SYDNEY BEARS (2-2-2-2) at MELBOURNE MUSTANGS (1-4-0-1)
A resurgent Sydney Bears head to Melbourne to face off with the Melbourne Mustangs in a double-header weekend at the O’Brien Group Arena. They’ll be hoping to continue the fine attacking form shown in their 8-4 win against the Perth Thunder last time out.
The Mustangs, meanwhile, have been rooted to the bottom of the ladder early on this season and suffered a 9-0 shelling at the hands of local rivals, the Melbourne Ice before Adelaide heaped on the pain with a 7-3 beating, last weekend.
BEARS’ KEYS TO VICTORY
KEEP SHOOTING: A lot of the Bears’ early success has been the result of putting shots on the opposition net. Given the goaltending duo for the Mustangs will likely be less than confident on the back of sixteen conceded goals, shots on net will be absolutely key.
CLOSE OUT THE GAME: Whilst there have been Bears’ comeback victories that a proof of the team’s ability to close out a game, there have also been failings like last week’s game with the Adrenaline. The Bears gave up two valuable competition points through not closing it out strongly.
MORE OF THE SAME: Consistency will be vital if the team wants to maintain its top four placing. This year’s Sydney Bears have already proven they’re a force to be reckoned with, they need to ensure this remains the case all season.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Tyler Noseworthy (Forward) - Tyler has been tallying points at a rate above one per game, with eight in his first seven appearances for the team. His ability to put the puck on his teammates’ sticks has been a key part of the Bears’ impressive early season offensive form. Whilst Noseworthy would probably like to score a few more goals, if he can keep tallying assists nobody is going to complain. A repeat of his four-assist night in Perth may be off the cards on the bigger O’Brien Group Arena ice, but Tyler should certainly still be expected to deliver a point or two.
June 26 - Bears 2 at Mustangs 4
July 9 - Mustangs 4 at Bears 3
July 16 - Bears 3 at Mustangs 1
August 20 - Mustangs 1 at Bears 2
The Mustangs have had a tumultuous start to the year, pushing the CBR Brave to the limits on their opening weekend before a very close encounter in the first Melbourne derby of the year. They followed that up with a 9-5 victory over Adelaide before the wheels seemingly came off the wagon in emphatic fashion.
Their current position at the bottom of the ladder is in spite of the efforts of imports Maxime Langelier Parent (5G, 6A), Pat O’Kane (3G, 4A) and Anton Kokkonen (1G, 6A). It has been the injury to regular starting goaltender of season’s past, Fraser Carson that has had the biggest effect on the team. Nicholas Novysedlak, after being hung out to dry against the Ice has an awful 6.09 goals against average and .821 save pertcentage.
The Bears and Mustangs may be on-ice rivals this weekend, but both teams will be hosting games this season, embodying the spirit of #HockeyIsForEveryone.
The Bears host their ‘Pride Game’ on Saturday July 22nd at Macquarie Ice Rink against the Melbourne Ice, whilst the Mustangs host theirs on the same night at the O’Brien Group Arena against the Newcastle Northstars. Both events are geared at promoting acceptance and equality through the sport of ice hockey.
Photo Credit: Peter Podlaha
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