THE Newcastle North Stars finally broke the home game hoodoo which had been plaguing them this season in front of a sell-out crowd last Saturday.
After four home losses the Stars were desperate for a win at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium. It finally came on June 7, with the side posting a 5-2 win against the Melbourne Mustangs.
"A win at home feels good," Newcastle coach Garry Dore said.
"The boys have been disappointed [at the losses], but it wasn't for a lack of effort. The win wasn't about us, though. It is about everyone - the fans, the sponsors, the city."
While rocky form early in the season is not usual for the Stars, Dore said he was not worried. He said this season was unique because all seven teams in the Australian Ice Hockey League were even.
"This season, anyone can beat anyone on any given day," he said.
"You can't count on your usual teams to be in the finals. Everyone has a shot at it."
The North Stars drew first blood against the Mustangs as Newcastle import Chris Wilson scored with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.
The lead was soon shortened, and surpassed, by Melbourne minutes into the second period, but a gutsy breakaway by North Stars' Rob Starke, import Cody Danberg and Wilson with just 22 seconds remaining saw the game tied at 2-2.
Renewed energy and a desire to win boosted the North Stars in the third period. Danberg broke the stalemate with nine minutes remaining in the game.
The momentum was carried forward and Adam Geric scored just minutes later.
Wilson delivered the final blow, breaking away from the North Stars' end to sail right to the open Mustangs net for a fifth.
The Star has family passes (four tickets) to the June 21 home game against Perth Thunder.
For your chance to win phone 1900 915 331 and leave your name and contact details.
Calls cost 55¢ including GST and winners will be notified by telephone. Entries close Monday, June 16, noon. LTPM/12/00962