IHV Winter Finals 2018 – Braves Premier A vs Jets

Friday night saw the Premier A Braves, the first of our 3 play-off teams, start their finals campaign.

After a very even start with both teams probing and taking their time to settle, it was Adrian Nash and the Braves who capitalised from a change in tempo at the 7.16 mark of the first period, off some clever passing starting below net from Matt ‘Beans’ Stringer and Travis Dangstorp. This set the tone for the remainder of the period seeing sustained full-ice pressure by a heavy forechecking Braves squad and leading to a second goal just before the buzzer by Dylan Black from ‘Beans’ who recorded his second assist on the night.

The second saw the Jets respond, as expected, and, with it, increased physicality that saw them spend more time in the penalty box than they’d have liked. Unfortunately the Braves did not capitalise on these opportunities until just before the end of the 2nd period with Dalvean scoring from the doorstep in the slot from an Andrew Belic feed. The excitement and energy from a 3-0 lead was short-lived, however, as the Jets, through Sam Hodic, pegged one back with 45 seconds left in the second.

The 3rd stanza started tensely with the Jets upping the tempo again and pulling a second goal back minutes into the period through their Captain Hobbins (Croft, Love) and tying the game 5 minutes later through a seriously sweet top-shelf laser from Jukka Kanto (Parolin). The final 10 minutes saw a very tense bench for the reigning champions as the clock ticked towards the end of regulation and overtime.

Coming out of the blocks hard, in spite of starting OT a player down, the Braves had the early running however a few shifts of sustained pressure saw Jets # 92 Madden (unassisted) alone and pick up a turned over puck and put it past Shane Murphy (25 saves/ .863% ) to end the contest and send the Jets through to the next round.

While a sudden and disappointing end to the season there were a huge number of positives including turning around a premiership hangover and unearthing some scoring power after the loss of our 3 top scorers from the previous season. As always, we look to next pre-season hungrily and with excitement.

Summer 2017 Awards Announced

Last weekend, the Braves celebrated the completion of the 2017/18 IHV Summer Season at our annual Presentation Night. Whilst none of the teams reached finals, each saw considerable development throughout the season, and all players can be proud of their achievements.

Rick Dwyer Award

The Rick Dwyer Award recognises those who are dedicated to the club and its members, supporting them to improve their hockey through the Summer program. In 2017/18 this award was presented to Leigh Crossley. Leigh joined the club via the IHV Draft in 2017, promptly bringing energy and enthusiam to his team. At the completion of his playing season, Leigh offered to coach our summer players, taking the helm of the Mohicans in Division 4. With experience as a junior development coach in inline hockey, Leigh guided the team through a tough season, and helped build solid foundations which will stand the players in good stead in the future. In addition to his coaching, Leigh embodied the values of the club, and was instrumental in fundraising activities to support one of the Mohicans players after a significant injury. We thank Leigh for his continued commitment to the club and its players.

Playing Awards

Congratulations to the following players for an outstanding season:

Team MVP Highest Points Best Defense Coaches Award
Kiowa (D1) Conor O’Brien Mike Killip Chris Bridgett Jon Gourlay
Navajos (D2) Cohen Smithyman Brad Pyers Simon Birch Jimmy de Niese
Apaches (D3) Daniel Zwagerman Daniel Griffin Daniel Harper Martin De Bono
Cherokees (D3) William Place Josh Facchini Katrina Pullin Dylan O’Rourke
Mohicans (D4) Jack Challis Ambrose Potter Sarah Marshall Kenneth Suico
Comanches (D5) Ryan Kaye Edison Tooley Mark Hill Alan Taylor

The club would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our coaching panel over the past six months. Our sincere thanks to Adam Bunting, Andy McKendrick, Ben Nicol, Daniel Fuentes, Dominic Zielinski, Dylan McKenzie, Gav Brien, Leigh Crossley, and Spike Black, and to Braves Head Coach Simon Holmes for overseeing coaches development. We would also like to thank Jess Kirwan for coordinating the season and our team managers for their assistance throughout: Ben Thompson, Debi Hansberry, James Pattison, Katrina Pullin, Nadja Egorova and Shelly Clarkson.

We hope everyone enjoyed the evening and look forward to seeing you all again next season.

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.