About janeglatt

Jane Glatt likes hockey, wine, photography and proper punctuation.

The Dashing Gordon – Melbourne Ice @ Perth Thunder 27/04-28/4

(Re: the title of this post–my childhood was plagued by Scottish dance lessons and if I had to suffer, so do you.)

WELP. That happened

WELP. That happened.

On Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, the Melbourne Ice played the Perth Thunder. The Thunder were missing some imports who hadn’t made it for the start of the season, and the Ice were missing national players Lliam Webster, Tommy Powell and Todd Graham, as well as primary goaltender Dahlen Phillips, who had a family commitment.

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Melbourne Ice: Fitting the pieces together

The Melbourne Ice has had unprecedented success in the AIHL–no other team has won three consecutive Goodall cups. However, the team has no intention of resting on its laurels. The team is working hard to find the configuration that’s going to bring them further wins.

“Lines are yet to be finalised,” says Melbourne Ice President Emma Poynton. “Head coach Sandy Gardner has been playing the boys in a number of different line combinations to see who works well with who.”

The Ice is using the pre-season to determine which players have the best chemistry. “We still have time to mix and match players to see which line[s] work best together. Melbourne Ice also has a number of players still overseas who need to be factored in once they return as well.”

This is the first time in team history that the Ice will be playing without veteran goalie Stu Denman in the lineup, as he retired at the end of last season. Last year, three goalies were announced, though that number was later cut down to two. That’s not the case this season: all three goalies, including last year’s backup Dahlen Phillips, will be playing.

“Dahlen Phillips will be the starting goalie. It’s intended that all three goalies will have a start this season. It’s a long season and the Ice has twice a week on-ice training as well as dry land gym work. The depth of three goalies will be required.”

The Ice is also seeing some new faces this coming season. Their commitment to the Ice Academy and training and developing the next generation of players definitely reflects in the updated roster. “In the last two years, The Ice Academy has seen Austin McKenzie, Daniel Szalinski, Chris Wong, Paul Lazzarotto, Chris Fahy, Caleb Butler and Mitch Humphries all step up and be selected for the senior squad or senior squad reserve. [This proves] the time, energy and investment into these players is paying off for the Melbourne Ice and the development of skilled hockey players in Victoria.”

Along with the additions of Lazzarotto and Fahy to the senior squad, a familiar face has come back to the fold. Veteran Glen Mayer has come out of retirement. “Glen just loves his hockey and missed the action the Melbourne Ice provides. His children are a little older now which may have helped him find a few extra hours a week for his Melbourne Ice commitments.”

Apart from veteran imports Matt Armstrong and Jason Baclig, the Ice has chosen to bring in defensemen Chris Frank and John Gordon. Emma Poynton explained the choice: “Every team aims to have minimal goals against them. If you don’t let any goals in you have a better chance of winning the game! Two import D will definitely help keep our opponents score line down, in selecting 2 D-men this year we felt that we needed to strengthen up the back line as our local forward talent is (and has always been) very strong.”

Will the Ice be aiming for the 4Peat? “Of course we will be aiming for an awesome foursome 4peat.”

Nathan Walker to play in USHL Top Prospects game

Just in this morning: Austin Cangelosi (who was the Youngstown Phantoms player who was going to play in the USHL Top Prospects game) is ill, and his place is being taken by Nathan Walker.

This is fantastic news for Walker. He’ll be under the eyes of a lot of scouts/NHL personnel. What’s even better news is that the game is being streamed for free, either at the USHL Facebook page, or at the USHL Fasthockey page (registration needed.) The game starts at 7:15pm American EST, which is 11:15am AEDT/8:15am WDT.

(… in around an hour and twenty minutes from the time of publication, OK?)

I am incredibly jealous of anyone who’s not at work and can actually watch this game.

EDIT: It’s over, Walker was #9 on team East, and lost 2-1. Didn’t get any goals, but at least one indie scout was impressed. The game’s now gone from free streaming to on demand–I could only keep half an eye on it, but I believe I’ll be rewatching.

Oh, and Walker made the NHL website, with a quote from their director of European scouting saying that he’s a great skater and works hard!

Speed beats a defensive game.

The Ice came away with a pair of wins from this weekend. They were two very different games–one 7-0 shutout, one 5-2 win where the Goannas actually looked like they might challenge, but ultimately fell.

I was really pleased to see the crowd turnout for the games. Support for women’s sport is always lagging behind men’s sport, but the crowd on Sunday was larger than some Mustangs’ games I’ve been to. (Sorry, Mustangs.) In particular, the South Pole turned out in force, with a new but familiar face among them–ex-President of the Melbourne Ice, Andy Lamrock. Ellen Etchingham recently wrote an excellent post on the difficulties and limitations of women’s hockey. I’m pleased to say that part of her rubrick doesn’t apply to the Melbourne Ice Women’s team – there were plenty of unattached men coming to see the game. I guess that it’s because the hockey community in Melbourne is exactly that–a community. We’re all part of it and we all support our teams, and if we don’t support the team, we support the players or just hockey in general.

(And if you’re a supporter of the Melbourne Ice, or if you just love hockey and you haven’t come on down to the Icehouse to see the Melbourne Ice Women play, then I really urge you to do so.)

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The AJIHL: the future is coming

This past weekend, we had HOCKEY. And not just any hockey, a Melbourne Derby between two teams that form part of the Junior league. It’s fun and fast-paced, and a fascinating glimpse into the potential future of Australian hockey. The players display a mix of skill levels, but it’s kind of neat to watch and attempt to predict which players are going to be in what role in a couple of years time. They also play the fastest hockey I’ve ever seen, and appear have absolutely no fear at all. For sheer joy of physicality and also a certain level of “I can’t believe they just did that”, it’s a hell of an entertaining game to watch.

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