The fourth AJIHL season is just around the corner! The league has spawned some of the AIHL’s up and coming talent in the past and is a great way to see them in action before they hit the top level. If you are in need of a hockey fix and some cheap thrills then the AJIHL is the answer. As the countdown to the season approaches it is only fitting we bring you a preview of what each team can bring. The Whalers are off to a better start this season with a win over the Melbourne Glacier’s Thursday Night. It could be a sign that things will be different compared to last year. Coach Michael Flaherty likes the look of his new line up and injection of Youth “The young talent that has come through this season is exciting and we have room for dramatic improvement from last year”. Last Year Season Ranking = 6th Last Year Final Ranking = 6th Additions: Evan Connard, Marc Bortolotto, Adam Bunting, Aleksander Anderson, Liam McConnell, Fraser Ohlson (G) Subtractions: Remi Beland (Age), Nickolaos French (Overseas), Ryan Foll(Adelaide), Theodore Fabijan(Adelaide), Zahan Shafeeg(Age), Ariel Singer, Mackenzie Hill, Paul Lazzarotto, Chris Wong Forwards Sam Stewart Robbie Rama (F/D) Andrew Johns Byron Tschuma Adam Bunting Harrison McQuade Aleksander Anderson Liam McConnell Marc Bortolotto Defence Harrison Jaunozols Damian Pandolfo Nick Norton Evan Connard Taras Cheprakov (IR) Goal Fraser Ohlson (G) Similar to the Glaciers last season, the scoring has been generated from the blue line as both Jaunozols and Pandolfo were amongst the teams top scorers. Whilst goals are important Flaherty is keen to tighten up his defence. “Our defensive structure needs to improve from last season and will be a key focus. We need to lighten up the workload for our goalie and contribute more offensively as well”. That goalie is ex-Glaciers net minder Fraser Ohlson who has already put one over his old team. When it comes to contributing offensively rookie forward Byron Tschuma is off to a great start scoring 2 goals and 1 assist in the Home Derby on Thursday. The team also starts the year without Taras Cheprakov (3G, 1A in 4 games) who is out with a shoulder injury. He is expected back in January and can hopefully join the Whalers in a push for the finals.
The fourth AJIHL season is just around the corner! The league has spawned some of the AIHL’s up and coming talent in the past and is a great way to see them in action before they hit the top level. If you are in need of a hockey fix and some cheap thrills then the AJIHL is the answer. As the countdown to the season approaches it is only fitting we bring you a preview of what each team can bring. The Sydney Sabres have always been a force in the AJIHL and this season looks to be no different. The Sabres pick up forward Cameron Smith who made his debut for the Sydney Ice Dogs in 2015 along with Sabres long time leading defenceman Daniel Pataky. The Sabres have an impressive mix of young AIHL players with the likes of Joshua Hansen and Saxon Air, as well as four players (Manwarring,Carini, Pataky and Hansen) representing the Australian Junior Team later this year. Below is a snapshot of the Sabres line up: 2014-2015 Season Ranking = 2nd 2014-2015 Final Ranking = 3rd Additions: Liam Manwarring, Cameron Smith (Drafted to Sabres), Aiden Silato, Pearcen Nicholson, Kory Sheridan, Joshua Kleipas, Branson Moore, Tim Russell (Drafted to Sabres), Mohak Issar, Charlie Yole, Dale Tilstead Subtractions: Luke Zvonicek (Drafted to Wolf Pack), Luke Shafren, Damien Sables, Bryan Costa (Age), Lachlan Allport (Overseas), Rhett Kelly (Age), Nathan Moncrieff (Injured), Corey Brown, Chris Shepherd (Age), Sam Lammert (Age). Forwards Liam Manwarring (Rookie) Ellesse Carini Cameron Smith Aiden Silato (Rookie) Saxon Air Pearcen Nicholson (Rookie) Cian O’Reilly Kory Sheridan (Rookie) Joshua Kleipas (Rookie) Mohak Issar (Rookie) Defence Daniel Pataky Joshua Hansen (Injured) Branson Moore (Rookie) Tim Russell Charlie Yole Goal Tyrone Mendoza – Kehlet Dale Tilstead (Rookie) Jason Kvisle and Jimmy Dufour return behind the bench for their fourth season at the Helm. Both coaches feeling pretty good about the upcoming season “We felt particularly good after leaving the NSW draft as they were happy with the group of talented players they were able to pick up”. They should feel good about this group. The addition of Junior Team debutant Liam Manwarring will be interesting to watch with his form at the State level and time spent overseas. Sabres Points leader Ellese Carini averaged over a point a game last season (9G, 8A in 15 games) and is also representing alongside Manwarring – Will Carini top this feat in his Sophomore season and lead the Sabres again? Whilst the Sabres lose a veteran in net in Rhett Kelly who was instrumental to their championship two years ago, the sabres will do just fine with Tyrone Mendoza – Kehlet. Kehlet led the league last season in GAA (1.44) and 8 wins. He will have a strong defensive unit in front of him again led by Pataky and Hansen that other teams will have to find a way around. The Sabres also mentioned in a statement that they want to keep the trophy in NSW “The past three AJIHL seasons have all been won by the NSW teams and we feel that with this team it is again our year to try and take out the championship”. With this line up they have a very good chance of doing so. The home derby between Sabres and Wolfpack will be one to watch this weekend Saturday October 31st 6:15pm at Penrith Ice Rink.
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Alivia Del Basso was in fine form on Saturday night, as the Melbourne Ice opened their AWIHL season with a 6-4 victory against the Sydney Sirens at the O’Brien Group Arena. Alivia opened the scoring early on, before showing great chemistry with import debutant, Carly Rolph who scored a pair. The Sirens bombarded the Ice net with 50 shots on goal but ultimately weren’t able to steal the win. The Sirens’ aggressive, offensive breed of hockey didn’t do them any favours Sunday. The six penalties called against their team may not have proved crucial, but it certainly disrupted the flow of their game. The combination of Del Basso, Rolph and Shona Powell proved too strong for the Sirens; with all three walking away with goals and assists to their names, as the Ice secured a 7-5 win. The Sirens and Ice weren’t the only teams in a close battle this weekend as the Goannas and Adrenaline both staged comebacks to force shootouts. Saturday saw the Goannas race out to a 3-1 lead only to have the Adrenaline claw back 3-3 with 14 minutes to go. The Goannas took the lead again two more times of which rookie Abi Brown scored her first goal in a Goannas Uniform of which everyone thought could be the game winner at 5-4. Adrenaline coach Joey Rezek had other plans as he called a timeout and pulled his goalie. The move pulled off as the Adrenaline tied the game with less than a second left on the clock. Adrenaline Kirsty Venus managed to get the game winner as the fourth shooter completing a gutsy effort by both teams.
Sunday would see a role reversal. This time the Goannas staging the comeback from a 3-0 deficit. They scored three unanswered to force yet another shootout but the streak would end there as the Adrenaline put their shootout skills to work again emerging with the 4-3 win. The AWIHL will be back in two weeks November 7th and 8th as the Adelaide Adrenaline head to Sydney and the Goannas head south to Melbourne. For the full AWIHL schedule go to AWIHL 2015 Schedule Article Courtesy of Ryan Darnley