Some of the photos from the Adelaide Adrenaline’s first home game of the 2018 AIHL season, against arch rivals the Sydney Ice Dogs. The Adrenaline sported a very different lineup form last year with many big names missing from the 2018 roster, including Greg Oddy, Dave Huxley (2017 captain), Sean Greer and goal tender Peter King. The vacancies provided Adelaide local league players from the Premier League an opportunity to play in the AIHL, such as previous AIHL player Andrew Stapleton and new player Quenton Tombleson. Steve Best was back too. Previous coach Sami Mantere was to play, handing over the 2018 coaching role to Jim Fuyrachuk. Corey Stringer left the Melbourne Mustangs for a stint with the Adrenaline. Harley Anderson from Queensland has 6 games to prove himself and earn a permanent spot in the team. Imports included goaltender Sebastian Andersson from the Division 1 Swedish league, Alex Adams, Caleb Apperson and perennial crowd favorite Ales Kratoska. Adams had only flown into Adelaide from Canada at lunchtime before the game! Backing up Andersson for the season is Glen Forbes-White and Jeremy Friederich. Joey Rezek was out of the team as he is playing for Australia in the World Division 2 Championships in the Netherlands. So the Adrenaline are a real mixed bag for 2018, and an unknown quantity. After a bouyant win against the Melbourne Mustangs in Melbourne they came into this game with some confidence despite the Ice Dogs sported the all time highest AIHL goal scorer, import Geordie Wudrick, playing in his third AIHL team.
The game started in the worst possible way for the Adrenaline as Ice Dogs Lee Turner scored with only 41secs out of the game. Rather than letting it get them down, the Adrenaline hunkered down for the long game and held the Ice Dogs to that scoreline for the period. The tall Adrenaline import Apperson appeared to have the measure of Wudrick on many occasions. Adams, showing no sign of jet lag and showed some awesome pace and will be a valuable asset to the Adrenaline.
The second period was very dry….dry for goals that is. The Adrenaline continued to hold the Ice Dogs at bay with Andersson now in fine form stopping every Ice Dogs attempt. Equally impressive at the other end was Ice Dogs goaltender Mizen, managing to stop all but one of the 24 shots on goal the Adrenaline gave. The goal went to Steve Best, assisted by Kratoska and Anderson. The score remained until the end of the period. The Ice Dogs would have to muster plenty against a very determined Adrenaline outfit. Surely this would come through Wudrick?
It would be Anderson that scored first in the period to edge the Adrenaline out to a 2-1 lead raising the hopes of the vocal home crowd. At around 14mins left on the clock it started to rain penalties. Kratoska and Ice Dogs Daniel Pataky were sent off for roughing but the increased intensity resulted in more penalties being dished out shortly afterwards with the Adrenaline sin bin crowded with 3 players. Wudrick would have a few shots at Andersson but was denied so the Adrenaline kept their one goal buffer. This would come to an end as young Anderson would be called for goaltender interference and this would be the chance the Ice Dogs were looking for as they found a chink in the Adrenaline’s armour. This time Wudrick stepped up to the plate and with a 6-on-4 advantage rammed it home. Score now at 2-all with about 3mins to play. The signs were ominous for the Adrenaline as teams have cruelly climbed over the top of them after they played well for the majority of the game. However Apperson had other ideas and this time one of his many shots on goal came to fruition and the Adrenaline now held a slender lead with little time to play. The Ice Dogs predictably sent Mizen to the bench for a man advantage but this was snuffed out as jetsetter Adams found the empty net, a real reward after only a few hours back on the ground. An excellent 4-2 win to the young Adrenaline outfit who may surprise a few teams this year. Sadly they couldn’t repeat the class on Sunday due to a sloppy second period that saw the Ice Dogs pile on a few unanswered goal to take out the return bout 6-3. The Adrenaline did hold the lead early in the game however.