The National Womens Team will be competing at the Division 2 Group B World Championships in Spain, starting February 29th.
After finishing in fifth place in a tight group last year (two points behind third place Spain) the Australian’s will be looking to challenge for a medal. The team will get a boost up front with the addition of Sharna Godfrey and Alivia Del Basso, two of the top five AWIHL point scorers this season. They will assist veterans and fellow top five point scorers Kath McOnie and Shona Powell in leading the attack.
The team also sees the return of many veterans and solid goaltending in Michelle Coonan (90.52% SVS on 116 shots). They will be led by overseas coach Lindsay McAlpine who is keen to get to camp and prepare for the tournament ”
Alivia Del Basso
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The final round took place last weekend (Jan 23rd/Jan 24th). The Sirens split the weekend with the Ice in Sydney, whilst Adelaide cemented third place with two wins at home against the Goannas. It is now onto finals next weekend February 6th/7th at the O’Brien Group Arena
After 7 rounds Melbourne (1st) will take on Sydney Sirens (2nd) in Semi Final #1. These two met last weekend and the results have left everyone guessing as to who is the favourite come Saturday. The Sirens started the weekend with a 7-1 win over the defending champions. With the scores locked 1-1 after the first period, Sirens veterans Sharna Godfrey and Kath McOnie took fire contributing on the next three goals in the second period. Their play was followed by Stephanie Cochrane who managed a hat-trick on the teams 4th, 5th and final goal. Captain Mel Matheson chipped in two assists on the night.
Melbourne Ice however proved why they are defending champions, responding with a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period on the Sunday. Alivia Del Basso scored first, before the two teams began exchanging goals. Carly Rolph buried an insurance marker at the beginning of the second giving her team a 4-2 buffer. Sirens Amelia Matheson led her side by example less than a minute later. The Sirens went onto score two more unanswered goals and lead the second period 5-4. Del Basso was active again assisting Nicola Jones to tie the scores at the start of the third period. Sharna Godfrey showed why she is the league leader in goals (20) and points (36) this season as she collected yet another hat-trick (her third of the season) to put the Sirens back in front. Melbourne put on the pressure and the Sirens couldn’t hold the lead with Shona Powell tying it up with five remaining. Rylie Padjen sealed the deal for the Ice with two minutes winning back some momentum heading into the finals weekend.
Semi Final #2 will feature Adelaide Adrenaline (3rd) vs Brisbane Goannas (4th). Adelaide may have won both games last weekend in convincing fashion but don’t rule out the determined Goannas. The Goannas led the Adrenaline 2-1 in Saturdays game with Rosanna Routledge and Georgia Giblin combining on both Goannas goals. But Adelaide responded with a duo of their own in Kirsty Venus and Beth Kavanagh tieing things up in the second before scoring another three unanswered goals to put the game out of reach at 5-2. Dianna Glass popped home the final goal to make it 6-2.
On Sunday Beth Kavanagh with the help of her team mates notched a hat-trick in a solid 3-0 performance. The hat-trick wasn’t enough to catch Sharna Godfrey in the points race coming a close second with 29 points. Adelaide will be keen to take this momentum into next Saturday against the Goannas. The Goannas will be looking for an upset which they are capable in providing. Both teams featuring dangerous players meaning no team is safe this weekend and we should be in for a great finals series!
Check the AWIHL, IHA or teams facebook pages for livestream information and score updates!
The National Junior Team have finished off a difficult tournament with an 8-2 win over China to stay in the Division. Ellese Carini got his team firing two minutes into the game with his first goal of the tournament. Lynden Lodge scored just moments later on the power play to put China on the back foot early.
The Australians were handed a couple more power plays by China and didn’t waste any time taking advantage as Casey Kubara and Sam Hodic teamed up to extent the lead by three. China pulled their goaltender as the scrappy play continued, both teams combining for 11 penalites during the first period.
China regained composure scoring twice in the second. Lynden Lodge also managed another goal to keep his team ahead 4-2 going into the third.
But that’s as close as China would get with Australia dominating the third period with four unanswered goals thanks to Kubara, McGuiness, Hodic and Boyle. Boyle not only finishing the tournament with a goal but MVP honours for Team Australia for the tournament. Goalie Alex Tetreault walked away as Australia’s MVP of the game.
Whilst the overall result (5th) in the standings was a step back on last year’s bronze medal effort, the younger line up have given themselves the opportunity to compete in the division again next year and build on this year’s experience.
Game by Game results below:
AUS VS ROMANIA = 0-8 (loss) Game MVP = Sam Hodic
AUS VS SPAIN = 3-9 (loss) Game MVP = Casey Kubara
AUS V BELGIUM = 0-6 (loss) Game MVP = Lynden Lodge
AUS V SERBIA = 0-10 (loss) Game MVP = Daniel Pataky
AUS V CHINA = 8-2 (win) Game MVP = Alex Tetreault
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The Melbourne Glaciers started the new year where they left off with a 4-0 win over the Melbourne Whalers. Whalers goaltender Fraser Ohlson had a busy night facing 44 shots against a relentless Glaciers outfit. Ohlson turned away 12 shots in a scoreless first period to keep his team in the game, but Glaciers forward Gavin Birchler managed to crack Ohlson 5 minutes into the second period. Glaciers Dman Peter Colosimo notched his second of the season five minutes later before Birchler added his second of the game with a few minutes to spare in the second frame (Birchler now 7 points in 7 games on the season).
The Glaciers didn’t stop there, piling 19 shots in the third period. Ohlson this time only allowing in one to Caleb Butler who keeps his scoring streak alive scoring in every game he has played this season.
Next week the AJIHL is back in full swing with all derbies back in action
The 2016 Youth Team has been announced and it is all about building for the future. After scouting state tournaments, a tryout process and co-ordinating overseas coach Steve Laforet is very excited about his playing group.
“I was looking for players that would be the beginning of a new pathway to our U20 and Men’s team so we have a solid future coming through” explains Laforet who has been working with both Marcus Frankenberger(U/20), Brad Vigon (Men’s Team) and Ryan O’Handley to align the programs.
“If we try and follow the pathways of countries like the US, we can prepare our earmarked players much earlier and control their growth from the ages of 15 and up” adds Laforet.
The team heads off to Bulgaria 14th March for the Division 3 Group A Tournament and take on Turkey, Israel, Mexico, Chinese Taipei and Bulgaria.
Last tournament the Aussies were unfortunately relegated from the Division 2 Group B. They managed to defeat Serbia in a shootout 4-3 midway through the tournament but couldn’t build off that momentum in a competitive tight group.
Laforet is focused on results but puts more emphasis on development as he re-enters coaching at an international level after his stint with the National Junior Team a few years back. “I believe that development is much more important than winning here. With NJT, it was extremely important to stay in Div II. Here I think the overall goal for the U18 program is to get a solid platform and move up when we are strong and deep with players.”
Australia starts the tournament by taking on the host nation which always a tough test. The Youth Teams goal going into the tournament is to be strong defensively. “We want to strengthen our defensive zone coverage and stop teams scoring. We then need to capitalize on other team’s mistakes and focus on staying penalty free”. If the top seed can follow the game plan they are surely a chance of getting back up to Division 2 for redemption.
See the 2016 Youth Team below. You can follow them at the http://www.iihf.com/competition/551/statistics.html as well as the IHA Facebook page during the tournament.