Blue Tongues Two Games from History: AIHL Playoff Berth

Sam HansenContributor IJuly 30, 2009

The Gold Coast Blue Tongues stand on the edge of the most historical event, in its six-year franchise history, in the Australian Ice Hockey League.

This weekend, August 1 and 2, the Gold Coast Blue Tongues take on the Canberra Knights at Bundall on the Gold Coast. Getting six points from a back-to-back victory will be a huge boost for the Blue Tongues, but not so huge as the implication it will have heading forward.

If the Tongues can pull off a double this weekend, they mathematically eliminate the Sydney Ice Dogs from playoff contention, and in the process secure their first ever AIHL playoff berth.

This year's 11-6-3 record has been a major improvement for the Blue Tongues, who finished 2008 with a dismal 8-17-3 record, getting just 27 points and finishing seventh in last year's eight-team league.

A major part of the team's success this season has been the outstanding play of import forward, Brad Smulders. Smulders, a native of Canada, leads both the team and the league in goals (30), assists (35), and points (65).

This year has seen some major improvements both on and off the ice. Disciplined play, successful special teams, and an increase in crowd numbers have all been a huge bonus to the team's success.

2009 also happens to be the debut season of Ross Howell as team captain. Rosco, as he's affectionately known, is one of Australia's top defenseman and has played this season as both defense and forward, where his outstanding two-way play has been paramount to the team's winning record.

With just four games remaining in the AIHL season, all of them at home, the Blue Tongues have plenty of reasons to feel confident.