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Northstars send a message to AIHL rivals

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The Newcastle Northstars sent a strong message to its Australian Ice Hockey League rivals, thanks to a comprehensive 11-2 triumph over the Adelaide Adrenaline.

With a vocal home crowd cheering them on at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium at the weekend, it was a vital win – and three competition points – for the hosts at the half-way mark of 2023.

Newcastle started in sizzling fashion, with Riley Klugerman, Wehebe Darge, Daniel Berno and Francis Drolet scoring in the first period to lead 4-0.

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Daniel Berno also put his name on the Newcastle Northstars’ scorer’s list. Photo: Jamison O’Malley

Tyler Leeming dragged one back for the visitors to trail 4-1.

However, Zane Jones, Josh Adkins and another to Berno extended the Northstars’ advantage to 7-1 at the break.

Doubles to Klugerman, Drolet and Adkins pushed Newcastle ahead 10-1 before Brett Radford narrowed the gap to 10-2.

Jones wrapped up the 11-2 romp when he also landed his second of the evening.

Northstars head coach Kevin Noble admitted it was a good night.

“What I liked about our game is that we were diligent in our approach to defence and keeping the puck out of our end,” he said.

“I thought we did that really well.

“We played more towards that 60-minute style game.

“But, now, as we enter the second half of the year, we need to be really diligent and dial into our attention to detail in terms of our neutral and defensive zones.

“As well, getting into offensive opportunities are what will help make us successful and win.

“Every game starts to mean more and, as we progress towards the business end of the season, these are the areas that we need to be at our best.”

Newcastle is preparing to face a tough double-header at Warners Bay.

The Northstars meet the Sydney Ice Dogs on Saturday 1 July from 5pm and back up against the Melbourne Ice on Sunday 2 July at 3pm.

“Looking ahead to this weekend, both teams are in the mix trying to fight for a play-off spot,” Noble said.

“Each side has guys who are dangerous and threatening.

“We haven’t seen the Ice Dogs yet this year.

“However, we have some unfinished business with the Melbourne Ice.

“So, we’ve got to be ready for both but we will focus on Sydney first… and go from there.”

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