2018 Draft Report – Fortune favours the Braves!

Another year and another draft…the Braves sent in the scouts, did our research, and believe we have walked away from the trading and draft process with some great up and coming talent this year!

Isaac Norris is a 19yo Brisbane defenseman who moved to Melbourne with eyes firmly set on the AIHL.  He has played representative hockey for Queensland since 2013 in Tange and the AJIHL with the Brisbane Blitz in 2017/18.  His attitude, solid skating and puck skillset will see him represent the Braves in Premier A Grade for 2018.

Hollie Bolton is another defensive acquisition for the Braves in 2018… but the real scoop is that she chose us!  A former Australian NWT member in 2012, Hollie played representative hockey for South Australia, and joined Melbourne Ice Women in their 2017/18 Joan McKoewn Championship winning season.  She will be the first woman to play for the Braves Reserve team (B Grade) … assertive, smart and hardworking, we are very happy to have her on board.

Rémi Béland is a 20yo native of Montreal who has called Melbourne home for several years. He has represented Victoria from Ginsberg to the AJIHL, and last laced up the skates for the Melbourne Whalers in 2015.  His return to hockey is timely as he is an excellent skater and playing defence will thrive well in the challenging but rewarding environment in the coming years … another great win for the Braves!

Sam Bunker is a 17yo recent arrival from the United States. He showed excellent versatile hockey and skating skillsets during the Junior Draft skate that did not miss the sharp eyes of our recruitment scouts.

Other trades and steals are …

  • Alex Barnes has converted to ice after 15 years of inline hockey. He will add some score board power after a successful season as the IHV Summer 2017/18 D3 League Highest Point Scorer, playing for the Blackhawks 47s.
  • Anthony Tran is another winter convert from the summer league, bringing a solid skillset and experience we can put to good use.
  • ‘Charlie’ Jiang Deping has been drafted from the Nite Owls. With a great shot, he adds terrific depth to our roster.
  • We’re delighted to announce that after representing the Braves in summer, Dallas Barnhill will be joining our winter program. Dallas is a skilful player with a high work-rate, who will be an asset to our forward line.
  • We’re also picking up Dan Peters from our summer program. A great teammate, Dan is strong on the puck, constantly improving, and is a welcome addition to our blue line.
  • The final member of our Braves summer trio is John Hawkey. Moving up the ranks quickly, John is a hardworking, tenacious winger who brings speed, energy and intensity to every contest.
  • Our rookie is Kia van der Vliet.  She is a multisport athlete and recent enthusiastic hockey convert that we feel we can help in this great game.
  • Last but not least is Mark Dempster. A former Blackhawk, Mark is an experienced defenseman that has traded to our club this season.

We are delighted to welcome these new additions to our club, and look forward to a successful season ahead.

Unforunately, every season sees players come and go, and this year we say goodbye to Jenelle Carson as she moves clubs to play with family. Jenelle played in net for the Braves and takes her considerable experience and skillset with her. She will be missed, and we wish her the best of luck at the Demons.

Summer Wrap – Round 6

Dynamos vs Kiowa (Div 1)
The Kiowa team faced off against Dynamos for its first rematch of the season on Thursday night. After beating the Dynamos 10-3 the first outing of the season the Kiowa team unfortunately lost 8-2 with the goals being scored by Chris Bridgett and Sam Birkett. Both goals where assisted by team captain Michael Killip. It was a tough game for goalie Conor O’Brien facing 30 shots for 8 goals, four of which where scored in the last period. The Kiowa teams next game young Demons team on Sunday.

Streetsharks vs Comanches (Dvi 5)
Saturday night saw the Comanches take on the Streetsharks. It was a tough game against a team of skilled players, which pushed the Comanches to fight for the puck throughout the game. Down 7-0 in the third, Damien Polgar scored a late off a great pass by Jackie Muckner, helping ruin the Streetsharks dream of an easy shutout. The Comanches may have lost 7-1, but that’s our own little victory. MVP Ryan Kaye for constantly forechecking and backchecking and giving 100% every shift, with Damien Polgar and Alan Taylor also rating a mention.

Navajos vs Demons 2 (Div 2)
Late Saturday night saw a game against the Demons and the Navajos were keen to improve on last week’s effort. From the first puck drop the Navajos were out to control the game. It took most of the first period for the Navajos hard work and persistence to get the first goal of the game scored by Mark Samwells. Shortly after the Navajos were on the power play, this paid off with a massive shot on from the point with a late tip in from Captain Dan Layton. End of the first period saw the Navajos in the lead 2-0.

Second period started with the Demons hungry to turn the game around. The Navajos were kept in the game with some massive saves from our goalie Justin Powell, including saving a penalty shot. End of the second period saw the scores all tied up at 2-2.

Period 3 saw some penalties for both teams and even though the Navajos had some great chances we just couldn’t quite put one on the score sheet. The Navajos had 17 skaters this week which allowed us to dig deep and take the fight right to the end of the third period. Even though the Navajos did not end up with the win on this occasion, 2-3 there was a lot of good things that have come out of the game, with the best team effort so far this season. The next game will be on Friday against the Jets White.

Cherokees vs Jets Black (Div 3)
Another tough round for the Cherokees this week against Jets Black. Under siege from the very first minute of the game we had a tough time keeping them out of the net in the first period. The team didn’t give in and improved defensively as the game went on, reducing their scoring chances with each period, but still couldn’t find the back of the net despite some solid chances of our own. A final scoreline of 11-0 stings but we’re keen and ready to go against the Apaches on Sunday.

Blackhawks 47s vs Apaches (Div 3)
Struggling for numbers the Apaches faced the Blackhawk 47’s. Dylan Sheppard opened the scoring early to put the Apaches up 1-0, but despite several power play opportunities, were unable to capitalise to increase the buffer. Blackhawks evened the score late first period off a point shot to even the game. An evenly matched 2nd period, with some bad bounces saw the Blackhawk take the lead 3-1. With some solid play all round in the third period, the Apaches looked like making a comeback, as Dan Griffin scored to make the score 3-2. However fatigue set in, costing the team two soft goals. The Blackhawks took the game 5-2.

Jets Spuds vs Mohicans (Div 4)
Round 6 had the Mohicans playing against the Spuds at Oakleigh, late Sunday night, going down 12 goals to 1. After a fairly disastrous first period (7 goals against), and a rallying cry from coach Leigh Crossley during the break, the Mohicans stood strong, and limited the Spuds to only 7 shots (2 goals) in the second period. The Spuds came back stronger in the third period however, scoring another 3 goals. Shout out to Jack Challis scoring a solo effort goal late in the third period to break our shutout streak, and showing the never say die attitude of the Mohicans. A big thank-you goes out to Tommi Kotvas for jumping in goals for us, playing two games in a row Sunday night.

Summer Wrap – Round 5

Comanches vs Saints 5 (Div 5)
It was a night of firsts for both sides as the Comanches went in to game 5 looking for that elusive win while the Saints were out to prove themselves after a change in divisions – punctuating that fact by scoring near the end of the first period. After a tightly contested opening half Damien Polgar scored for the Comanches, and for his first ever, evening the game at 1-1.

Sensing a potential to win, and an unwillingness to accept a tied game, Comanches came out hard in the third with Edison Tooley and first-gamer Thea Jones scoring their second and first goals respectively in the last two minutes to see the scoreboard read 4-2. First win, first goals, and there’s plenty more to come!

Ice Wolves 1 vs Kiowa (Div 1)
The Kiowa took on the Ice Wolves for the first time this season on Friday night at O’Brien Arena. This was an important match for the team to stake a claim on the Top 4 and the effort put in by all players reflected this. Unfortunately a lack of numbers on the bench meant that fatigue became a factor as the game progressed and the younger legs of the Wolves continued to push the pace.

Mike killip got the scoring started half-way through the 1st period on a feed from John Hawkey. Our defence had trouble containing opposition speedster Mikey Ting who buzzed around the rink like a mosquito and set up the Wolves’ offence. The 2nd period ended 1-4 in favour of the Wolves. Dallas Barnhill gave the Kiowa some hope when he slotted a goal early in the 3rd period after the opposition tender left the net on an ambitious passing play. Despite grabbing the momentum, the team’s gas tank was nearing empty after two and a half periods of playing with a short bench. The Wolves took advantage of their superior leg speed and scored 2 goals late in the 3rd to cement the 6-2

The game was more hard-fought than the scoreline would suggest and the Kiowa will be itching for a rematch with a couple of extra numbers and a bit more match fitness. Team effort was very positive and goalie Conor O’Brien made a bunch of big saves to keep us in the contest.

Cherokees vs Champs (Div 3)
Not the Cherokees’ finest day. Maybe it was the humidity, maybe it was just one of those games where the puck won’t go your way, but we fell 5-1 to the Champs at Icy O’Briens. A great goal to Josh Facchini, and Matt Peagram stood on his head in goal, but it wasn’t enough.

Icebreakers vs Apaches (Div 3)
Early on Saturday afternoon the Apaches faced off against the Icebreakers. A short handed goal early in the first period put us up 1-0 but the Icebreakers equalised with 2 minutes left in the period. Early in the second the Icebreakers scored a messy goal from point that would secure them the win. While no goals were scored in the third period it was far from uneventful, with 6 penalties as both teams strived towards a win. An incident after the whistle also added the penalty count on both sides. A hard fought loss, as the game ended 1-2.

Chiefs vs Navajos (Div 2)
In a game against a far more experienced Chiefs, the Navajos once again started with a short bench. Having only 10 skaters the Navajos knew that they were going to be in for a challenge, and set out to minimise penalties and to score first. They took the game to the Chiefs early, neutralising the Chiefs offence and finishing the first period 0-0.

The Navajos began the second period with an early goal from Mark Samwells, taking a lead for the first time this season, however, the Chiefs quickly countered with two goals, further spurring the Navajos offence with some impressive efforts, notably Bianca Cassar’s attempt at crashing the net. Chiefs finished the second period 2-1.

By the third period the short bench had taken its toll. The chiefs scored four early goals countered by one from Brad Pyers. The final score was 6-2. The score aside, this was the Navajos best game to date, managing to frustrate the Chiefs and force them to change their style of play. The Navajos will build on this game next Saturday against the Demons 2 at OBGA.

Mohicans vs Jets Phantoms (Div 5)
Round 5 saw the Mohicans taking on Jets Phantoms at Oakleigh. Going down 0-9, it was a hard fought game – the Mohicans focused on playing a good positional game, but the Phantoms were too strong. The game wound up early, as the fog rolled in at Oakleigh, with play stopped late in the 3rd period. A shout out to Jack Challis on a amazing first game on ice coming over from roller.

Summer Wrap – Round 4

Comanches vs Ice Wolves 5 (Div 5)

Comanches vs Ice Wolves 5 (2017)
On Friday night the Comanches took on the Ice Wolves – an early goal in the first saw the Ice Wolves take the lead, and they followed with two more before the end of the period. Comanches initially found it hard to keep the puck in the offensive zone, but the second period saw improvement, and many more attempts and shots at net. The efforts were rewarded when a shot from a wide angle by Edison Tooley passed by the Ice Wolves goalie, earning the defenseman his first goal for the year. Despite increasing the forward pressure and some opportunities at net, the Comanches were outskated and outplayed, falling 8-1. Shout out to our officially appointed Captain Melissa Glenwright, and Alternates Matt Curtis and Ryan Kaye.

Bullharks vs Mohicans(Div 4)
The Mohicans played the Bullsharks at 3.45pm on Saturday – we knew before the game started it was going to be a tiring one with only four players on the bench. A tough game from start to finish, the Bullsharks piled on goals for the whole game. However the Mohicans focused on their own game and had some periods of good offensive cycling. Despite the 14-0 loss, we take heart from the effort put in by the whole team, especially by goalie Samantha Bennett who had a lot of work to do. There were lessons learnt and we move on to the next game.

Demons vs Apaches (Div 3)
Apaches faced off against Demons 3 on Saturday night and were ready for a tough game. Demons dominated from the start and although Braves had a number of chances around the front of the net, efforts were not forthcoming. A valiant fight was put up by our replacement goalie Jacob, however our opponents peppered him with 16 shots for 6 goals. The final score 6-0, a tough loss, yet not reflective of the Braves relentless effort.

Cherokees vs Ice Wolves 3 (Div 3)
The Ice Wolves are the division’s hottest team right now, whose record prior to the midnight showdown was 3-0 and 18 for and 5 against. Rather selfishly, one of our key D-Men (Kat Pullin) had a wedding to attend on Saturday ,which was compounded by the absence of yet another defensive option in Liam Patrick. The team knew it would be a hard task but after a cup of Horlicks and a bed time story we were ready to play, with two forwards falling back to fill in the defensive void in Kittens Place and Tom Lawler.

Initially the Cherokees got off to a strong start in the first period but the tide turned and the Wolves scored their first on a lucky bounce with 03.50 left in the period. The break soon followed and the Kees, although down, were not disheartened. The aim through he second period was to maintain pressure at the points and look for breakaway opportunities. This however didn’t happen. Three goals in the space of 8 minutes put the team on the back foot despite the great defensive play. However with 51 seconds left in the second there was a breakthrough. Richard Burt with the apple to set up key man, Big Fetz (Josh Facchini), coming through with his first of the season to get the monkey off his back, and hopefully the first of many for the season.

Up next is the Champs at the slightly more agreeable time of 1.15pm on Saturday. With the Cherokees beginning to find their feet and structure it’s hopeful that a primetime performance could be on the way during the matinee time slot.

Jets Potatoes vs Navajos (Div 2)
The Navijos took to the ice against the Jet Potatoes in round 4 in what became a very heated match. Struggling to get forward pressure earlier this season, the Navajos showed more puck control, patience and confidence right from the start of the first period, putting the Jets on the back foot. Both teams peppered the goalies early, with the Jets eventually getting one past near the end of the first. The Navs came out is the second with the same style and effort, continuing to improve breakouts and forward pressure. Neither team troubled the scorers in the second, however the pressure from both teams was evident as the penalty count started to creep towards its eventual total of 23, including one Jets player being ejected. The Jets managed another goal in the third to go make it 2-0. The Navs didn’t give up at any point, clawing one back through Brad Pyers off the sticks of Simon Holmes and Daniel Layton. The Navs had the best of it right until the siren but failed to score the equalizer eventual going down 2-1. Conor O’Brien filled in net taking 21 shots for the 2 goals.

Sharks vs Kiowa (Div 1)
Another midweek Oakleigh game for the Kiowa this Tuesday night – this time facing a strong Sharks outfit that has had a couple of big wins early this season. With only nine skaters, it was always going to be tough game.

The first period was rock solid defending from Kiowa with the Sharks scoring just 1 goal to lead 1-0 at the end of the first – a period where the the number of Kiowa shots registered on net did not quite reflect the offensive pressure put on by the team. in which i think the scorers were asleep registering the shots on as 4-0 for the period.

Captain Mike Killip evened up the scores in the second period with a great individual effort to get through the defence, but unfortunately two quick goals by the Sharks and then a third on the power play just before the break left the Sharks with a 4-1 lead.

Despite weary legs, a tough contest was had throughout the third period, and despite having to double shift at times, the Kiowa managed another ten shots on goal, with the last of those efforts a great goal from from Chris Bridget, skating from the defensive end to eventually score. Goaltender Conor O’Brien was rewarded for his part in setting up the play with an assist on the scoresheet. The final score was 8-2, with Conor O’Brien officially facing 33 shots, but putting in an effort genuinely felt like it was over 40.

Summer Wrap: Round 3

Apaches vs Ice Wolves (Div 3)
Apaches faced off against Ice Wolves for what was sure to be a feisty match up. The fans weren’t disappointed. Expecting a very tough match the Apaches brought their game faces and held the Ice Wolves to only the one goal in the tightly fought first period. Two goals past our skilful fill-in goalie Samantha in the second proved Ice Wolves as PK experts in the second. Eight penalties for rough play and other misdemeanours in the one period was not enough to slow our opponents down. Luckily Patrick Fah’s tenacity for rebounds was rewarded with the only goal for Braves to end the second. Ice Wolves managed another goal in the dying moments of the game thanks to the leading goal scorer on their side. The final 4-1 scoreline was not reflective of the effort displayed by the Apaches in some very fierce situations. The team was very happy with the result along with the very obvious headway the team is making to soon become a true force to be reckoned with.

Mohicans vs Pirates (Div 4)
On a very late Thursday night the Mohicans faced a very experienced side in the Pirates. We knew it would be a tough game from the get go with the Pirates putting on 18 shots to 3, but the team managed to hold them to one goal. It was more of the same in the second with the Pirates taking another 18 shots, returning three goals, but the period ended with a nice breakway goal from Steve Osborne assisted by Callum Pullyblank to bring the scoreline to 1-4. Another three goals conceded in the third, brought teh final result to a 1-7 loss, in a tough game against a highly organised team. MVP of the match was Mat Peagram who faced a crazy 59 shots in net making 52 saves.

Demons 3 vs Cherokees (Div 3)
The last game of grading and it was the Cherokees vs Demons 3, with Jacob Hoch filling a vacancy in net. Richard Burt (A.K.A Burty), scored an incredible goal within the first period to begin the game and start the team off with some momentum. It was answered by Demons who scored just before the end of the first. Throughout the game it was back and forth with goals from both teams, with Tom Lawler & Jack Martin scoring the other 2 goals for the Kees. A couple of penalties allowed the Demons to get ahead, and stay there for the remainder of the game. Despite a 3-5 loss, the team continues to improve, with this game being the best of the short season so far.

Tigersharks vs Navajos (Div 2)
This week’s battle for the Navajos was always going to be a challenge on the big ice with the regular roster whittled down to only 11 skaters and [Enter Stage Right] our new goalie, Justin Powell. With the locker room banter squared away and the energetic pre-game speech taking effect Navajos headed out giddy with enthusiasm to do battle with the Tiger Sharks. For this journo, the key standout was the new bloke Justin, who definitely got his monies worth, stopping 33 shots … So high five JP as it could have been much uglier. Our warrior-women were not to be out-done. Debi Hansberry (straight off the film set in her latest “Gun-show” episode), Sharon Orgad (who was very nearly a late scratching from the bookies) and our very own Elastoplast pin up girl Bianca Cassar definitely made a statement setting the tone with healthy work ethic, tenacity and “pint-sized” grit that has the punters and analysts in a whirlwind of excitement for the season to come … it was great to watch.

Conceding 20 for 2 in the first period (38 shots over the game) was clearly not in the master plan. This team has a player mix representative of every level of game-time experience … so the cogs aren’t naturally going to lineup. When the final numbers came in this week it did highlight a key stat … we are getting better as a team every shift, every game. With legs burning and heads still firmly in the game, we came back in the last period to out hassle, out shoot and bedazzle our opposition with some great moments at both ends of the rink. After some near misses, the Navajos only goal of the night came from very composed corner work by Sharon Orgad passing tape-to-tape to Simon Holmes hovering at the top of the slot who tagged the goalies pad for a rebound that was decisively ambushed by Mark Samwells who made sure it went in. When the final siren sounded the scoreboard voted 5-1 to the Tiger-sharks.

Comanches vs Jets Force (Div 5)
The Comanches faced off against Jets Force in the final round of grading games. Sadly the team went down 9-0 but not without a fight. After a tough first period the Comanches started to pick up the pace and apply more pressure to the Jets, who were a skilful team for div 5. Special mentions go to Gary the Goalie who had some spectacular saves, blocking a total 23 attempts by the Jets. Also to Chris Beards for, not only playing his first game in defence, but switching part way through to forward. Stars went to: Ryan Kaye 3, Alan Taylor 2, and Jackie Muckner 1.

Hellas vs Kiowa (Div 1)
A 10.30pm game on a Sunday night was always going to be tough, especially against a strong team like the Hellas and with only 10 skaters taking the ice. Kiowa put up a strong fight against the physical team, unfortunately going down 12-1 by the end of the game. A standout performance from all, especially fill in goalie Ajay Hill, who didn’t concede a single goal during a 5 on 3 penalty kill despite plenty of shots from the Hellas. Stand in coach Daniel Fuentes ensured the team that goals would come in our favour if we kept playing the way we were and sure enough they did in the final 3 minutes, with a power play goal from Chris Bridgett, assisted by James Pattison, ruining the opposition’s chance of a shut out.