North Stars claim Wilson Cup despite Bears comeback
Sunday, April 19, 2015 - Submitted by Courtney Laura
The Newcastle North Stars have held on to claim their first Wilson Cup, defeating a gallant Sydney Bears outfit 4-3 at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Saturday night.
The North Stars kicked off the scoring just over 90 seconds into the game when Matt Wetini’s one-timer hit the back of the net.
Both sides weren’t afraid to throw the body around but the North Stars dominated possession, bombarding Bears starting goalie Luke Read with 16 shots for the period.
The North Stars fans could smell blood but a disallowed goal midway through the period dampened the home crowd’s spirits until new recruit Shane Southwood add the North Stars second goal of the game.
With a 2-0 lead, the North Stars kept applying the pressure offensively and defensively as the Bears stepped up their attack without success.
The North Stars took advantage of this although it took a moment of brilliance to open the scoring in the second.
After successfully maneuvering through the Bears defensive line, Mat Lindsay was on his way to scoring.
As Lindsay fell, one last swipe at the puck saw it hit the keeper, deflect off the crossbar and into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead to the North Stars.
As tempers flared, the Bears became desperate to get points on the board, applying pressure until defenceman Paul Bond claimed the Sydney-sider’s first goal and gave them a sniff.
However, a Brian Bales goal late in the period meant there was still a three-goal deficit for the Bears.
The Bears came out firing in the third, desperate to get back in the hunt.
It took half the period before Bears rookie Tyerell Clare thundered a slap shot into the goals off a North Stars player to reduce the scoreline to 4-2.
Despite the constant pressure, North Stars goalkeeper Dayne Davis held strong, until with six seconds remaining, Michael Sclamp scored a consolation goal as the North Stars claimed their first Wilson Cup.
North Stars coach Andrew Petrie said that it was a good hit out to prepare his charges for the season ahead.
“It was a quality game of hockey for this stage of the season,” Petrie said. “All the goals from both teams were quality goals.”
“We wanted to use it as a proving ground to see if all the things we have been working on over the last two-and-a-half months are paying off.”
“The game wasn’t a total loss,” Bears assistant coach Ron Kuprowsky said. “We got to see how our systems and young guys work together, so I’m not disappointed with our effort tonight.”
Veteran Bears forward Adrian Esposito shared Kuprowsky’s sentiments.
“The younger guys are quite disciplined, we train two nights a week and they want to play for our team,” Esposito said.
In claiming the club’s first Wilson Cup win a week before the beginning of the AIHL season, the North Stars are looking like a team to watch out in the upcoming new season when the remainder of their imports and international representatives return.
The North Stars kick of their 2015 AIHL season on Saturday night (April 25) at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium. The puck drops at 5pm.
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