Monthly Archives: July 2013

Newcastle North Stars V Canberra Knights

Newcastle North Stars V Canberra Knights

Photo:: Debra Jean Photography

Photo:: Debra Jean Photography

The Canberra Knights travelled north with one thing in mind, to take three points from the Newcastle North Stars and stop the flood of goals that derailed their season. Craig Tonks caught the action for HSN.

The first period opened with some great exchanges between both teams which saw driving into the opposition zone and making the shots on goal.

A penalty against the Knights at 11.57 for too many players on the ice opened the door for the North Stars to run a power play line, paying dividends at 11.47 when Pier Olivier Cotnoir slipped a puck to Jeff Martens to open the scoring at 1-0.

A slap-shot from the blue line by John Kennedy Jr at 9.07, delivered Newcastle’s second goal however Canberra had the answer at 8.56 when a goal mouth scrap resulted in Matt Taylor dragging the score back to 2-1.

With 7.01 remaining in the first period the defending North Stars turned defence into attack when Jeff Martens fired a puck up the ice to Dominic Osman who was patrolling the blue line which resulted in a 3-1 score in favour of the North Stars.

To the credit of the Knights who never took a step back, they kept working the puck and asking questions of the Newcastle defence. This paid off and put Canberra back on the score board when Jordan Braid combined with Jordan Gavin to take the teams to the break with a 3-2 score.

The second period began with sustained pressure from the North Stars with Canberra goal tender Chris Slauenwhite denying the North Stars several times until 12.11 when Dominic Osman fired a shot from the blue line on a power play which rebounded off of Jordan Braid allowing Osman to take a second shot and securing Newcastle’s fourth goal.

Just over a minute later Jeff Martens jumped on a lose puck to take the score to 5-2 however Canberra hit back at 8.25 when Jordan Gavin slipped one past Newcastle goal tender Olivier Martin yet the celebration was soon forgotten when Dominic Osman bagged another goal to make the score 6-3.

Osman soon went from scorer to assistant when at 0.47 he turned provider for Pier Olivier Cotnoir to close out he period with a 7-3 lead for the North Stars and minus a few players when a flurry of gloves flew with 4 seconds to go which saw five players enjoying pine time.

The third period began with where it left off with Dominic Osman bagging his fourth goal of the game at 19.32 which took the score to 8-3 however Canberra kept fighting back resulting in a Kai Miettinen goal at 10.19.

Even though Canberra were down on the scoreboard they kept asking questions and making shots on the Newcastle goal, with the persistence again paying off with 3.46 remaining in the game when Jordan Braid grabbed his second goal for the night and in doing so bringing the difference back to two goals and a 8-5.

As the clocked ticked down, North Stars young guns Matt Wetini and Jayson Chalker combined to give Wetini a much deserved goal to close the match out at 9-5.

The Knights can take many positives away from a loss, one being that not matter how far behind they got, they fought their way back which would be pleasing to any coach.

Newcastle Coach Gary Dore summed up the importance of the game, “We had to win this game, that’s really all there is to it”.


Newcastle North Stars V Melbourne Mustangs

The Melbourne Mustangs headed north to Newcastle with one main aim, to tie down fourth spot on the AIHL ladder.

Debra Jean Photography

Debra Jean Photography

The opening exchanges set the pace for the remainder of the game, which would be fast and desperate hockey which delivered big checks by two sets of defenders out to show their dominance.

Both teams were making great drives into the oppositions zone without making too many shots on goal due to scrambling defence of both the North Stars and Mustangs.

The Mustangs were working the puck out of their defensive zone with the combination between Kevin Glanzman and Jamie Bourke immediately obvious to the sell-out crowd in attendance at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium.

With 5.46 remaining in the first period, Alex Hall combined with Andrew Fitzgerald to give the Mustangs a 1-0 after a wide skating Fitzgerald put the puck past Olivier Martin.

The North Stars quickly regrouped and with 1.24 remaining in the first period when John Kennedy Jr shot the puck from the blue line which was deflected by Jeff Martens to equal the scores at 1-1.

In a period that saw the North Stars outshoot the Mustangs 21 to 10, the goal tending of Jon Olthius was the difference however one would think Newcastle Coach Gary Dore would have liked rewards that come with effort.

The second period saw some frantic hockey, in what could be best described as semi final, and for the Mustangs chasing their first finals series, it probably was.

Although the period finished scoreless, the end of the period saw John Kennedy Jr and Jamie Bourke taking a 10 minute break after exchanging pleasantries after the buzzer sounded.

The third period began similar to the pace of the first two however minus Kennedy and Bourke who were clocking up some pine time.

The North Stars and the Mustangs were evenly on par throughout the third period and the match was looking like heading to a shoot-out.

A penalty to John Kennedy Jr for roughing with 53 seconds remaining in the match opened the door for the Mustangs to close out the match on a power play and it paid off with 29 seconds remaining in the match when Jack Wolgemuth connected a pass to Brendan McDowell, who fired a shot from the blue line past the glove of Olivier Martin and a 2-1 victory for the Mustangs.

Mustangs coach Brad Vigon summed up a close and exciting tussle, “Some great work by the goal tenders on both sides, the game flowed well with minimal penalties. There were systems we have that got away from us last weekend against Adelaide so we made sure we played to those”.

For the Mustangs to make their first AIHL Finals Series at home in Melbourne it takes belief from the benches to the coach and from what we saw tonight, the Mustangs believe.

Sydney Bears V Sydney Ice Dogs:: Harbour City Battle

Sydney Bears V Sydney Ice Dogs

Photo by Debra Jean

Photo by Debra Jean

The “Local Derby” between the Sydney Bears and the Sydney Ice Dogs are a game that have the marketing potential in the next few years with the play on the ice matching the hype.

The Bears played without Michael Schlamp who was suspended for two matches after being ejected from the game against the Melbourne Ice and a range of other factors saw Brandon Stobbs, Steve Adams and Jon Bale missing from the line up.

The first period saw a great battle in the neutral zone with both teams delivering some solid hits along the boards however the Ice Dogs got first bragging rights when David Dunwoodie opened the scoring after combining with Simon Barg at 10.43 in the first period to make the score 1-0.

The Bears had a great opportunity when Tomas Landa took a great pass out of the Bears defensive zone when returning to the ice at 9.53, only to be shut down by one of Australia’s leading goal tenders, Anthony Kimlin.

With 5.48 remaining in the first period Dunwoodie and Barg swapped roles with Barg putting the Ice Dogs ahead 2-0.

The second period started and it was immediately obvious a determined Bears side had returned to the ice.

An Ice Dogs Power Play at 14.49, was effectively shut down by the Bears who had tightened up the defence and some great saves by goal tender, Ryan Lowe helped the cause.

Vlad Rubes who was having a superb game in a defensive role was leading the way. Although playing in the unusual role of a D-man, Rubes gave the Bears a solid foundation to work the puck up the ice.

An obvious bonus for the Ice Dogs was the often unnoticed defensive work of Todd and Scott Stephenson. Any shot on Anthony Kimlin had to get through the rock solid Stephenson boys which would please any coach at this time of the year.

After a scoreless second period the third gave the crowd the sense that the next 20.00 minutes would be a period where both teams gave it their all.

The Ice Dogs were working the puck up the ice and playing a great brand of hockey. One thing lacking in the game was the low amount of penalties in the game with only two going to the Bears.

The Bears had the best opportunities at 13.22 and 9.41 when Tyler Kubara won some pine time when he got back to back penalties. These Power Plays saw the Bears unable to capitalise with the score remaining at 2-0.

The Bears pulled goal tender Ryan Lowe with 0.51 remaining in the game which saw Anthony Kimlin grab an assist after Simon Barg bagged an empty netter resulting in a 3-0 win for the Ice Dogs.

In what was a much closer game than some predicted, the Bears walked away from this one with their heads held up high and the Ice Dogs again showing their fans it’s not a bad time to start looking at Hotels and Air Fares in Melbourne in September.

Sydney Bears V Sydney Ice Dogs Preview

6.00pm on Saturday 20th July @ Sydney Ice Arena

This weekend sees the battle of the Harbour City between the Bears and the Ice Dogs. The Ice Dogs have been one of the form teams of the competition and the Bears have struggled in recent weeks.

The Bears should have settled on a Goal Tender by the weekend and it was good to see Luke Reed guarding the pipes for the Bears in Melbourne. Reed who comes out of the East Coast Super League is a talented young man more than capable of doing the job.

The Bears have good consistent scorers in Tomas Landa, Michael Schlamp, Vlad Rubes and Branden Stobbs however they have a range of other players who can grab a sneaky goal if you focus on the main players. The likes of Cameron Todd and Slavomir Boris have the ability to control the neutral zone and put points on the board.

The Ice Dogs have been the most impressive team of 2013. The combination of goal scoring ability, low penalty minutes and the addition of Anthony Kimlin have seen them solid all over the ice.

Matt Puntereri and Simon Barg are scoring plenty of goals but one player who has impressed in 2013 is Robert Malloy. The Ice Dogs have right mix of imports, experience and local youth and it would be a game man to bet against them being in Melbourne in September.

We Think

A wounded Bear is a dangerous commodity and as we saw last week in Melbourne the Bears will be out to play aggressive hockey and aim to get under the skin of the Ice Dogs. The Ice Dogs should get away with a win but not as much as some people think.

By Craig Tonks



Match Review:: Newcastle North Stars V Perth Thunder

The Perth Thunder headed east to take on the Newcastle North Stars, determined to exercise some of the demons the last trip brought them.



The first period saw some great exchanges from both sides with a points decision to the Thunder who out shot the North Stars 11 to 4. The North Stars who were back after a weeks break, appeared to have trouble settling into the match, yet kept driving into the Perth zone, looking for a way through.


With 7.21 remaining in the first period, Dominic Osman continued his good form in season 2013 by giving the North Stars a 1-0 lead.


The Thunder kept fighting and continued to drive into the Newcastle zone which paid off with 4.40 to go in the first when new Perth Import, Dan Mohle provided the assist for Michael Forney to level the scores.


The crowd instantly knew this was a different Perth Thunder, with coach Stan Scott keeping his chargers settled by providing plenty of encouragement, which paid off on a Perth power play after John Kennedy took in some pine time. Kenny Rolph gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead going into the break.


The second period saw the tempo rise to another level. The North Stars were creating the opportunities however the Thunder defence had them rattled, closing them down on the last shot.


With 9.49 remaining in the second period the Thunder sent the Newcastle crowd into silence when David Kudla provided the assist for Perth Captain, Sam Wilson to push the Perth lead out to 3-1.


This goal seemed to kick start the North Stars into action mode. This paid off when Pier-Olivier Cotnoir clawed back a goal with 7.30 remaining in the second period and brought the score back to 3-2.


Cotnoir continued his goal scoring run and hit again with 4.56 left in the second period, when Jeff Martens provided an assist to bring the scores back to 3-3.


The Thunder were showing the depth required to play September hockey and it must have been pleasing for Coach Scott to see Jonathon Bremner, Jordy Kyros and David Ruck contributing on equal par to the Perth imports.


With 3.06 remaining in the second period, David Ruck combined with Jonathon Bremner to send the Thunder to the last break with a very handy 4-3 lead over the North Stars.


Newcastle Coach, Gary Dore appeared relaxed or had on his game face. Knowing his team has the ability to come back in the 20 minute third period definitely provides some comfort.


The third period saw the arrival of bigger and harder body checking with both sides trying everything possible to gain the upper hand.


With 9.01 remaining in the match, Dominic Osman fired a rocket from the blue line to beat the glove of Daniel Clarke to level the game.


The Thunder then showed the determination they will need for their first tilt at finals hockey when Kevin Darcy gave the Thunder a 5-4 lead with 4.04 remaining in the match.

The clock was ticking down and the North Stars were looking down the barrel of a consecutive second home loss when Adam Geric, with only 29 seconds left in the match hit home the equaliser that sent the match to a good old fashion western shoot out, the third in a row for the North Stars.


The first goals of the shoot out went to the second shooters of each team with Dominic Osman and Dan Mohle grabbing goals.


Another six shooters per side went scoreless until Jayson Chalker raised the roof of the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium with the winning goal. A humble Chalker summed it up nicely, “It was great to get my second goal and anything I can do to help the team win is a plus in my books”


Coach Gary Dore summed up his feelings when he described the game as nerve racking. “No fan would have gone home disappointed, it was a pure spectacle. We weren’t as sharp as we should be and we knew Perth wanted this one badly. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, just better”.


Where Are They Now?? Blair Tassone

In 2010, the Newcastle North Stars recruited three young players from the University of Alaska, in Anchorage. At the end of the season one of the trio would leave with 22 goals and 40 assists and finish third on the point scoring list. Blair Tassone had a chat with Craig Tonks about what he’s been up to since leaving Newcastle.

Craig Tonks:: What did you do after leaving Australia?

Blair Tassone:: Well I am currently residing in Chemainus, British Columbia Canada. After Australia I hung up the skates to get one of those real jobbie things that most people seem to have. I am now an Environmental Consultant and Health & Safety Coordinator for a local Environmental company called Coast Environmental.

CT:: You had such a great season in Australia. If you came back for another season of hockey would you like to play for the North Stars again?

BT:: Hell yes, if I ever moved back to Australia I would play for the North Stars again. As the saying goes ” once a North Star, always a North Star!”

CT:: Would you recommend the AIHL for young players in North America?

BT:: I have and always will recommend the AIHL to other young players! Always Newcastle first though! My time in Australia, the AIHL and especially Newcastle was one of the highlights of my life thus far!

CT: Any great memories from your time in Australia away from hockey?

BT:: Swimming with the great whites was awesome and Diving the Great Barrier Reef. Obviously all the great friends that I met that made my stay in Australia memorable.

CT:: Finally anything for the people of Newcastle?

BT:: Hello to everyone in and around the Newcastle organization! You all made my stay there a memory that I will never forget!!!

Newcastle North Stars V Perth Thunder Preview

The Newcastle North Stars take on the  Perth Thunder on Saturday 13th July 2013 @ Hunter Ice Skating Stadium.

Stars v Adrenaline 21 June 13 028

The last time these two teams met it was a win to Newcastle when they defeated Perth 13-2.

Dan Mohle and Brian Burger hit the ground running last week for the Thunder against the Mustangs and have their names on the 2013 AIHL Scorers List. There may have been some recent upheaval in the west but the core group of locals remain in tact. If anything situations like this create opportunities for the Perth locals to step up and stake a claim for a top line spot.

The North Stars who had a week off due to the cancellation of the Trans Tasman Champions League are well rested and should be ready to go. The home stretch will be important for the North Stars and that run home starts on Saturday night. Expect to see Jeff Martens, Domonic Osman and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir looking for goals.

We won’t see a repeat of the last scoreline between these two teams in Newcastle and the new Perth Imports are an unknown factor. The North Stars are settled and look comfortable even though the two Adelaide games went to shootout. At times the North Stars do what they need to do to win, this should be one of those games.