Canberra Brave fall painfully short of first AIHL championship
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Canberra Brave fall painfully short of first AIHL championship

The Canberra Brave suffered a heartbreaking grand final loss to the Newcastle North Stars on Sunday when their Australian Ice Hockey League dreams were crushed in Melbourne.

The North Stars' 2-1 victory denied Canberra a historic win just three years after the club folded, but the Newcastle side won the Goodall Cup for the fourth time.

The Canberra Brave fell agonisingly short of a bid for grand final glory.

The Canberra Brave fell agonisingly short of a bid for grand final glory.Credit:Rohan Thomson

A goal was scored in each period and Newcastle's goal scorers Connor McLaughlin and Josh Harris gave Canberra a lot to do in the final period.

Geordie Wudrick found the back of the net for the Brave just as he did during the regular season and it meant the remaining 17 minutes would be tense.

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The Brave pushed for an equaliser and send the game to overtime but it wasn't to be for the Canberra outfit as they fell agonisingly short.

Finals MVP was awarded to Newcastle's Dayne Davis while Brave youngster Casey Kubara won local player of the year.

Although falling to win the AIHL championship the Brave can be proud after three consecutive play-off appearances and reaching their first grand final.

"It's heartbreaking to get this far and not win it but I'm very proud of their efforts tonight and all season and they can hold their heads high," said Brave coach Dave Regona.

"The team's pulled together all year and I'm just happy to be involved with such a good group."

Kubara, 20, will fly to Philadelphia on Monday after signing with a team in the Eastern Hockey League.

Kubara has been accepted by a couple of NCAA colleges in the US and has a bright future ahead.

"To come so close and not quite cut it is tough but at least we know what it takes," Kubara said. "I'm proud of all the Brave boys and we can come back bigger, better and stronger next year.

"I had a lot of fun, it's been great. A lot of credit to my line-mates and the boys out there, I couldn't have done it without them. I'm just happy to be part of a great organisation."

AIHL GRAND FINAL

Sunday: NEWCASTLE NORTH STARS 2 bt CANBERRA BRAVE 1