Melbourne Ice have won their third Australian Ice Hockey League title in a row after a nail bitting 4-3 win over the Newcastle North Stars in the first weekend of September. In front of a sold out crowd at Newcastle’s Hunter Ice Skating stadium, the two top teams once again fought it out for the glory of the Godall Cup with Melbourne coming up trumps.
Melbourne Ice created an early chance to draw first blood however it was Newcastle who managed to put the points on the board going up 1-0. They continued to dominate the Ice in the first third scoring again through Brian Bales with two minutes to go, and alarm bells were beginning to ring in the Melbourne camp with the defending champions down 2-0.
They say never write off a champion, and as they have continually done all season Melbourne fought back, scoring a much needed goal in the dying seconds of the first period.
In the second period the momentum was turned around and the Ice came out firing. They got their second goal five minutes in. The match continued to be of a high standard showcasing the best of what these two teams had to offer. In the final minute of second third, Ice again found the back of the net and went into the final break leading 3-2.
The final third was an unbelievable struggle with the Newcastle defence being forced to save shot after shot until Melbourne finally broke the scoring drought six minutes in to lead by two.
The North Stars tried to fight back hard, with about six minutes to go they clawed back to be down by one.
The crowd erupted with a deafening noise, both teams supporters trying to help their respective teams over the line. Newcastle continued to attack but this time the Ice defence held strong, handing them their third trophy in a row.
Having the semi finals the day before certainly didn’t help Newcastle. They took on a never say die Adelaide Adrenaline outfit and barely got across the line 5-4.
Melbourne had an easier passage brushing past the Sydney Ice Dogs 6-2.
The Newcastle North Stars came into the final the favourites after they accounted for Melbourne in all of their clashes this year and were the best team of after the completion of the normal season.
After a season filled with upsets it seemed that there was one more left in the bag. Melbourne left Newcastle with their 3rd grand final defeat in four seasons.
Robert Bremner is a first year Sports Journalism student at Latrobe University. You can follow his Twitter at @Robdog_1