Northstars co-coach Joey Theriault said he will take plenty of positives from the Newcastle’s 3-1 loss to the ladder-leading Brave in Canberra and feels much more prepared for the return showdown next month.
Newcastle were in the Australian Ice Hockey League top-of-the-table clash for most of Saturday’s three periods, only conceding the Brave’s third goal in the closing stages.
The Northstars, who now slip back from second spot to at least third on the overall standings, host Canberra at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on August 5 and Theriault reckons Newcastle will be ready.
“With our full squad I think we can give them [Brave] a good run for their money up here in a few weeks,” he said.
“That was one of our most complete games of the year and we were down a few guys with injuries, resting and work commitments.
“We worked really hard and were in with a real shot, only down 2-1 with four-and-half-minutes to go.
“Seeing them [Brave] live and how they work their players was good too. They have five imports but one is a goalie and one is a defender so they have to play. The other three forwards take the last two positions, so they need to be rotated.”
Theriault said injured star Zane Jones, who missed the weekend’s fixture, will resume skating at training on Tuesday with an eye towards Sunday’s encounter with the Sydney Bears at Warners Bay. Czech import Tomas Landa remains sidelined with concussion.
Northstars captain Robert Malloy scored the visitor’s only goal in the first term.
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