North Stars hold edge over finals foe

The North Stars celebrate a goal.The Newcastle North Stars will play Perth Thunder, a team who have not beaten them in regulation time this season, in their Australian Ice Hockey League semi-final on Saturday in Melbourne.
Nanjing Night Net

The winners will progress to the grand final on Sunday against minor premiers Melbourne Ice or CBR Brave, who meet in the other one-off semi-final on Saturday.

The North Stars trounced Adelaide Adrenaline 7-0 at Warners Bay on Saturday then lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Melbourne Mustangs at home on Sunday to complete the regular season.

The defending champions have beaten Perth twice in regulation time and once in a shootout this season.

Perth won in a shootout in their most recent meeting in Newcastle on August 6.

“There’s every reason we should feel confident no matter who play, and this weekend we set ourselves a fairly lofty goal of trying to get above 40 shots in each of the games,and we actually ended up with 104 shots across the weekend and 11 goals, so all in all pretty happy,” coach Andrew Petrie said.

Newcastle’s loss on Sunday continued a poor record in shootouts –they have lost five from six –but thesemi-finals have 10 minutes of golden-goal extra time before a shootout and the grand final has no shootout.

“I’m not shy to say that, if we give our best, there’s not anyone can beat us,” Petrie said.“It’ll be about putting it all together on the day. One and done’s a bit of a lottery. I’d much rather have a best-of-three to decide each level of series, but,if we play to our ability, we can beat any team in the league, and we’ve proven that all year.”

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