Monday, August 17, 2015 - Submitted by Courtney Laura
The CBR Brave have held on to defeat the Newcastle North Stars 6-5 in a shootout at the Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre on Saturday night.
The win sees the Brave move to the cusp of making the 2015 Finals while the Newcastle North Stars claimed the minor premiership with the extra point and results going their way.
The home barn for Canberra may be small but the atmosphere was massive with the teams shaping up to meet in the semi-finals.
The Brave were inspired by a Kelly Geoffrey’s fourth hat-trick of the season and second in a row, and a four point night for Stephen Blunden.
Moving quickly into the offensive position the North Stars showed a lot of fire and dominated the early minutes of period one without success.
The crowd made their presence known and helped lift their team, scoring the first two goals through Matt Harvey and Geoffrey.
North Stars young-gun Hayden Sheard arrived with the North Stars’ response, flying through to land an unassisted goal but the Brave restored their two-goal lead at the end of the period with a goal to Blunden for the home side to lead 3-1 at the break.
The North Stars entered the second period with renewed vigour with import and point-scoring leader Geordie Wudrick closed the gap once again finding the back of the net off a pass from fellow import Jan Safar.
With one goal between them, both teams were striving hard for the win.
It was the Brave who scored next, pulling ahead again with another Geoffrey goal.
However, you don’t become minor premiers by lying down and the import pair of Scott Swiston and Wudrick - who scored shorthanded – levelled the scores at four.
With a minute left in the second, Geoffrey claimed his hat-trick, giving the Brave the lead at the final break.
When the North Stars scored the only goal of the third period through a Brian Bales shorthanded goal, the high-quality game was headed for a shootout.
The shootout was just as close and tense as the game, with the first three rounds going scoreless.
While Robert Malloy and Matt Harvey both scored, round five was decisive with Jordan Gavin helping the Brave to the win over the North Stars.
CBR Brave head coach Josh Unice was overall very happy with the result, especially against the North Stars.
“We sacrificed for each other, and everybody knew that we are fighting for our lives tonight,” Unice said. “Obviously Newcastle is in first place for a reason; they’re a great team. We needed to have our best tonight.”
North Stars head coach Andrew Petrie kept it simple.
“I feel overall fairly positive about how they played,” Petrie said. “We will draw a line through this game and move on to tomorrow (against the Sydney Bears at home Sunday night).”
In the final week of the regular season, both teams play the Ice Dogs, with the Brave in Canberra on Saturday and the North Stars in Newcastle on Sunday.