The top teams are starting to separate from the bottom teams as the race for the Goodall Cup hots up. The AIHL have a solution about the games that were postponed after the Adrenaline bus crash which is sure to promote much discussion. Is your team still in the race – some teams clearly are and some teams are not depending on which opinion you read.
Note – The positions on the AIHL ladder for the purposes of this article have been adjusted following the decision by the AIHL Commission to award 1 point per team per game for the postponed games involving the Adrenaline, Bears and Brave.
(1st, 38 points)
The MOAT: Melbourne Mustangs remain on the top of the table despite having last weekend off. Are on equal points with the Ice but have played less games.
- Last Week: It was a week off for the Mustangs. All they had to do was to read social media while the others teams battled it out.
- This Week: Off to Perth this weekend. 6 points should be heading back to Melbourne on the red eye flight Sunday night if the good Mustangs show up. However, the Thunder are no pushover especially on home ice.
- Run Home: Not an easy run home travel wise with trips to Perth, Canberra and NSW. They play 3 realistic finals chances. Should remain top 4.
- Remaining Games: Thunder (A), Thunder (A), Brave (A), Brave (A), Ice (H), North Stars (H), North Stars (A), Ice Dogs (A)
(2nd, 38 points)
The Melbourne Ice had a mixed weekend in NSW last weekend with a loss and a win. No more travel for the Mice. On equal points with their Icehouse co-tenants but have played more games.
- Last Week: A 4-2 loss against the North Stars but a 3-2 win against the Ice Dogs saw mixed results for the final road trip of the season.
- This Week: Hosting the Adrenaline next weekend who are on a high after Oddyfest last weekend. A weekend off the for Ice.
- Run Home: No more travel for the Ice. Matches against expected finalists should be close but should pick up easier points against the North Stars (1 game) and Thunder (2 games). There’s one more Melbourne Derby to end the season and a possible preview of a finals match. Should remain top 4.
- Remaining Games: Adrenaline (H), Adrenaline (H), Mustangs (A), North Stars (H), Thunder (H), Thunder (H)
(3rd, 37 points*)
Regarded as the real deal in their first season as CBR Brave by many, they had a successful weekend against the Thunder saw a maximum 6 points earned by the Brave. Were on equal points with the Ice Dogs prior to receiving an extra point at the direction of the league after the re-scheduled game against the Adrenaline will not be replayed.
- Last Week: A great weekend for the Brave against the Thunder with 2 wins. Saturday was 3-1 and Sunday was 5-3.
- This Week: A shorter road trip to Sydney against the Bears on Sunday after hosting the North Stars on Saturday could see another 6 points heading back to Canberra.
- Run Home: Road trips to Adelaide and twice to the Bearsdome in Sydney means a lot of traveling. 3 games against teams well under them will help greatly. Having the Mustangs visit should be a highlight for the Brave faithful. Should remain top 4 but are in danger from the Adrenaline and now Ice Dogs behind them. Need to keep winning.
- Remaining Games: North Stars (H), Bears (A), Mustangs (H), Mustangs (H), Adrenaline (A), Adrenaline (A), Bears (A).
- Brave received an extra point shortly in lieu of the re-scheduled game against Adrenaline.
(4th, 37 points*)
Due to the league decision to award the Adelaide Adrenaline 2 points as a result of their 2 postponed games (1 per game), they have now zoomed past the Ice Dogs on the ladder and are in (unofficial) 4th position right now. The team had a great weekend at Oddyfest against the Bears (Saturday 6-4, Sunday 8-1) to make up for the previous weekend’s dramas.
- Last Week: The Bears had no answer for the Adrenaline during Oddyfest. The Sunday game saw the Adrenaline totally dominate while the Bears staged a late comeback on Saturday to get close.
- This Week: Adelaide shoot across to Melbourne to play the Ice in a couple of games next weekend. A good weekend off to prepare for the race to the finals.
- Run Home: 2 games against the Ice and 2 against the Brave could go either way. 1 Road trip to Melbourne in their penultimate weekend of the regular season. Need to maximize wins to remain as high as possible in the top 4.
- Remaining Games: Ice (A), Ice (A), Brave (H), Brave (H).
- Adrenaline received 2 extra points (1 per game) in lieu of the re-scheduled games against Brave and Bears.
(5th, 36 points)
The 2013 Goodall Cup champions are still technically in the top 4 until the official AIHL ladder is revised. A tight loss to the Melbourne Ice on Sunday. A successful trip to Newcastle this week will be a good warm up to the following week’s final Battle of Sydney against the Bears.
- Last Week: Had a tight 3-2 loss against the Ice in Liverpool that they may have been able to win. Were 4th in the standings until points to Adrenaline were added mid-week.
- This Week: A trip to Newcastle against the North Stars will see the Ice Dogs wanting to fight hard to win to assure their spot in the top 4.
- Run Home: With the exception of a road trip to Perth, the Ice Dogs stay within NSW for the rest of the season. Playing the Thunder 3 times as well as the North Stars and Bears should help them. Only 2 games against potential finalists Ice and Mustangs. Should remain in the top 4.
- Remaining Games: North Stars (A), Bears (A), Thunder (H), Thunder (A), Thunder (A), Mustangs (H)
Newcastle North Stars
(6th, 26 points)
A good 4-2 win against the Ice for the Newcastle North Stars was nice revenge after their horror Melbourne trip. Now playing for pride and wanting to keep above the Thunder & Bears.
- Last Week: A good win at home against the Ice.
- This Week: Saturday afternoon in Canberra against the Brave will be a difficult assignment. A tough battle against the Ice Dogs in front of their home crowd should provide an afternoon of action on Sunday.
- Run Home: Not the best run home with 2 more trips to Melbourne and several games against teams higher than them on the table. 3 games at home in theory should be a benefit. Missing a finals berth will not be pleasant for this proud club.
- Remaining Games: Brave (A), Ice Dogs (H), Thunder (H), Bears (H), Mustangs (A), Ice (A), Mustangs (A).
(7th, 25 points)
Not a good weekend at home for the Perth Thunder with 2 losses against the Brave.
- Last Week: Two home losses against the Brave should have snuffed out any slim hope that the Thunder had of making the finals.
- This Week: Hosting the Mustangs and keeping any of the 6 points of offer will be a victory for the Thunder and the other teams in the top half of the ladder.
- Run Home: Hosting the Mustangs and Ice Dogs at the Thunderdome will see some quality hockey in the west but try as they might, the Thunder’s season montage will not feature footage of them at the Icehouse on the last weekend in August.
- Games Remaining: Mustangs (H), Mustangs (H), North Stars (A), Ice Dogs (A), Ice Dogs (H), Ice Dogs (H), Ice (A), Ice (A)
(8th, 22 points)
The Sydney Bears are the only team that have been written off finals wise by the AIHL social media team. Two losses against the Adrenaline during Oddyfest did not help their cause. A bonus point in lieu of a postponed game against the Adrenaline will do little for the Bears’ bottom line.
- Last Week: Two heavy losses against the Adrenaline but a spirited comeback on Saturday saw a hat trick to Sean Hamilton Steen. The league’s fan favourite back up goalie Luke Read started on Sunday and played the entire game.
- This Week: The first of two home games against the Brave for the season is a great warm up for the following week’s Battle of Sydney against the Ice Dogs.
- Run Home: Playing for pride and spots on the team for next year, the Bears should go out on the ice and have some fun. Pew pew pew, Bears!
- Remaining Games: Brave (H), Ice Dogs (H), North Stars (A), Brave (H)
- Bears received an extra point in lieu of the re-scheduled game against Adrenaline.