The penultimate weekend of the 2014 regular season saw the final 4 positions confirmed. While the final 4 teams are now known, the final weekend of the regular season will determine the final order of the top 4 and who plays in each semi final in Melbourne on August 30.
(1st, 50 points)
The Melbourne Ice are now leading the competition and nothing less than raising the Goodall Cup in a couple of weeks time will be good enough for the Ice fans. With 2 games this weekend against the Thunder, they have the best chance to be on top of the ladder come Sunday night.
- Last Week: Won both games against the Mustangs (Thursday, 5-1) and North Stars (Sunday, 7-2) in Melbourne.
- The Weekend: Two games against the Thunder in Melbourne completes the regular season. A real chance of winning both games if they remained focused on this week’s game and aren’t pre-occupied with the finals.
- Run Home: Either the Ice or the Mustangs will be first on the ladder on Sunday night – the other team will take 2nd place.
- Remaining Games: Thunder (H), Thunder (H)
(2nd, 50 points)
The MOAT: Melbourne Mustangs had a top 4 position locked up before the weekend and had a mixed weekend. Outplayed by the Ice at the last Melbourne Derby, they came back and defeated the Newcastle North Stars on Saturday.
- Last Week: A mixed weekend with a loss against the Ice (Thursday, 5-1) but a win against the North Stars (Saturday, 6-3).
- The Weekend: Final roadtrip of the year to play the North Stars and the Ice Dogs. Sunday’s game could be repeated the following week as a part of the final series in Melbourne.
- Run Home: The Mustangs will finish either 1st or 2nd depending on the results of their games and those of the Ice. Top 2 are confirmed but in what order will they be?
- Remaining Games: North Stars (A), Ice Dogs (A)
(3rd, 46 points*)
CBR Brave dropped from 2nd to 3rd after 2 losses in Adelaide but are still confirmed finalists in their first AIHL season. Read nothing into the form last weekend, especially on Sunday.
- Last Week: Two losses against Adelaide (5-2 on Saturday, 6-2 on Sunday) gave the Brave time to give some of their players more ice time. They also rested goaltender Petri Pitakanen during Sunday’s game to give their back up goalies some ice time.
- The Weekend: The Brave are stocking up on ice to throw over Sydney Bears goal tender Luke Read. Will be keen to demolish the Bears again at the Bearsdome on Saturday.
- Run Home: Will finish either 3rd or 4th alongside the Ice Dogs in the finals depending on results. Out of the finalists, this should be the easiest game of the weekend if the Brave bring their A game to Sydney.
- Remaining Games: Bears (A).
- Brave received an extra point in lieu of the re-scheduled game against Adrenaline.
Sydney Ice Dogs
(4th, 45 points)
The 2013 Goodall Cup champions are the Sydney Ice Dogs and thankfully for them, they can go to Melbourne to defend their crown with a fight. If the results were different, the Ice Dogs could have been watching the finals from home.
- Last Week: Heading across to Perth, the Ice Dogs confirmed their finals appearance with a come from behind win on Saturday, winning 3-1. Sunday’s game was won 6-3. 6 points was a good haul and at the right time of the season.
- This Weekend : In what could be a dress rehearsal for the finals, the Ice Dogs face the Mustangs.
- Run Home: Along with the Brave, the Ice Ice Dogs will finish 3rd or 4th in the regular season.
- Remaining Games: Mustangs (H)
(5th, 43 points*)
The Adelaide Adrenaline did all they could to make the finals but also had to rely on the results of other games. Will dread things what they could have had but don’t – so close but no finals for Adelaide.
- Last Week: Two wins against the Brave wasn’t quite enough to book a finals berth. They have done all that they could do and had to rely on other results. A good couple of wins at home was a nice way to end the year except that there’s no trip to the finals.
- The Weekend: There’s wineries to visit and a season’s worth of chores to catch up on.
- Run Home: The Adrenaline started the season after most teams & were the first team finished for the year.
- Remaining Games: Nil
- 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)
The Newcastle North Stars‘ late season charge for the finals officially came to an end after Saturday’s loss to the Mustangs. The team had a difficult assignment for the latter part of the season but they never stopped trying.
- Last Week: 2 losses in Melbourne don’t tell the whole story for the North Stars. JFK will be reminded often about that goal against the Ice. A nice strike but the wrong net, JFK!
- This Weekend: Final home game of the season against the Mustangs will be good afternoon of hockey & charity by the North Stars.
- Run Home: The 2014 journey ends close to home on Saturday.
- Remaining Games: Mustangs (H).
(7th, 28 points)
Perth Thunder needed to win last weekend to have a chance at the finals & needed other results to go their way. The first game started well for the Thunder but the Ice Dogs came from behind.
- Last Week: A good start against the Ice Dogs on Saturday meant little by the end of the weekend with 2 losses.
- This Weekend: Off to Melbourne for 2 games against the Ice. A tough assignment at the best of times. A chance to look forward to 2015 and have some fun.
- Run Home: Out of the bottom 4, the Thunder are the furtherest away from home for their final games.
- Games Remaining: Ice (A), Ice (A)
(8th, 22 points)
The Sydney Bears had a weekend off from hockey and have one game to go before drawing a line under 2014 forever. They have even had their 2014 Presentation Night already before their imports start to leave.
- Last Week: A weekend off. Maybe the Bears sat around Sean Hamilton Steen’s TV watching Goon. A couple of players (like others in the league) took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge.
- This Weekend: The Bears play their final game against CBR Brave & will be keen to improve on the 12-4 result of last time.
- Run Home: It will be collared shirts or ice skates after Saturday’s game against the Brave for the Bears & some of their fans. The Bears have not won a game since the Melbourne clean sweep in late June.
- Remaining Games: Brave (H)
- Bears received an extra point in lieu of the re-scheduled game against Adrenaline.