Sunday, October 17, 2010

Can't slow, that Mustang down

The Melbourne Mustangs have finished off 2010 in style, with a comprehensive 6-3 victory over the Newcastle North Stars at the Icehouse.
With the Mustangs looking to showcase their skills to the wider hockey audience, they quickly went to the lead early in the first period, from a well taken short handed goal. It was very much a dominating performance from the Melbourne side for the first two periods, with plenty of shots on goal & a well drilled defensive display.

Defenders Troy Robertson & Ryan Bennet were the corner stone for the Mustangs, sitting back on the blue line controlling things for the Mustangs as they searched for goals. In goal, Fraser Carson was simply outstanding. Finishing the first two periods with zero goals against, it was looking as though a shutout was on the cards for the 16 year old. His glove handling ability & awareness of whats around him, was a real feature for the home side.

With the game in control heading into the final period of play & being up 5-0, the Mustangs seemed to be cruising to a well deserved victory. But as they had all game, Newcastle threaten to steal the show as they pegged back the lead to bring the game within two goals. The quality of imports Blair Tassone & Brian Bales for the North Stars, lifted the tempo & produced some quality hockey. It was a very physical third period, as both clubs enforced there physical presence on the game. Things were starting to heat up as the North Stars piled on the pressure, Melbourne captain Shane Hardy & Newcastle import Blair Tassone, were really pushing the limits, as both sort to inflict some heavy hits on each other.

But as they had all game, the Mustangs seemed to have an answer for anything the North Stars put in front of them. Pushing another goal past Newcastle goalie Joshua Broekman, to seal the victory 6-3 & send the home fans away happy.

Scott Corbett was the stand out player for the Mustangs, his quality on the puck & ability to score were crucial in setting up the win for Melbourne. He really showed the presence of what an import player should, but also having the supporting crew around him. Young player Andrew Belic & captain Shane Hardy were just a few of the Mustangs players providing enough cover for Corbett to shine, it was very much a team winning performance which stamped their claim for a spot in next seasons AIHL competition.

With 2010 now drawn to a close, the club will now be waiting anxiously on a verdict for the 2011 season. The club has done itself no harm with recent results against quality opposition from the AIHL, with the club able to back up for another win following the successful away result against Adelaide.

There is definitely support out in the Melbourne community for the Mustangs, with a healthy but not packed Icehouse, cheering on the the black & orange side of Melbourne.

As we all now wait for a decision to be made on the future of the Mustangs in the national competition, one can only dream of what a Melbourne derby would be like, once the 2011 AIHL season begins...

By Andrew Macdougall

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