Canberra Brave beat Sydney Bears 4-2 in Australian Ice Hockey League opener

The Canberra Brave twice came from a goal down to get their Australian Ice Hockey League campaign off to the perfect start, beating the Sydney Bears 4-2 on Saturday night.

The Brave gave their raucous fans among the capacity crowd at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre plenty to cheer about with a tremendous fightback in the third period.

Goals to James Byers and Canadian debutant Kelly Geoffrey in the final 20 minutes ensured the Brave continued on the momentum from last year's fairytale debut season.

The Brave have unfinished business after last year becoming the first Canberra team to reach the AIHL play-offs before bowing out to the Melbourne Ice 6-1 in the semi-finals.

Geoffrey is one of several new additions to the squad, the 25-year-old having a major impact in his return to the ice after a broken cheekbone in 2012.

He scored the final goal of the game and also collected an assist.


"The pace of the game was really good and the fans are unbelievable," Geoffrey said.

"It was a great experience and I don't think I've seen such great fans. The atmosphere here was a little overwhelming at first, but I settled in and got going.

"The win is great and I can't wait to keep going."

The Brave got off to a slow start when they conceded the opening goal before getting back on level terms at the end of the first period.

The Bears responded to retake the lead in the second period before captain Mark Rummukainen gave the assist for Pete Taylor to put the puck in the net.

Byers put the Brave's nose in front for the first time early in the third before Geoffrey sealed the result with a clinical finish.

Goalkeeper Josh Unice, who was a draft pick in the National Hockey League, showed he will be a solid addition with several great saves.

The Brave have little time to celebrate, having to back up less than 24 hours later on the road against the Newcastle North Stars on Sunday.

"Good teams keep the winning streak going, so we just can't be satisfied with this win," Geoffrey said.

"We're going to enjoy the win tonight, but we'll prepare and get back at it tomorrow."

AIHL: Canberra Brave 4 bt Sydney Bears 2 at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre on Saturday night.

Sunday: Canberra Brave v Newcastle North Stars in Newcastle, 5pm.