Weekend Preview: Bears vs Lightning

June 23, 2023

Weekend Preview: Bears vs Lightning

The Sydney Bears will look to get back in the winner's column in a cross-conference clash away to the Brisbane Lightning. It will be the first time the two teams have met since last season's vicious encounter which resulted in the Bears abandoning the game.

The Bears will be keen to end the month of June on a high note after dropping two straight at home to the Perth Thunder. Last Sunday, the Bears battled back from a 5-2 deficit to tie the game, but Perth scored late and held on for a 6-5 victory.

The loss and a pair of CBR Brave victories pushed the Bears out of the league's top spot. Sydney trails the defending champions by three points with a game in hand.

Perth's (15 games played) mid-season surge has seen it climb to the second spot in the Hellyer Conference standings with 28 points, two points behind the Bears (13 games played). The Melbourne Mustangs (13 games played) trail the leaders with 25 points.

In the Rurak Conference, Brisbane held a surprising lead at the top of the standings early in the season. However, a six-game losing streak has seen the Lightning slide into third place.

Brisbane did snap the streak last weekend, recovering from a 4-0 defeat in Adelaide on Saturday to even the ledger with a 7-4 victory on Sunday. The league's newcomers will be eager to prove their early season form, and not their mid-season slump, is more reflective of who they are.

Fans of the two clubs will remember last season's contest, where an ugly incident at the end of an exhibition game between the two clubs resulted in the Bears abandoning the match.

In a post-whistle fracas, the Lightning's Josh Labrie cross-checked Thomas Moncrieff to the face. Moncrieff required dental surgery following the incident.

Labrie served a seven-game suspension for the infraction and is available for selection this Saturday. The Lightning announced that this game was a sellout a fortnight ago, illustrating the interest in the rematch.

Making another intriguing footnote to the contest, the Bears are one of the league's best road teams, and the Lightning own one of the best home records.

The Bears are yet to lose away from home this season, having won all five games in regulation. Brisbane has lost just one of their six games at home this season, an 11-9 loss to the Melbourne Ice earlier this month.

In positive news, Anthony Kimlin returns to the crease this weekend and will be backed up by the impressive James Downie. Kimlin still leads the league with a .931 save percentage.

Blueliners Timothy Newmark and Joey Gunner are unavailable for the trip, meaning Brian Funes, Marc McNulty, and Tyerell Clare will likely see plenty of ice at Boondall.

We return for our next home game for our Canada Day game against the Melbourne Ice on July 1, and we have partnered with Weave Youth and Community Services as part of the event.

There will be a special Teddy Bear Toss to raise much-needed funds to continue Weave's great work helping women, children and young people through complex situations and giving them the tools to change their lives.

Teddy Bears for the Toss are available online to purchase now, with 100% of profits going to support Weave. There will also be a number of ways to donate at the game, so make sure you get your tickets and help us support a brilliant cause.

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