The depth of quality locals in the 2013 North Stars has given coach Doré the ability to mix his lines. He’s had the benefit of Beau Taylor’s hard work on the boards, as well as shoot-first aggressiveness on his first line with Jeff Martens and Pier Cotnoir.
Having the Australian on the first line has given his second line the extra punch of having Dominic Osman teamed up with Adam Geric and David Upton, a combination as good as any other second line in the AIHL.
These lines have remained intact throughout the season.
However, in July, the North Stars have lost their consistency. They have been winning more than than they lose, but they have dropped to a worrying 1.6PPG average in the past four weekends, far below the average that was closer to 2.5PPG in June.
The Melbourne Mustangs may have done the North Stars a favour last weekend when they beat them 2-1, scoring in the final 30 seconds of the Saturday game.
The loss was in spite of pummelling the Mustangs goal, outshooting them by more than four times in the third period, 17 versus 4 shots.
The last of those 4 shots by the Mustangs was the game winner.
Obviously, something had to change, and the obvious choice was to stack the lines.
Sunday’s North Stars were a much better team. Ironically, goalie Olivier Martin probably had his better game on Saturday, but with Dominic Osman back on the first line with Martens and Cotnoir, the goals came early and quickly.
The North Stars PP was unchanged from the previous night, but it was deadly – the first 5 shots yielded 5 goals. Osman, on his return to the top line as well as power play duties on the point, logged four goals and two assists for a massive 6 point night.
The lead allowed Coach Doré the opportunity to play out his lines and backup goalie, thus the GAA was greater than the usual North Stars effort.
As a bonus, Adam Geric and Matt Wetini also put themselves on the scorers’ entry sheet with points from the Newcastle talent pool.
The Ice Dogs game will be a big test for this tactic though, as the Dogs are capable of scoring from all three of their lines. The Ice Dogs are in Warners Bay on Saturday night.