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Win for CBR Brave even in 2-0 ice hockey defeat by Newcastle

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The scoreboard may have said otherwise, but the Canberra Brave won just by taking to the ice against Newcastle on Saturday night. 

A capacity crowd of about 1000 packed their Phillip base to watch the 2-0 loss, just weeks after Canberra fought off extinction from the Australian Ice Hockey League. 

It was the first match in the reincarnation of what used to be the Canberra Knights, after fans pledged more than $27,000 to revive the franchise when the owners handed in their licence five weeks ago. 

CBR Brave player Christopher McPhail tries to block North Stars player Matt Lindsay. Click for more photos

CBR Brave vs Newcastle

Australian Ice Hockey League: CBR Brave take on Newcastle North Stars at Phillip Ice Skating Centre. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberra's new uniforms only arrived 80 minutes before the game started, highlighting the achievement of the Brave being formed in time for season start in the first place.

Stand-in captain Aaron Clayworth said there was a celebratory atmosphere in the arena from a crowd who dug into their own pockets to keep the team afloat. 

"The fans were electric out there,'' he said. 

"It was definitely fun to play in front of a crowd like that, it was good to feed off their energy and transfer it onto the ice.

"We're more of a community-based team now, we've got stronger ties with the ACT association and we'll have more interaction with the fans, on and off the ice.''

The visitors' win continued a memborable day for Newcastle teams in Canberra, after the Knights accounted for the Raiders 26-12 across town. 

Newcastle took the lead in the opening third through a goal to Jaysen Chalker and another goal with 17 minutes remaining proved enough to seal victory. 

Clayworth said the display against last year's grand finalists was encouraging after limited preparation. 

 The hosts were also missing two imports and Australian representatives Mark Rummukainen and James Byres, who are at the Division IIA World Championships in Serbia.  

"It was always going to be a tough ask to win. Newcastle had a virtual full strength team and we've still got five players to come in,'' Clayworth said. 

"They had three exhibition games under their belt and we've only been operating a few weeks. It was our first game as a team. 

"We're looking forard to getting our full roster and coming back in two weeks.''

Clayworth nominated young Canadian imports Corey Wilkie and Derek Walker as best for the Brave, saying they'd added a hard-nosed edge to the line-up. 

The Brave have the bye next weekend, before hosting defending champions Sydney Ice Dogs on April 26. 

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