The Newcastle Northstars hit the road for double headers in Melbourne and Adelaide the next two weekends with a full-strength squad and bolstered by Sunday’s season-opening victory.
The Northstars tackle undefeated title holders the Ice on Saturday (5pm) before backing up against the Mustangs on Sunday (4pm), both played at O’Brien Group Arena in the Victorian capital.
The Adrenaline await in South Australia on May 19 and 20.
“They are big weekends, but everybody is back so we have the full team and the guys are feeling good,” Northstars general manager and co-coach Garry Dore said.
It had been a tough start to 2018 for the Northstars, six-time Australian Ice Hockey League champions, going down in three of their opening four appearances.
Newcastle’s cause wasn’t helped with five players, including skipper Robert Malloy, representing Australia at the recent second-division World Championships in The Netherlands.
In addition, Sam Lawson was out suspended.
Now, after breaking their duck with a 4-3 triumph in a penalty shootout at home on the weekend, the Northstars want to add to their overall tally.
“Unfortunately they [Sydney Ice Dogs] tied it up with a couple of minutes to go,” Dore said.
“We thought we had it, but we let our guard down.
“Every team is really strong and it comes down to whoever makes a mistake really.”
So far, Dore has been particularly impressed with Novocastrian trio Matt Wetini, Liam Manwarring and three-time goal scorer Pat Nadin.
“The imports are here and they are great, but they are professional players,” Dore said.
“Our real stand outs have been our Newcastle line – Matt Wetini, Liam Manwarring and Pat Nadin who already has three goals this season. The Newcastle born-and-bred boys run together and they are really exciting.”
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