AIHL: Canberra Brave coach Josh Unice says 'nobody wants to play us in the finals'
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AIHL: Canberra Brave coach Josh Unice says 'nobody wants to play us in the finals'

Canberra Brave established itself as an Australian Ice Hockey League championship contender with a thrilling 4-3 upset win over the ladder-leading Melbourne Ice at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre on Sunday night.

It comes after a remarkable comeback fell just short on Saturday night against the Ice.

Two referees break up a fight between Brave's Jordan Gavin and Ice's Lliam Webster.

Two referees break up a fight between Brave's Jordan Gavin and Ice's Lliam Webster.Credit:Rohan Thomson

Canberra went down 10-9 after trailing 7-2 in the second period, and Brave coach Josh Unice believed his team had sent a message to the rest of the competition.

"I think we showed everybody that nobody wants to be playing us, the CBR Brave, come semi-final time," Unice said.

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"After this weekend, I don't think [Melbourne Ice] want to play us in the semi-finals. I think we proved ourselves. We're a very scary opponent. I think any team that goes up against us is in for an eye-opener.

"With all of our imports and full team list and at the same time not having to play short-handed due to a referee's decision, I like our chances."

Tempers flared over the weekend with a number of players becoming familiar with the penalty box, but an unperturbed Unice said: "That's hockey."

Playing with only two of four imports, the Brave battled hard to steal a win from the competition frontrunners in their final home game of the season.

"We just wanted it more than them, that's what it came down to. We just wanted it more than them," Unice said.

"The fans have been amazing in their support all year – we have the best fans in the league, there's no doubt about that. To be able to come out and give them what we did at the end of the year was really good."

The Brave have three away games remaining before the semi-finals on August 27 in Melbourne.

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AUSTRALIAN ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE

CANBERRA BRAVE 4 (Geordie Wudrick 2, Neal Prokop, Matti Luoma goals) bt MELBOURNE ICE 3.