19/05/2018 AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline v Newcastle Northstars 6-5OT

The AIHL game played on the 19/05/2018 was preceded that AIHL great Greg Oddy, after playing 300+ games and racking up 600+points, would no longer be pulling on the ‘AA’ jersey or playing in the AIHL.  Greg had a career spanning 20 years at this high level and his stats will take some beating.  Teamed up with his older brother John, the Oddy boys were instrumental in the early success and championships won in 2000 and 2001 by the Adelaide Avalanche that played from the AIHL’s inception until 2009.  Greg’s career included captaining Australia in the World Championships.  Greg was joined by his and wife Jodie’s kids as Newcastle Northstars GM and coach presented him with a special gift in appreciation for his services to Australian Ice Hockey.

Once the presentation and national anthem were over it was down to business.  Newcastle had recently awoken from a slow start to their season where they found themselves in last place after a few games but now sat just above the Adrenaline after a couple of wins.  This was ominous for the home team as the Northstars always bring a slick game to Adelaide.  Sitting on the bench would be one of their ex-long term players, Ray Sheffield, almost unrecognisable without his characteristic dreadlocks and now as a coach.  The young Adrenaline side held firm as there was no scoring until with just 6mins to play in the period, when Northstars Pat Nadin would find the back of the net with assists from import Nick Rivait and Rob Haselhurst, recently transferred from the Perth Thunder.  The Adrenaline didn’t take this lying down and would equalise with just under 3mins to play with Czech import Ales Kratoska scoring unassisted while on a powerplay.  During the period penalties were given to Northstars Hamish Powell (roughing) and Adrenaline’s Ryan Foll (high stick).  Shots on goal favoured the Northstars 17 to 9.

The second period was 5mins in before the Northstars scored again through Shane Southwood with the assists going the way of Pat Nadin and Nick Rivait, both having an excellent game.  This time the Adrenaline didn’t wait as long to counter and keep the game in check.  Just 3mins on import Caleb Apperson fired a rocket past the left shoulder of Northstars goaltender Charlie Smart with the assist coming from Andrew Stapleton.  The rest of the period remained tight with only 2 penalties handed out, a cross check to Adrenaline’s Dylan Pope and a tripping minor to Northstars captain Robert Malloy.  Neither team capitalised on the man advantage and the score remained at 2-2 setting the scene for an enthralling last period.  Shots on goal for the period were relatively even, 13-12 in favour of the Northstars.

Just 18secs into the period the Adrenaline scored the go-ahead goal in front of the excitable home crowd.  Import Alex Adams scored with the assist from Steve Best.  The Adrenaline had a bit if a sniff and found their way past Northstars goaltender  Smart again at the 13min 25sec mark when Kratoska added another goal to his already impressive tally for the year.  Captain Josef ‘Aussie Joe’ Rezek and Apperson had the assists.  The crowd were now bursting out of their skins in anticipation of a possible win but the Northstars are a class outfit and can come back with a vengeance.  The Adrenaline held their 4-2 lead for around 2 and half mins before Tomas Landa (ex-Sydney Bears) scored, assisted by Rivait to peg the scoreline back to 4-3.  The back of the net had the Adrenaline’s name on it and they scored again to retain the 2-goal buffer, this time though recent addition from the Melbourne Mustangs, Corey Stringer scored ably assisted by Rezek and Best, both having a good points game.  With the score at 5-3, the Adrenaline had a little breathing room.  The Northstars fought back with increased intensity as we know they can and at 5mins 46secs Rivait would help himself to his own goal with the assists to Landa and Sam Lawson.  Too much time remained for the Adrenaline to feel comfortable holding off a hard charging Northstars outfit and the home crowd were concerned.  The Northstars momentum continued as they leveled the score at 5-5 when Zane Jones would team up with Haselhurst with 4mins 22secs to go.  It now looked like the Northstars could climb over the top of the Adrenaline to steal a win as happened before to break the hearts of the plucky Adrenaline teams.  However, their resolve was strong and they held out to take the game to a penalty shootout.   The intensity and aggressiveness of the players resulted in many penalties as Adrenaline’s Adams (delaying game), Apparson (roughing, even though he had been roughed up first), Northstars Malloy (slashing), Landa (highstick) and Lawson (tripping) all headed to the box.  Shots on goal had the Northstars 16 to Adrenaline 10.  Adrenaline’s goalie Sebastian Andersson had made some incredible and near impossible saves in his 45 shots faced while Smart had faced 30 shots.

Northstars kicked off the penalty shootout with a goal to Harcharik but the Adrenaline retaliated with Rezek scoring.  Tesarik for the Northstars would miss as would Adrenaline’s Best.  However Kratoska for the Adrenaline capped off a stellar night scoring the game winning goal and a rare overtime win for the Adrenaline.