The CBR Brave have won the Australian Ice Hockey League Minor Premiership - the H. Newman Reid Trophy - for the third Season in a row.
On Saturday evening the Brave’s closest rivals this season, the Newcastle Northstars, were defeated in overtime by the Melbourne Ice. With games in hand, the loss meant the Northstars could only equal the number of points the Brave have - and this would not be enough to wrest first place on the AIHL standings.
With the AIHL Finals played over a single weekend in Melbourne - from September 2 to 4 - the Northstars have booked a single-game Semi Final against the Brave. The winner goes straight through to the Grand Final on Sunday, and the loser faces a harder road - having to play again on Saturday against the winner of the other Semi Final - between the Sydney Bears and the Melbourne Mustangs.
With teams from Perth and Adelaide pulling out before the season began due to travel concerns, “..this season was a bit of an interesting one,” said Brave Alternate Captain Bayley Kubara. “Less teams and less (overseas) Imports gave some of the local guys who wouldn’t normally see as much ice time a chance to get good minutes, and has definitely allowed for some development within the younger/less experienced players..”
The Brave haven’t had it all their own way this season, either - with two games lost due to cancelled Flights, injuries and the delayed arrival of the team’s second Import. “It’s been tough rarely having our Full Roster, but we were fortunate enough to have a great group who always showed up in moments that counted to help us get wins.”
The Brave have lost only three games this season - two against the Sydney Bears and one against the Newcastle Northstars - but this fact will not cause them any comfort. The last time the Goodall Cup was on the line in 2019, the CBR Brave set points records with their regular-season play but were knocked out of the Finals by the fourth-placed Sydney Bears - who went on to win the championship and thwart the Brave’s bid for back-to-back titles.
“Finishing in first place is nice, but as we learnt last season anything can happen come finals time so we’re not letting it play a big part in our preparation for Melbourne.”
The Brave finished their regular season games with a 9-goals-to-1 win against the Sydney Ice Dogs on August 13. With no games scheduled for the team until Finals weekend, the Team are working hard to be fully prepared.
“Nothing really changes on our end of things,” said Kubara. “We’re still having high energy practices, putting in work off the ice in the gym and spending time together as a team. We’ll be ready to play..”
“We’re all looking forward to putting on a show for the Brave family in Melbourne next week.”