|Home Arena:||Olympic Ice Skating Centre|
|Colors:||Blue, red and white|
|Head Coach:||Paul Watson|
|General Manager:||Ian Webster|
The Melbourne Ice are a semi-professional ice hockey team in the Australian Ice Hockey League. The team plays its home games at the Olympic Ice Skating Centre (OISC) in Oakleigh South, a suburb of Monash which in turn is part of the Melbourne metropolitan area, but is set to move to the newly constructed Icehouse in Docklands for the 2010 season.
The Ice first entered the league for the 2002 season, and during their first two seasons they split their home games between Oakleigh South and Bendigo. From 2004 onwards, all home games were played at the OISC, noted for being the smallest rink in the league, with its width about two-thirds that of a regulation Olympic-sized rink. Furthermore, loose netting replaces the high transparent boards associated with top-level hockey, and the puck is prone to leaving play with annoying frequency.
Melbourne did not reach the playoffs in its first four seasons in the AIHL. Its first two seasons were coloured by several crushing defeats; its second season combined a strong, low scoring home record with a poor away record, again containing many big losses. However, in 2005, the Ice were competitive almost every week, both home and away, finishing 5 points out of the playoffs, and left rueing several third period fade-outs.
Attendances for Ice games have increased markedly over the past seasons, with the small crowd area often packed to capacity towards the end of the 2005 season. Away teams from the north will almost always play Melbourne and the Adelaide Avalanche on consecutive days during a weekend-long road trip to the south; however, the Ice play more double-points games than most teams due to these travel hassles for others.
Melbourne's strongest rivalty exists with the Adelaide Avalanche, on the basis of southern location. The Ice are also one of many teams who have somewhat of a rivalry with the Newcastle North Stars, who along with Melbourne also entered the AIHL in 2002, and who ultimately defeated the Ice in its first playoff game in 2006. Fans have become accustomed to entertaining, high quality (and often high scoring) games when these teams meet.
The season got off to a shaky start when the Ice lost its first three games, all at home, including both legs of its traditional double-header against the Adelaide Avalanche. Their form recovered, and they won the next six games, including three double-points games, to move to the top of the ladder, a position from which they continued to build. On 5 August 2006, the Ice mathematically clinched the franchise's first minor premiership and guaranteed themselves a spot in the 2006 playoffs with a 5-3 win over Central Coast.
On 2 September 2006, they played their first ever playoff game against the fourth-placed Newcastle North Stars in Adelaide. Despite having swept the North Stars during the regular season, the Ice were exposed on the larger Adelaide rink and lost the game 6-1. The following night, after the final, president Josh Puls and captain Brad Vigon were presented with the V.I.P. Cup, rewarding the Ice's minor premiership.
The 2007 season again began with the traditional double-header against Adelaide, and home games against the Rhinos and Knights in the following weeks, yielding four consecutive regulation wins (6-1, 5-4, 5-3, 4-1). The following month featured four road games: a 3-4 a shoot-out loss and a 2-1 victory, against Adelaide; a 3-0 victory against the Knights in Canberra for double points, and; a 2-3 loss, the team's first in regulation, to the Bears in Penrith. The team then returned to Oakleigh for a string of three home games, with a 5-1 win over the Knights, and 5-4 and 4-3 shoot-out wins over the Bears and Northstars (the first and second in club history). The following weekend, a high-scoring road trip to Brisbane saw a 7-3 win and a 5-8 loss to the Blue Tongues. Returning to Oakleigh the following weekend, Melbourne beat the Western Sydney Ice Dogs 6-4. The ensuing road trip saw a 6-3 victory over the Rhinos for double points, and a disappointing 0-3 loss to the Bears. Back at Oakleigh, the Ice were underwhelming in a 3-2 win over the Rhinos, and were soundly beaten 3-6 by the Bears once again. After a week off, the Ice returned with a dominant 8-2 home win against the Ice Dogs. The following weekend a road trip saw a 5-4 shootout win against the Northstars for double points, clinching a playoffs berth for the Ice, and a 4-3 shootout loss against the Ice Dogs, again for double points. The Ice were disappointing in their final two games, home losses against Newcastle (0-1) and Brisbane (2-4), giving them poor momentum heading into the finals. After results failed to fall their way in the final weekend, during which they were idle, the Ice lost the V.I.P. Cup to the Adelaide Avalanche. Drawn to face third placed Newcastle in another semi-final, the Ice were again unable to reach the final game, losing 3-6.
Forward Tommy Powell was awarded the inaugural AIHL MVP award. Powell was forced to be the Ice's offensive focal point during the first half of the season after Lliam Webster sustained a jaw injury in the first game, and he did so with great success. Stu Denman narrowly defeated Bears' goaltender Pekka Kankaanranta to claim the best G.A.A. in the league of 2.87. Five Ice players (Tommy Powell, Lliam Webster, Brad Vigon, Joseph Hughes and Stu Denman) were selected in the Australian squad of 22.
- Leading scorers
Melbourne, and goaltender Stu Denman, opened the 2008 season with two shut-outs: a clinical 2-0 win against the Canberra Knights at home, and a 3-0 road win in the first of the back-to-back games against the Adelaide Avalanche, the other game yielding a 6-5 shooutout win. They then lit up the scoreboard with a 7-2 win over Newcastle at home, and again the following weekend with a 6-1 win over Canberra on the road for double points. A home-and-home series over two weekends against the Bears yielded the first two losses for the season: 1-3 in Penrith for double points, and 3-4 at home. The following day, they defeated the Central Coast Rhinos 6-4 at home. In the two weeks that followed, they lost 2-3 in a shootout against the Knights, then beat the Western Sydney Ice Dogs 4-2, both at home. A disastrous road trip following the departure of long-term defensemen Vinnie Hughes and Steve Laforet saw the Ice lose a double-points game 3-8 to the Northstars and a single-points game to the Ice Dogs 4-5. They recovered two weeks later at home in the double-header weekend against the newly founded Adelaide A's winning 8-4 on Saturday and 4-0 on Sunday, for Denman's third shut-out of the year, then continued the following weekend with a 5-2 win over Newcastle and a 6-3 penalty-filled win over Gold Coast. Still at home the following weekend, the Ice fought out an 8-7 victory against the league-leading Bears. The Ice clinched a place in the finals the following week, scoring a goal with 9.2sec remaining to beat the Central Coast Rhinos in a road double points game by the score of 3-2, however they were thumped by the Western Sydney Ice Dogs 2-8 the following day. Two weeks later, the Ice Dogs beat the Ice 1-3 in Oakleigh. The following week, a double-header in the Gold Coast saw a 4-6 loss and a 9-1 win against the Blue Tongues. In their final game of the regular season, the Ice beat the Central Coast Rhinos 8-1 at home.
The Ice finished third behind Western Sydney on countback after finishing equal on points, and were drawn to play them in the semi-final in Newcastle. In a very tight game with excellent goaltending on both sides, the Ice and Ice Dogs finished regulation time tied at 1-1, both teams scoring goals in the first period; eventually, the Ice Dogs prevailed with a goal 30sec into overtime, consigning the Ice to a 1-2 loss. Lliam Webster was awarded with the league MVP award for 2008.
- Leading scorers
- V.I.P. Cup: 2006
1. Stu Denman: Starting goaltender, Australian representative
2. Lliam WebsterForward. Alternate Captain.Australian representative
3. Lee McLauchlan: Forward
4. Igor Skenderija: Defense, Import (Sweden)
5. Dylan Moore: Defense
7. Mark Howell: Backup goaltender
9. Jamie Bourke: Forward
10. Shane Hardy: Forward
11. Peter Matus: Defense, Former Australian representative
12. Thomas Powell: Forward, Australian representative
13. Thomas Zoeschg: Forward, Import (Italy)
14. Todd Graham: Defense
15. Sean Jones: Forward
17. Greg Sturrock: Forward,
18. Glen Mayer: Forward, Alternate Captain,
19. Doug "Bubba" Ferguson: Defense, Captain, Import (Canada)
20. Kyle Teague: Forward, Import (Canada)
21. Michael Beaton: Forward
22. Ryan Tremblay: Forward, Import (Canada)
24. Alain Giauque: Goaltender
24. Dahlen Phillips: Goaltender
25. Andrew Taylor: Forward
Paul Watson: Head Coach
Roy Sargent: Assistant Coach
Rob Knesaurek: Assistant Coach
Joshua Puls: President
Ian Webster: Vice President/Team Manager
Mark Weber: Founding President/Inaugural Life Member
Radio and mediaEdit
In an Australian first, Melbourne Ice home matches are broadcast live on Melbourne radio station DOUBLE X 1611 AM, and its internet site www.radio1611.com.au
Away games are covered on radio through Match Reports, presented after conclusion of the away fixtures.
- Melbourne Ice Official Website
- Australian Ice Hockey League
- Dons Ice Hockey
- Ice Hockey Australia
- Olympic Ice Arena Website
- DOUBLE X RADIO 1611 AM
|Australian Ice Hockey League|
|Teams||Adelaide Adrenaline · Canberra Knights · Gold Coast Blue Tongues · Melbourne Ice · Mustangs IHC · Newcastle North Stars · Perth Thunder · Sydney Bears · Sydney Ice Dogs|
|Former teams||Adelaide Avalanche · Central Coast Rhinos|
|Other||Goodall Cup · V.I.P. Cup · Wilson Cup · List of AIHL seasons|
|Related articles: IIHF · Ice Hockey Australia · Australia national ice hockey team · East Coast Super League|
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Melbourne Ice. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).|