‘Anything can happen in the finals’ is a popular saying when it comes to the Australian Ice Hockey League playoffs.
It rang true at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Saturday night.
The two favourites to win their semi-finals, CBR Brave and Newcastle Northstars, were defeated as the Sydney Bears and Perth Thunder made it through to Sunday’s AIHL grand final.
“The quality of the league is such this year that where you finish on the ladder doesn’t reflect how well you will do in the finals,” Northstars general manager Garry Dore said.
After a record-breaking season, defending champions and league leaders CBR Brave were outgunned in the final period, with the Bears going on to win 6-4.
In the second semi-final, the Northstars took an early lead, only for Perth to stun the home crowd with three unanswered goals
A second goal from Newcastle’s Richie Tesarik set up a nervy finish for the Thunder, however, the clock ran out before the Northstars could put the puck in the net.
On Sunday, Perth stormed to a 2-0 lead, but the Bears levelled it up at 2-all at the end of the first period.
Another three unanswered goals then saw the Sydney outfit claim the coveted Goodall Cup for the third time.