With the first weekend of games out of the way, we have now got a bit of a benchmark for how the changes teams have made over the summer have manifested themselves. Sometimes it’s the goalies, sometimes it’s the forwards, sometimes it’s the imports, and sometimes it’s the coaches. They all make a difference to the end result, and we have seen the very early indications of those changes.
Anyway, here’s my tips for the second weekend of games.
Adrenaline @ Ice, Saturday and Sunday
This is the season opener for the Ice, so we just have to find out how well they all play as a team. Adelaide held off a hard finishing Newcastle last week to claim a one-goal win, and look a lot different from the team they were last year. I’m tipping Adelaide to take advantage of the Ice not having played together before and win the first game (possibly in a shootout). The Ice will come out much stronger on the Sunday and show us what they are capable of with a much more polished game.
Thunder @ Ice Dogs, Saturday
Both teams had one-goal wins on the weekend, both got great goaltending, both played at home. Perth head to the East Coast to face an Ice Dogs unit looking to change the outcomes of the last few seasons, but I think the Thunder have just enough firepower up front to take the bikkies from the Dogs.
Bears @ Northstars, Saturday
Newcastle’s home opener, they will be looking to make amends for the two narrow losses last weekend. Unfortunately the Bears, who kept the Ice Dogs to just one goal last week in an intense battle, will face the brunt of this renewed force and will take their second loss of the season.
Thunder @ Bears, Sunday
Sorry, Bears fans, but I don’t see your boys in black taking down the Thunder in your home opener. I know that means three losses to start the season, but you have come up against two of last year’s finalists in the first three games, and that’s a tough ask for anyone.
Brave @ Northstars, Sunday
The Brave play their only game of the weekend in Newcastle, as a rematch of last year’s grand final. This time, though, the team with the tartan will emerge winners, playing a more focused and structured game. The Brave looked really good against the Mustangs, and that form will carry over into this game.
So if all my tips work out (and I will work on Adelaide winning in regulation on Saturday), here is what the standings might look like after Week 2: