Braves at the Goodall Cup Finals

Good luck Mustangs!! The Braves are represented in today’s 2017 Australian Ice Hockey League semi final between Melbourne Mustangs and Melbourne Ice by current and alumni players including Andy Belic, Brendan McDowell, Matt Stringer, Corey Stringer, Troy Robertson and Fraser Carson.

We are also represented in the officiating crew, with Fraser Ohlson getting the call up to act as a linesman for the game.

Best of luck to all!

Finals Bound!

Congratulations to the following teams for making the Winter 2017 finals:

  • Premier League – finished the round-robin in 2nd place
  • Senior B – finished the round-robin in 2nd place
  • Senior C – finished the round-robin in 4th place

Our Senior A team made a late run for finals but narrowly missed out.

Best of luck to all teams!

Round 12: Braves @ Jets

In a weekend of mixed results, the Braves saw some big wins and some big losses.

Premier League
A big weekend of hockey started with our Premier League squad taking on the reigning champions for the 3rd time this season and looking to cement their spot in the top half of the standings heading into the back end of the season. Things looked ominous early, however, when a probing shot from beyond the blue-line found it’s way into the net from the first shot of the game. Changing the entire outlook of the contest, the Premier League squad were forced to chase the tying goal and brought some serious firepower along for the ride; blasting 39 shots at the Jets net. Unfortunately, Mikey James had settled early and set up a wall, stopping everything with everything; from his pads to his face. From the drop of the puck to start the second period Dylan Black cut sick and threw his considerable rig around to rally the team who responded with 17 shots in the second period alone. Unfortunately, in spite of another 12 shots in the 3rd, huge support from an aggressive D and some slick hands in close from Liam McKay, the team could not solve ‘The Mikey James Equation’ in a 1-0 loss that was ultimately still “the best performance of the season” according to head coach Simon Holmes. On Friday they have the opportunity to capitalise on that performance against a Sharks team who have struggled against the Braves so far this season.

Simon Holmes on the bench with the Braves Premier League team.

Senior A
Falling behind early seemed to be the tone for the weekend as the Senior A squad, like Premier League before them, gave up a gnarly knucklepuck very early in the game. However, newly-promoted and AIHL Legend Paul ‘Corky’ McCorquodale delivered three highlights on his season debut for the Senior A squad; firstly splitting the D for a cheeky goal to respond within minutes of the Jets first tally off a Nankervis pass. Secondly, finishing his pair with an empty netter from the defensive zone (McCorquodale, Craig) to send the bench into raptures. And thirdly for coining the now insufferably ego-boosting term; ‘The Fuey Hat-Trick’. To quote ‘Corky’ directly post-game; “I witnessed a Fuey hat trick. A fight, 10 minute misconduct and a GOAL!! His goal celebration involved a bit of flexing and a lot of yelling!”. Personally this intrepid and heroic author finds this sort of behaviour galling but that rascally Fuentes will do what he does, amirite? Further highlights included Peter Curran (Pak) scoring his first of the season off a ‘deflection’ from his skate and Simon Jokic scoring yet another goal to make him thoroughly annoying post-game. Taking a 2-game winning streak into this contest and playing a high-tempo, physical brand of hockey has re-introduced a certain level of swagger to our 3-time premiership champion Senior A team and they now find themselves chomping at the bit to see how much more havoc they can wreak leading into the serious part of the season; finals.

Senior B
Not to be outdone, the Senior B squad followed the same trend; coming out flat and giving up a gritty tally in the first 30 seconds that left Coach Fuentes wondering if he would be better off staying home writing game recaps. However, unlike the previous games, where the Braves rallied strongly to force a contest, the Senior B squad spent most of the first period chasing their tails and were lucky to be trailing 2-0 at the first intermission. Frustratingly, the second period followed the same script and, in spite of some good play deep in the O-Zone, the squad were unable to capitalise and fell further behind to end the second 5-0. However, with the challenge set out for them in simple terms, the team responded and scored quickly to start the 3rd off an excellent individual finish from Adam Vilbar after a beautifully timed release pass out of D. The Jets put a further two past Ajay Hill (filling in for Conor O’Brien) however the signs shown by the Braves at this point, highlighted by doubling their shot count from the preceding two periods and making a concerted effort to make every puck battle a true contest (with some truly inspirational work from Van Luyk), suggest there is a hungry team dying to unleash some hurt on someone. Monday night sees this opportunity present itself.

Senior C
An excellent defensive effort saw the Senior C squad hold off a fast finishing Jets team for a 3-2 win. Conor O’Brien in net kept the Jets from turning the game into draw and a strong attacking effort did the rest; starting with Stefaan White scoring the first of his brace midway through the second period. With the tying goal coming soon after, enter Alex Healey who, as described to this writer from an avid fan in the stands received “a beautiful pass from Matt Troedel on the point to set-up power play specialist, Alex ‘Hacks’ Healey (Troedel, Thornton) with a back-door goal only the filthiest of scorers would be proud of”. I don’t know about the rest of our dedicated readers, ‘Hacks’, but I personally approve of every part of this. Holding a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd, Stefaan White (Belic, Troedel) scored his second late in the game before a junk-time Jets goal saw the contest end 3-2. O’Brien faced 20 for 2 while the Braves put on 23 shots of their own.

Round 9: Braves @ Saints

Premier League
On Friday, the Premier League team were on a mission, pouncing on any advantage. The scoring started mid-way through the first period, when Chris Ong Tone toe-dragged the puck to score five-hole. Kevin Robertson (Chris Ong-Tone, Liam McKay) made it 2-0 on the next shot less than a minute later. The Braves made it three goals from three consecutive shots when Kevin Robertson fed the puck to Liam McKay, who converted while shorthanded. The Saints scored to make it 3-1 heading into the break. The 2nd period saw the Braves continue to dominate, with Andrew Belic snatching his deflected shot out of the air and onto his stick to score the Braves’ fourth. Kevin Robertson (Ong Tone) got his second, quickly followed by Andrew Belic (Michael McDowell, Liam McKay). Andrew Belic (Brendan Oakes, Adrian Nash) completed his hattrick minutes later, to close out the period with a 7-1 lead. The third period saw the Braves continue to take advantage of odd-man rushes, even on the penalty kill. The aggressive approach paid off for Andrew Belic, scoring a further two shorthanded goals, to finish with five for the night, in a 9-1 demolition of the Saints. The Braves outshot the Saints 37-20, with Fraser Ohlson in net for the win.

Senior A

Ajay Hill
Saturday’s game saw the Brave’s topsy turvy Senior A form continue – this week struggling against the Saints. The Saints scored three unanswered goals in the first period – two on breakaways, and backed up with another two in the second, before the Braves drew one back late in the period after Travis Dangstorp fed Simon Jokic for the first Braves goal of the game, to see the scoreline read 5-1. The Saints managed another four goals in the third for the 1-9 loss. Ajay Hill, who was stepping up from Senior C, faced 20 shots, with the Saints seeing 18.

Senior B
The Senior B team put forward a dominant display, earning a 9-2 win in their clash against the Saints on Sunday night. Tom Milkovic, assisted by Paul McCorquodale, opened up the scoring midway through the first, with Alex Milton (Paul Zame) adding a second just prior to the period break. The second period saw the team take it up a notch, scoring 4 goals off 11 shots – with James Oliver (Paul Zame) scoring inside the first minute, Paul Zame (unassisted) five minutes later, Oliver and Zame combining again whilst playing 4-on-4, before the Braves changed it up to see Mat Blair score off a Alex Milton assist to see the team head into 3rd with a 6-0 lead. The Saints earned a four-minute advantage midway through the third period after a scuffle in the neutral zone, but the Braves were able to control the puck and successfully kill the penalty. The Saints found the back of the net a minute later, however the Braves were not done – adding two more goals. Alex Milton scored from Tim Stringer and Paul Zame (Paul’s 5th point of the evening) and Paul McCorquodale (Mat Blair, Luke Goulding). The Saints got their second, but Alex Milton nailed the coffin shut with his hattrick goal in the final minute of play, with the scoreboard reading 9-2. The Braves outshot the Saints 34-14, with Alex Healey in net for the win.

Senior C
The first period in Senior C saw plenty of end to end action, but the Braves were getting more shots when they got forward. The sustained effort was finally rewarded when Anthony Thornton scored unassisted. The Saints drew level a few minutes later, however John Belic (Sharon Orgad) restored the lead once more. A goal-line clearance from Maciej Rudowski kept the Braves in front heading into the 2nd. The second period opened with an early goal – Alex Healey putting a laser of a shot on, which was deflected in for Thornton’s second. Owen Pearce added to tally with his shot going five-hole a few minutes later. The third period saw both teams with opportunities but strong defending kept everyone off the scoresheet. The Saints did manage a consolation goal with a minute to go, with the game ending 4-2. Bryan Jeffrey saw 24 shots in the win, to the Saints 37.

Behind the bench with Senior C. #icehockeyvictoria #braveshockey #australianhockey #blackandgold #icehockey

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Round 8: Braves @ Sharks

Premier League
The Braves took on the Sharks on Friday night, in a spirited contest at Docklands. Conceding a goal from the Sharks first shot of the game, the Braves tightened up defensively and went into the break 0-1. The game continued with the Braves unable to find a way past the Sharks goaltender despite multiple chances, whilst the Sharks were able to make the most of their few opportunities, doubling their lead midway through the period. However the Braves found another gear, three goals inside the final two minutes of the second period. Liam McKay scored from Chris Ong Tone and Lindsay Nash, Chris Drake converting on the efforts of brothers Andrew and Steve Belic, and Kevin Robertson scoring to give Ong Tone his second assist for the night. The third period saw the Braves keep up the pace, with Adrian Nash (Andrew Belic) bringing the scoreline to 4-2. The Braves allowed the Sharks to score shorthanded, bringing the scoreline within one goal, but redeemed themselves on the same power play, when Kevin Robertson and Chris Ong Tone combined again. The Sharks continued to threaten and put another on the board at even strength, however the Braves were able to seal the result with a goal from Andrew Belic (Michael McDowell, Chris Ong Tone). The Braves posted a massive 48 shots in the the 6-4 win, to the Sharks 25. Shane Murphy was in net for the win.

Senior A
Running just two centres for their Docklands clash, the Braves seemed to not miss a beat against the Sharks. Travis Dangstorp got the game off to a flying start, converting from Martin Kucera 58 seconds in, and then again less than two minutes later from Huw Ohlson. The three players then worked together, with Kucera and Ohlson setting up Dangstorp for his hat trick goal. While the second period saw fewer scoring opportunities for the Braves, the team continued to hold the Sharks to just a handful of shots. The third period saw Dangstorp netting his fourth goal of the evening (and tenth of the campaign), this time assisted by Simon Jokic. The Braves outshot the Sharks 24-16, with Fraser Ohlson in net for the win.

Senior B
The Braves controlled the tempo early at Oakleigh, putting pressure on the Sharks, and were rewarded when Michael Best scored unassisted, before Matt Purdon (Paul Zame, Michael Best) picked up his first goal of the season on a power play. The Sharks halved the deficit when given space, but the Braves reasserted their control, hammering home another three goals inside of three minutes courtesy of Paul Zame (Paul McCorquodale), Tom Milkovic (Bianca Cassar) and yet another solo effort from Michael Best, this time on the power play. The Sharks also made short work of a Braves penalty kill to see the first period scoreline read 5-2. The Braves dropped in intensity as the second period started, allowing an early goal to the Sharks in the first minute of play, and wrestled for the puck thereafter, with limited opportunities to score. The third period saw the Braves return to the form shown earlier in the game, peppering the Sharks defence. Adam Vilbar scored his first of the season, assisted by Tom Milkovic at 10:24, followed by Paul Zame (unassisted) with his second of the game a minute later, before Alex Milton also went solo with just over two minutes to go. Finally, Paul McCorquodale set up Adam Vilbar for his second, who walked around the goalie to double his tally, and give the Braves a 9-3 win. Conor O’Brien faced 20 shots, with the Sharks facing 32.

Senior C
Drawing the short straw with an 11:15pm timeslot, the Braves struggled to make an impact against the Sharks in Senior C. The Sharks opened up the scoring with an early goal, before the game became more tightly contested throughout Period 1. The second saw the Braves continue to reign in scoring opportunities for the Sharks, but the good work was undone, when the Braves allowed a goal from the first shot of the 3rd period. The Sharks netted one more, to see the final result read 0-3. Ajay Hill faced 32 shots in the loss, with the Sharks facing 18.

Coming up: Braves @ Saints-Monarchs
Fri 30 Jun, 8:00pm – Premier League (O’Brien Group Arena)
Sat 01 Jul, 7:15pm – Senior A (O’Brien Group Arena)
Sun 02 Jul, 7.15pm – Senior B (Olympic Ice Skating Centre)
Mon 03 Jul, 7:30pm – Senior C (O’Brien Group Arena)