The Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL) finals are coming up this weekend, a unique spectacle where all finals games take place within two action-packed days of hockey goodness at the Medibank Icehouse.
The Melbourne Ice Women’s Team go into this year’s series sitting in top seed, and are certainly the ones to beat, as they hope to hoist their second straight AWIHL Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy on Sunday. As a whole, the Ice have blitzed through this season, the team finishing with a 9-1-0 record.
One of the players in the Ice defence is #23 Cien Pereira. A loyal and hardworking blueliner, she’s also a volunteers as a CFA firefighter, and describes herself as
“a bit of a geek”.
Cien attributes much of her team’s success to
“a good blend of experience, skill, determination and teamwork”.
She says that the girls will be approaching this weekend the same way they would approach any final, and that they’ll be focusing on their own game. The team has been working hard both on the ice and in the gym, and are keen to take full advantage of this year’s home ice advantage.
With the tight schedule – each team will play twice, if not three times within the 48 hours – all players will also have to consider how they’ll manage the workload and strain on their bodies throughout the weekend, especially when the level of intensity will be up.
“Hydration will be very important; recovery will also be really important….we’ll probably do a team recovery on the Saturday.”
The Melbourne Ice’s only loss came on 2 February at home against the Adelaide Adrenaline, a blemish that they swiftly avenged in their last game of the season with an 8-0 thumping. Incidentally, Adelaide will the team the Ice face first up (2:30pm, Saturday 1 March).
If all goes to plan, the Ice will be victorious in their first game and advance straight to the grand final, which will be played on Sunday 3 February at 5pm.
However, should they fall in their first match-up, the Ice will be prepared to face stiff oppposition from either the Brisbane Goannas or the Sydney Sirens. Cien said that there were plenty of reasons not to underestimate either side, including her team’s second game of the season in Brisbane (the home team jumped to a 3-0 lead over the visitors in the first period), as well as Sydney’s depth both up forward and in defence.
Anything can happen come Game 1 on Saturday afternoon. Make sure you’re rink-side this weekend at the Medibank Icehouse to cheer your team home!
Schedule – Medibank Icehouse, Docklands, Melbourne
Saturday 1 March
2:30pm – Semi Final 1 – Melbourne Ice (1) vs Adelaide Adrenaline (2)
5:00pm – Semi Final 2 – Brisbane Goannas (3) vs Sydney Sirens (4)
Sunday 2 March
9:00am – Elimination Final – Loser of Semi Final 1 vs Winner of Semi Final 2
2:30pm – Bronze Medal Game – Loser of Semi Final 2 vs Loser of Elimination Final
5:00pm – Gold Medal Game – Winner of Semi Final 1 vs Winner of Elimination Final