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Northstars primed for an n-ice time at home

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The Newcastle Northstars is determined to continue its winning ways in the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) at home this weekend.

After consecutive victories over the Central Coast Rhinos (13-3 and 8-4), as well as the Perth Thunder (4-2) in recent matches, the local boys face the Brisbane Lightning at Warners Bay on Saturday (5pm) and again on Sunday 28 May (3pm).

And, coach Kevin Noble wants to witness a repeat of those previous performances in front of the local fans at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium.

“It’s a big weekend for us, for sure,” he said.

“Brisbane is gritty… and they know how to compete.

“We’re aware they will bring two competitive and solid hockey games.

“We’ll have a lot on our hands, so we’ll need to turn our mind to being ready for that series.”

Although happy with the Northstars current form, Noble admitted the players also took a few things out of their last outing, which they need to rectify.

“I think we can clean up our D zone,” he said.

“We must be a bit more clinical on our finishing around the net, too.

“If we can work on our detail in our neutral zone structure and forecheck to anticipate more plays and opportunities, it will hold us in good stead moving forward.”

One highlight from the triumph over the Rhinos was debutant Tanner Butler, who put his name on the scorer’s list as well.

“Launching into my first game with a new team with a goal felt good,” he said.

“The Aussies have all made me feel so welcome, which made it easier to step on the ice.

“The home crowd was simply unbelievable.

“I came in thinking Australia was not a big hockey country.

“But, the fans in Newcastle are remarkable.”

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