In Australia, the AIHL final was held this weekend with the Melbourne Ice winning the championship for the third consecutive season. The Ice took out the Newcastle North Stars in the one-game showdown, 4-3. An Ontario Hockey League grad figured prominently at both ends of the ice.
Matt Armstong has been with Melbourne for the past three years, choosing to make the southern hemisphere is permanent hockey home. Armstrong played four years in the OHL from 1999-00 to 2002-03. Matt bounced around the league, playing for the Kitchener Rangers, Peterborough Petes, Plymouth Whalers and Barrie Colts. In all, he played in 204 regular season OHL games, contributing 97 points.
After two years with Concordia University, Matt played in the IHL and SPHL before heading to Europe to play in Germany and the Netherlands. In 2006-07, he led Den Haag with 35 goals and 37 assists for 72 points while playing all 40 regular season games. Den Haag finished last in the six team league. Armstrong finished tied for fourth in goals, eighth in assists and fifth in points in the Dutch league.
Over his three years with Melbourne, Matt has totalled 148 points in 75 regular season games. This season, he finished third in the AIHL with 51 points while playing all 24 regular season games. The league leader was just seven points ahead.
Rob Lawrance played his first year in the AIHL with the Newcastle North Stars. He played for HYC Herentals in the Netherlands in his first pro season after three years with St. Francis Xavier in the CIS.
Lawrance played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2002-03 to 2005-06, all with the Ottawa 67’s. The defenseman played 171 regular season OHL games and totalled 34 points.
With Newcastle, Rob totalled 33 points while playing all 24 regular season games. Although denied a championship, Lawrance was selected the league’s top defenseman for the year. He was the top point producing blue-liner and finished seventeenth overall.
This latest victory is Melbourne’s third Goodall Cup victory. The Goodall Cup has been around since 1909. Up until recently, it was competed for by state teams. Since 2002, it has been awarded to the playoff champion of the AIHL.
Want to check out the Australian game? Check out some recorded live games from the AIHL over the 2012 season. It might be welcome entertainment with no NHL this season!