This round is weird. There, I said it. Essentially it’s a slightly distorted copy of last weekend, with a few subtle changes to make sure you know it isn’t a direct copy-and-paste. Let’s adjust the lenses and have a look at this weekends AIHL Preview.
Mustangs @ Ice, Saturday
This game is a match-up of last weekends game, except this time the Ice are the home team. Jason Baclig was injured during last weeks game and did not return to the ice, and I’m not expecting him to play (but hey, what do I know?). The Mustangs may be in a position to bring Fraser Carson back into the net, however Nic Novysedlak played well last weekend, so may hold the job. Both teams will have learned a lot about each other, so I expect a similar result – Ice in a relatively close one.
Thunder @ Northstars, Saturday
This game is probably the biggest change from last week’s games, and both teams are coming off a weekend split of results. Both teams are sitting on 10 points, both teams are 1-2 in shootout games, Perth are a lot more stingy with goals allowed but Newcastle have scored twice as many goals as the Thunder this season so far. I think Peter Di Salvo is the better goalie, but Newcastle have home ice. I’m calling a shootout result on this one, but not sure which way it’s going to go.
Adrenaline @ Bears, Saturday
Adelaide head back to Sydney on Saturday, but this time take on the Bears. The Adrenaline are coming off a hiding from the Mustangs, however (as I pointed out in my review) it was a one goal game after the first period, so I think they are in a better position than the score showed. The Bears are coming off a split series with the Thunder, both games going to shootouts. I’m tipping the Bears in a close one.
Adrenaline @ Mustangs, Sunday
Adelaide make the Sydney-to-Melbourne road trip for the second time in two weeks. And this time, I think the Adrenaline will have learned from the experience, and come out a lot stronger earlier in the contest. It then just becomes a case of whether Adelaide can keep up the intensity.
Thunder @ Bears, Sunday
These two teams have a lot of recent history, and I think the Bears will take advantage of the Thunder playing a tough game the night before. While they played to shootout results last week, Perth’s game against the Northstars the night before will have an effect on this game, and the Bears should win it in regulation.
Ice Dogs @ Northstars
If the Thunder will be suffering, so will the Northstars. Tough games go both ways, and the Ice Dogs will be the beneficiaries of it. Even though they will have home ice, Newcastle will struggle to hold back a well-rested Ice Dogs team looking to break into the top four.