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AJIHL RD 5 Wrap Up: Glaciers ice Whalers. West still Hot

Whalers save
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Glaciers continue to climb the mountain with a 7-2 display Saturday night over the Whalers. Caleb Butler was on fire again notching another hat-trick and three helpers. But he was not alone as his teammates Corey Stringer and Tim Vanderwolf both chipped in two goals a piece.

The Glaciers raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first and then doubled the lead on a misconduct penalty to Whalers top defenseman Harry Jaunozols early in the second period.

Aleksander Anderson responded for the Whalers before the second period finished. Byron Tschuma then cut the lead in half 4-2 as he continued his solid play, but that is where the come back would end as the Glaciers scored three unanswered to keep their streak alive.

Over in the west the Sharks and Pelicans battled out a 5-4 game with the Pelicans scraping out the win. The Sharks however, were extremely solid in the special teams department successfully killing off 7 of the 8 penalties served and capitalizing on 66% of their power play chances.

Jordan Grover was instrumental in establishing a 4-2 lead after two hard fought periods. David Mahood extended the lead to 5-2 early in the third, but that still didn’t deter the Sharks as Sak closed the lead to two. Bruno Stolze kept his scoring streak going netting one with 18 seconds left in the game and whilst it wasn’t enough to tie the scores, one would certainly suggest the Sharks might have the momentum when these two teams meet again.

Vigon named coach of senior Mighty Roos

Brad Vigon with the goodall cup

The Australian Mighty Roos senior men’s ice hockey team has a new coach with Brad Vigon taking on the role with a new-look coaching team.

Vigon had been the Melbourne Mustangs’ coach in the Australian Ice Hockey League up until early November when he stepped down after three seasons in the role, including winning the 2014 AIHL Championship.

Former CBR Brave coach Matti Luoma will be Vigon’s assistant as the team aims to get back into Division 2 Group A after being relegated from the group earlier this season.

After turning the Mustangs from a last-placed team to the AIHL champions in only two years and previous experience as assistant coach in the Mighty Roos’ 2013 World Championship campaign, Vigon had the confidence to put his name up for the top job.

“I had a chance to be an assistant coach with the national team a few years back with Vlad Rubes who was the head coach at the time,” Vigon said. “I learned a lot from him about how to prepare and the processes you need to go through. It was a fantastic experience and it was then that I knew I would like to have a chance to lead the team.”

Vigon has had a strong career in Australia, moving to the country at 35 years of age and joining the Melbourne Ice as a player then captain and assistant coach.

In his time in the AIHL, he tallied 100 points (43 goals, 57 assists) in 83 games between 2004-2010.

Prior to joining the Ice, Vigon had retired at the age of 24 after a stint as a professional hockey player in Europe and his native USA.

Vigon also represented Australia at the 2008 World Championships, pulling on the Mighty Roos jersey for the first time as a 39-year old, tallying five appearances with a goal and an assist in the campaign that saw Australia reach Division 1 for the first time.

“Anytime you have the chance to represent your country it is a huge honour,” Vigon said. “It had long been a dream of mine to play in a World Championship, but I had long since forgotten about it until I moved to Australia. I was completely taken by surprise that they asked me to play, as I wasn’t exactly a spring chicken at the time. But it all worked out and we won a gold medal to boot.”

“I never really thought that I would get the head coaching role. There are a lot of great coaches here and I consider myself very fortunate to be in this position.”

With plenty of achievements since arriving in Australia, Vigon said he had many highlights.

“My time in Australia has been full of memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Vigon said. “My first year in Melbourne, I was a player/coach for the Sharks in the Victorian League. At that time, all players who played in the AIHL also had to play in the local league so the level was very competitive. The team had finished dead last the season before and we won the championship.”

“Also playing for the Melbourne Ice in the formative years out of Oakleigh and helping to turn them into a contender was a great experience, as well as being an assistant coach with them during their first two championships. And I have to mention the Gold Medal with the Australia team and gaining promotion to Division One for the first time in the country’s history.”

As national team coach, Vigon hopes to lead the team to back to Division 2 Group A but also has a strong focus on developing the younger players on the team into strong international performers to help set the team up for the future.

“On paper at this point I like what I am seeing,” Vigon said. “We have a great mixture of youth and experience and a group of guys that I have no doubt will buy into what Matti Louma and I will lay out for them. They are hungry, and extremely motivated to get us back where we believe we belong.”

“The tough thing for Australia every year is the opposite season. Most teams, with the exception of New Zealand are coming right out of a season and are in top game shape, whereas most of our players haven’t played a real game in nearly six months, so guys need to get up to speed very quickly. Also the altitude in Mexico City will be a challenge for us, but we are taking every step necessary in order to minimise the impact.”

The Mighty Roos will play in the 2016 Division 2 Group B World Championships in Mexico City, Mexico on April 9-15. They will take on Bulgaria, Israel, North Korea, New Zealand and hosts Mexico.

AJIHL Round 4 Wrap Up: Sharks Stolze the Show

Stolze in 4v2 win
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There seems to be a tug of war out West as the Sharks defeated the Pelicans 4-2. The major highlight were the Stolze brother’s combining for 6 points of the Sharks first three goals.

Ben Stolze got the show on the road netting the lone goal for both teams in the first period, his brother Bruno and Tomek Sak with the assists. Pelicans Ben Wilcocks responded for the Pelicans in the second which left the third period open to a scoring frenzy.

Ben Stolze would notch his second goal of the game again assisted by his Bruno 35 seconds in. David Mahood tied the game moments later at 2-2.

Ben would then be the one to set up as he put Bruno on a break that led to the game winner at 3-2 as Charlie Tennant nailed home the insurance marker for the 4-2 victory.

AWIHL RD 3 WRAP UP: Sirens Double Down in Adelaide

Adrenaline v Sirens

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The Sirens extend their winning streak to four in a row all of which have come against Adelaide. Given previous encounters between these two teams you would have expected another close battle, however, Sirens Sharna Godfrey had other plans notching 5 goals and 1 assist in an 8-2 affair.

Godfrey got things started early tallying the first two goals in the opening minutes. Diana Glass responded for the Adrenaline to make it 2-1, but Sharna Godfrey and line mate Kath McOnie responded finishing the first period with a 4-1 lead and a hat-trick for Godfrey.

A 4-1 lead is never safe against the Adrenaline as they have proven this season they can come back from just about anything. But Saturday was not to be as the Sirens scored another three unanswered goals (two off the stick of Godfrey) leaving the second period 7-1. The Adrenaline did manage to get their game back in order tying the third period 1-1 which they could take into the next game and try and leave the 8-2 result behind them.

Diana Glass would get things rolling for her side on Sunday taking a 1-0 lead at the end of the first. This time Amelia Matheson would do the damage for the Sirens scoring two goals in the second period and with Sharnita Cromptons goal the Sirens were 3-1 ahead. Adrenaline Beth Kavanagh who assisted on the first goal, popped in one of her own to narrow the lead 3-2.

Sharna Godfrey would make it 4-2 to finish the game proving she still has plenty of more goals left in the tank. The Adrenaline will get a week off to regroup before they take on the undefeated Melbourne Ice.

AJIHL RD 3 WRAP UP – SABRES ON FIRE. PELICANS BOUNCE BACK

Sydney Sabres Cameron Smith finishes check on Sydney Wolf Pack Luke Zvonicek

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The Pelicans were looking for revenge in the West and they got it defeating the Sharks 3-1 Saturday night. Pelicans Jordan Grover capitalized on the power play in the first period to get his team ahead by one. The Sharks Connor Knapman managed to level the scores early in the second period, but that would be as close as Sharks would get. Jordan Williams notched what would be the the game winner minutes later as Lyndon Lodge buried the insurance marker with less than minute remaining in the third to keep the Pelicans in third place.

Over in the East, a scoreless first period suggested another close battle between the Sydney Sabres and Sydney Wolf Pack on Sunday night. The Sabres managed to kill off three penalties, providing them a momentum boost going into the second.

Ellesse Carini opened the Sabres account in the second period followed by Liam Manwarring and Aiden Silato, who extended the lead out to 3-0.

The Wolf Pack couldn’t work out a way to get past Mendoza-Kehlet until Dylan Lavery closed the lead 3-1 early in the third. But Mendoza-Kehlett shut the door thereafter allowing veteran forwards Saxon Air and Cian O’Reilly to further cement a 5-1 finish.

Next weekend the Sharks and Pelicans are at it again Saturday 6:30pm at XIA. Be sure to catch the action or follow the AJIHL Facebook page for score updates.