24/02/2018 AWIHL Adelaide Rush vs Sydney Sirens 4-2

Selected photos from the 300+ available from the AWIHL game between the Adelaide Rush and the Sydney Sirens.  Bottom of the table Rush were up against top of the table and 2017-2018 Champions the Sirens.  This would be first of the last 2 home games for the Adelaide Rush as well as their last minor round games.  The Rush hope to put on a good showing for their loyal fans with nothing to lose as some last gasp wins would only put them up against the other powerhouse team, the Melbourne Ice in the semi-finals.  Alternate goaltender Keesha Atkins would be in goals for the Rush, with Paula Keen at the other end of the ice for the Sirens.  The Rush would mix it with the physical and much more experienced Sirens for most of the period.  Both goaltenders would do well but there weren’t a lot of shots on goals such was the tightness of the game with both teams not giving an inch.  Who would blink first?  Late in the period with 5mins to play, it would be the Rush that would score first through one on their star American imports and one of the leading league scorers, Ashley Pelkey, assisted by Kirsty Venus and Natalie Ayris.  It would be the only score in the period and the home crowd would be very pleased with their team’s performance to that stage.  Atkins had faced 7 shots on goal against Keen’s 3 shots.

The Rush were definitely switched on for this one, proving that one the day they could match it with the league’s best.  Less than 2mins into the 2nd period the Sirens would however tie the game with a goal by Stephanie Cochrane, with the assists to Kath McOnie and Sharna Godfrey.  The Rush weren’t intimidated by this and would would return back to the lead a bit over a minute later with Natalie Ayris scoring, with the single assist to Kirsty Venus.  This scoreline would remain such was the Rush’s tenacity against the class Sirens outfit, probably something the Sirens didn’t quite expect.  The Sirens would however tie up the game again with just under 4mins remaining in the period with the goal to Stephanie Cochrane single-handed.  The 2-all score would remain to the end of the period.  The Rush’s attack on the Sirens’ goal had been relentless but they had not been rewarded after 10 shots for 2 goals, whereas the Sirens had 20 shots on goal for their 2 goals.

The 3rd period is often the one where an experienced outfit can eventually climb over the top of plucky outfit that has put in a good showing.  However, this new look and very hungry Rush outfit had other ideas!  40secs into the period Pelkey would find the net after assists from her fellow American import Hannah Wright and Natalie Ayris who had a fine haul of points in this game.  Plenty of time for the Sirens to strike back and put their stamp on the game, but they hadn’t planned on this relentless Rush team who piled on shot after shot on goals only to be thwarted time and time again by Keen the Sirens goaltender.  Still the Rush held the lead as the period started to wind down.  In desperation the Sirens would pull their goalie and with 2 Sirens defenders frantically trying to chase down Ayris heading for the open goal, even throwing a stick in desperation they could only watch as she pocketed her second goal and put the game beyond reach.  Hannah Wright provided the assist to Ayris.  At the final buzzer the Rush girls and home town crowd went wild with a very well rewarded win against the top team.  Rush sent an economical 16 shots at Keen (and the open goal) for 4 goals, against the Sirens 36 shots for 2 goals.