Selected photos from the first AIHL home game on 27/04/2019 for the new look Adelaide Adrenaline against last year’s premiers the CBR Brave who were reputedly even better than last year. The Adrenaline sporting new jerseys and a new major sponsor in Agile Group had secured the services of Kyle Neuber, an NHL draftee and AHL and ECHL player. Other imports included Alexandre Gauthier, goalie Jesse Gordichuk and returning Czech player and home crowd favourite Ales Kratoska for the game. On the other side the Brave had lost their Finnish contingent after a few years, and imports included Adam Kambeitz, Jordan Draper, Brayden Low and Tyler Mayea, with local goalie Alex Tetreault.
The Adrenaline’s younger players held their own against the Brave for most of the period. A goalie interference Draper gave the Adrenaline the mad advantage but their were unable to find a way past. Despite their heroic efforts to contain the CBR Brave’s big players at 3:41 the Brave’s Andy Camenzind found the back of the net after assists from Hayden Dawes and Kambeitz. The Adrenaline had hoped to keep the deficit to one, but a penalty at 1:38 to Kratoska for elbowing gave the Brave the powerplay and it looked like it would be 1-0 at the end of the period but with only one second on the clock the Brave scored again. This time Dawes scored with assists from Low and captain Matt Harvey. The Adrenaline had been repelled time and time again by the stingy Brave defence and only posted 5 shots on goal against the Brave’s 15 shots for 2 goals. It would be a long night for the Adrenaline goalie Gordichuk.
In the second period the Adrenaline found themselves in penalty trouble early at 11:13 when Kratoska was called for a trip. It took until 9:33 before another score was posted. The Brave would stamp their authority on the game when Harvey scored with Mayea and Dawes combining. Down but not out, the Adrenaline faced up to the aggression and fast paced Brave outfit and clawed back one at 5:38 as Kratoska opened the Adrenaline account with assists from Gauthier and Harley Anderson. Sadly the elation of the home crowd was shortlived when at 3:11 Low restored the 3 goal advantage to the Brave. Late in the period Brave’s goalie Tetreault gave the Adrenaline the powerplay after being called for delaying the game. Shots on goal was even with Brave 14 shots against Adrenaline’s 15 with the score at 4-1.
The Brave would extend their lead to 4 goals at 16:14 when Low scored, assisted by Spencer Austin. The game was starting to look like the floodgates would open for the Brave but someone forgot to tell Adrenaline’s Steve Best after he scored truly from a lightning pass from Joey Rezek just behind the goal after a pass from Gauthier getting another point for the night. Buoyed by this awesome play, Kratoska got in on the act and scored singlehanded only 16 seconds later to bring the game into an exciting 5-3 scoreline with over 8 minutes to play. The Brave brought tghe experience to the fore, and managed to snuff out any further incursions into their lead and more importantly shots on goal. With 1:52 on the clock Camenzind would put the game out of reach at 6-3 after assists from Mayea and Bayley Kubara. The Adrenaline had shown plenty of grit and improvement since last year but with a stronger Brave outfit again it was always going to be an uphill battle. Shots on goal at the end of the game were Brave 47 for 6 goals against Adrenaline 22 for 3. They would need to find a way of posting more shots in the return bout on Sunday while taming the skillful Brave outfit.