Newcastle North Stars V Melbourne Mustangs
It’ s always exciting when the Mustangs come to town and even more so when their season is on the line and a win could make a big difference.
The first period opened with a hectic section of play with an early breakaway almost resulting in a Newcastle goal however moments later the Mustangs lost Adrian Nash for the match, when a collision occurred between Nash and Jeff Martens shoulder, resulting in a cut above the eye and a concussion for Nash. Video footage showed both players with their heads down at the time and was merely a hockey collision.
In a pleasing period of hockey for Coach Gary Dore and a frustrating one for Brad Vigon, the Mustangs had three power plays during the period yet could only manage five shots on goal due to the pressure applied by the Newcastle penalty kill.
In a period that finished scoreless the Mustangs had the opportunities but were let down by loose passes, whether it be the absence of Nash in the line up or the hustle of the North Stars in their own blue zone.
The second period began with both teams skating the puck out of their own defensive zones and up through the middle of the ice and finally making the shots on goal.
The Mustangs made the best of the early opportunities when Brendan McDowell, who had been patrolling the North Stars goal mouth for much of the first period combined with Patrick O’Kane to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead, when O’Kane fired a shot past Olivier Martin from just inside the blue line.
Newcastle hit back a mere eight seconds later when Jeff Martens slipped a puck to Pier-Olivier Cotnoir to level the score at 1-1.
The North Stars seemed to have found their groove and a goal at 7.53 to Jeff Martens was quickly followed up by a Beau Taylor goal at 5.54 to send the North Stars to the break with a 3-1 lead.
The sixteen shots on goal for the Mustangs would have been one pleasing aspect for Coach Vigon and his chargers who were creating the opportunities but just couldn’t find the net.
The third period started with a repeat of the second when Pier-Olivier Cotnoir combined with Beau Taylor at 17.70 to make the score 4-1.
The lead gave Coach Dore the chance to give more ice time to his young gun line leading into the finals. The likes of Matt Wettini, Tim Stanger, Jaysen Chalker and Nick Quirk combined with the veterans, Ray Sheffield and Rob Duchemin to rest the legs of the North Stars imports.
With 7.43 remaining in the game Nick Quirk combined with Tim Stanger to take the score to 5-1 and Quirk was in the action again at 3.34 for his second goal to finish the game with a 6-1 North Stars victory.
Although the loss meant the Mustangs would miss the 2013 AIHL Finals, Coach Vigon will be out the show the North Stars they have plenty of bite left when they meet next round, when they host the boys from Newy at the Icehouse on Sunday 1st September.