bears.
Newcastle North Stars
(6th, 35 points)
A good 5-3 win against the Ice Dogs the week priorwas just what the doctor ordered for the Newcastle North Stars. Depending on who you listen to, the North Stars still have a slim finals hope.
- Last Week: A good win at home against the Ice Dogs on Sunday and a tight loss to the Brave in Canberra on Saturday.
- This Weekend: Marty Moose would have been very happy with lots of goal celebrations. Playing the Thunder (Saturday) and the Bears (Sunday) saw the Novocastrians on a very tight tight rope. One loss and even the biggest North Stars fan must concede that they are done for the year. Newcastle however came away with both wins (5-4 over Perth and 6-2 over the Bears). Newcastle is still on the tight rope with their results influencing who stays in the four.
- Run Home: The North Stars spend the next two Melbourne with a game each against the Mustangs and Ice. They play the Mustangs at home for their final game of the season.
- Remaining Games: Mustangs (A), Ice (A), Mustangs (H).
(7th, 28 points)
The winless weekend prior, at home against the Mustangs saw Perth clinging on by a fingernail. After this weekend, they are out.
- Last Week: Two home losses against the Mustangs just about snuffed out any slim hope that the Thunder had of making the finals.
- This Weekend: The NSW road trip will sealed the fate for the Thunder. The North Stars were in a similar boat to the Thunder and only one won not just a game but a slim hope of the four. Sunday’s match against the Ice Dogs was almost a display of angry disappointment in what could have been. The Thunder lit up the Ice Dogs 8-2 but it was all too late.
- Run Home: Stan Scott will not let Thunder camp will not give up even though their season is over. It would be just their style to get a few upset on the run home.
- Games Remaining: Ice Dogs (H), Ice Dogs (H), Ice (A), Ice (A)
(8th, 22 points)
The Sydney Bears were smashed by the Brave last weekend and were smashed by the Ice Dogs on Saturday (8-0) and muscled by the North Stars (6-2). The team must be looking forward to the end of the season that had early promise.
- Last Week: A hat trick to Ben DiMarco (Marco Goalo) was the biggest highlight of the weekend 12-4 smashing by the Brave.
- This Weekend: The final Battle of Sydney against the Ice Dogs this weekend been and Sunday’s final away game against the North Stars saw the Bears playing for pride only. Not sure how that worked out for them.
- Run Home: One game to go! More of the 3rd period pew pew pew and less goal scoring by the opposition, please! Injury management is starting to be important, especially for the imports. The end of the pain is near.
- Remaining Games: Brave (H)
- Bears received an extra point in lieu of the re-scheduled game against Adrenaline.