Newcastle North Stars V Melbourne Ice

Stars Steal Victory

In another classic battle between the two sides, the Newcastle North Stars and Melbourne Ice put on a dazzling display in front of a packed house at HISS. As Craig Tonks reports, the North Stars took a narrow 4-3 win.

Photo :: Debra Jean Photography

Photo :: Debra Jean Photography

The sell-out crowd assembled at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium for a rematch between the two sides from the last two AIHL Grand Finals.

The Melbourne Ice made the most of the early opportunities and had Newcastle on the back foot from the moment the puck dropped which was reminiscent of the last meeting between these two sides at the Medibank Ice House in Melbourne.

The North Stars paid the price for giving Lliam Webster too much room to move when at 11.05 he combined with Matt Armstrong to give the Ice an early 1-0 lead.

The North Stars rallied but couldn’t contain the speed of the Melbourne attack when Joey Hughescontinued his fine form, assisting Tommy Powell for a 2-0 extension.

The Newcastle crowd was silenced 20 seconds later when Todd Graham scored from a Jason Baclig assist leaving many wondering when the flurry of Melbourne goals would end.

The second period saw the pace of the game slow dramatically and two high stick penalties toChris Frank opened up the ice for the North Stars.

The North Stars showed signs of the desperation needed to get back into the game yet it took till 2.53 remaining in the second period until Rob Starke provided the pass for John Kennedy Jr to score and make the score 3-1.

A composed Newcastle side took to the ice in the third period and it only took 41 seconds into the period before Jeff Martens continued his scoring spree when “everywhere man” John Kennedy Jr took on the role of Martens wingman to pull the score back to 3-2.

The North Stars kept the momentum going and with 17.19 remaining in the game Martens took on the wingman role when he provided the assist for David Upton to level the game at 3-3.

Both the North Stars and the Ice lifted the intensity, giving the crowd the type of hockey you’d expect from the two top teams over the last few years.

Penalties crept into the game for both teams with frustration apparent on both sides of the blue lines. With 6.16 remaining in the game, the man who is becoming a major impact player, Nick Orford-Quirk got the puck to Adam Geric who got is past Dahlen Phillips to give Newcastle a 4-3 lead.

The buzzer sounded to the roar of the Newcastle faithful who according to Newcastle Coach Garry Doré just saw a great game of hockey.

“We have two great teams and you were always going to get a great game of hockey. We didn’t panic when we got behind and just weathered the storm. They were fast tonight and just kept coming at us. It was great to get the win”.

The 4-3 victory keeps the North Stars at the top of the AIHL ladder.

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