As the Australian Ice Hockey League moved into week six of the 2012 season, the Proski Newcastle North Stars enjoyed their first break since its start in April.
Due to the way the games were scheduled when the AIHL adopted the conference system, the North Stars will not play again until July 17.
The conference system sees each of the nine AIHL teams play 24 games – 12 home and 12 away.
So far the North Stars have played three home and six away games, without making any trips to Perth, Melbourne or Adelaide.
The North Stars sit first in the Bauer Conference with 18 points, ahead of the Sydney Ice Dogs on 15 and the Sydney Bears and Canberra Knights both with nine points.
In the overall standings, the North Stars are third behind the Melbourne Ice on 22 and Adelaide Adrenaline on 20 points.
The season so far has seen the North Stars win six games and lose three from nine played.
The first two weekends in the season the North Stars faced the Gold Coast Blue Tongues and the Ice Dogs, both at home and away.
From four games played against these teams in their first two weekends, they won only one, their first against the Blue Tongues on April 28, narrowly taking out the game, 4-3.
After a few initial disappointments, the North Stars came back with some solid performances and convincing wins with some big scores.
Against the Bears on May 12, the Bears playing one of two home games at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium, the game ended 8-5.
The following day the Canberra Knights came to visit, not putting much of fight up to the North Stars who took out the game 6-1.
Their last game, on May 26, against the Knights was the first time the North Stars returned to the ACT after their biggest defeat in their 10 year history, when in June last year the North Stars went down in a crushing 14-4 defeat.
Quietly confident in their training and preparation for playing in Canberra’s small rink, the North Stars worked hard and produced a solid 9-5 win against the Knights.
North Stars coach Garry Doré said the team had been playing and practicing well, coming together and continually working on the things that had been letting them down.
The team’s hard work has paid off, especially in the scoring standings with Beau Taylor and imports Brian Bales and Jeremy Boyer leading the League with 27, 26, and 25 points respectively.
“It is outstanding,” said North Stars coach Garry Doré.
“Those players are really working hard and trying to make every opportunity count.
“They are extremely hard workers and deserve the positions on the points ladder.
“The great part of the team is that it is not only those top three that are working hard it is everybody, and they are being challenged by other at practices to make it even more interesting, and results in everybody performing,” he said.
The next game the North Stars will play is their second away game against the Bears at the HISS on July 17.