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Editions

Close race for the playoffs

30 Jul 2013

By Robert Bremner

With only a few weeks remaining in the 2013 Australian Ice Hockey League season we could be in for one of the closest finishes in AIHL history.

Six of the eight sides in the competition still have an opportunity to make the playoffs, with only the Sydney Bears and Canberra Knights certain to miss out.

Sydney Ice Dogs remain at the top thanks to their 3-1 record in overtime matches but hold this position narrowly with Newcastle and Melbourne Ice nipping at their heels.  Perth Thunder currently hold onto the final spot in the top four, but is by no means safe with Melbourne Mustangs and Adelaide Adrenaline both within striking distance.

For Melbourne Ice and Mustangs there is extra incentive to make the playoffs this year as they will be taking place in Melbourne, so will have the home ground advantage.

Melbourne Ice’s form has remained steady over the past month. They were riding a four-game winning streak until recently after beating bottom sides Canberra and Sydney Bears twice including a 16-0 thrashing of the Knights before once again falling to top-of-the-table Sydney Ice Dogs. The Ice are yet to beat the Dogs and the Newcastle North Stars, which is a troubling fact heading towards the play offs. The head-to-head record currently sits at 0-5 between Ice and these clubs – a statistic which must be altered if they are to have any chance of taking home their fourth Goodall Cup in as many seasons.

The Mustangs’ form over the past month has been up and down. They had a good win against the Bears. Before returning from Perth with a win and a loss against the fourth placed Thunder. Following this the Mustangs beat the Bears again before taking on the Adrenaline at home.

The two matches played were important in the context of the season, with ladder positions so close, and the games didn’t disappoint. The Adrenaline won the first 5-4 in a shootout, coming from a goal down. But the Mustangs exacted their revenge the following day 7-6 also in a shootout.

Next up Melbourne faces the North Stars in a crucial clash for the two clubs.

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