10/08/2019 AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline v Melbourne Ice 6-7OT

Selected photos from the penultimate AIHL home game for the Adelaide Adrenaline against the Melbourne Ice played at the Ice Arena, Adelaide on 10/08/2019.  Ultimately last roll of the dice for the Adrenaline to score that elusive first home win with the Ice only just above them on the ladder.  The previous encounter between the two teams had been famous for the Alexandre Gauthier and Jermaine ‘Kahu’ Joyce stoush.  Adrenaline import Kyle Neuber would be missing from the Adrenaline lineup, out on suspension, this time for 2 games.  Import goaltender Jesse Gordichuk was also missing from the lineup.  The Ice had a few new faces, namely captain Liam Webster and Thomas Stahlhuth.  The Adrenaline had a bit of buzz about them but this was curtailed somewhat when the Ice opening the scoring at 13:20 on the clock with import junior Gabriel Veyt finding the back of the net from Jermaine Joyce and Webster.  Ice’s Jonathon Bremner went to the box for tripping at 9:58 but the Ice’s penalty kill unit hung on.  At 6:02 the Adrenaline’s Steve Best earnt himself a 2min rest in the box for hooking.  Adrenaline goaltender Glen Forbes-White was facing a barrage of ice shots on goal and eventually Ice’s Paul Lazzarotto beat the otherwise superb stops.  The goal came at 4:07 with the assist from Thomas Stahlhuth.  The 2 goals to nothing lead to the Ice was starting have that familiar unpalatable ring about it for the Adrenaline.  However, with the clock running down to under 20secs left in the period an awesome play from Ales Kratoska had him finding fellow import Ben Gavoille on the right side of Ice goaltender Tom Munro to peg one back.  The home crowd exploded and this only served to ignite Kratoska as with 8secs left on the clock he got the reverse help from Gavoille and also Jake Riley to level the score.  The Adrenaline bench and home crowd just went bunta and it was game-on!  Shots on goal was ice a massive 20, Adrenaline an economical 10.

The second period started even with neither team finding a way past the respective goaltenders.  At 14:07 Ice’s Sam Hodic headed off for slashing and with dying seconds of the power play Adrenaline’s Harley Anderson put his team one goal up at 12:19 after receiving assists from Gauthier and captain Josef Rezek.  The home crowd was started to see something special building but this was short-lived as Veyt again scored to even the score, with assists from Todd Graham and Joyce.  Shortly afterwards Ice’s Hodic’s late hit earnt him a trip to the box.  The Adrenaline were unable to capitalise on the man advantage.  At 7:33 a mix up caused too many men on the ice for the Adrenaline and a 2min bench minor served by Andrew Chen ensued.  The an unusual call for the referee Tommi Karppinen as Kratoska deep in the offensive zone sent the puck flying towards the flags at the far end of the rink such was the power in the shot.  This was deemed to be a ‘delay of game’ by Karppinen but there was plenty of discussion around this later on as the Adrenaline was less one player on the ice so should it have been a simple icing?  Need the interweb for that one!  The Adrenaline were unable to make any more inroads and the score stayed at 4-3.  Shots on goal for the period were Ice 17, Adrenaline 9.  An exciting last period awaited.

The long last period resulted in a goal fest with first the Adrenaline levelling the score at 4-all at 10:01 when Gavoille scored shorthanded from Riley and Chen while Andrew Zolotarev sat in the box from a cross check.  Import Jamie Holland (reputedly in his last AIHL game in Adelaide after many years) put the Adrenaline one up at 7:48 after assists from Kratoska and Rezek.  Ice’s Graham took a hooking penalty at 5:48 putting the Adrenaline into powerplay mode but an interference call at 5:32 to Rezek evened it up again for a 4-on-4 and this gave the Ice the chance they needed and once again tied the game at 5-all at 4:31 when Tommy Powell scored from Webster.  Twenty four seconds later the Ice silenced the home crowd going a goal ahead with just over 4mins left on the clock as Webster this time scored after an assist from Hodic.  This got the home crowd chanting a very boisterous and loud cry of “Ad-el-aide”.  Where was this supportive crowd noise during the season?  This seemed to spur on the Adrenaline as they lifted in intensity and with 55secs left to play Kratoska scored from Riley and Rezek and the game was heading to 5min 3-on-3 sudden death overtime!  Shots on goal for the period was Ice 21, Adrenaline 17.

The break had the players deep in thought, shaking off the odd deflated feeling that a draw at end of regulation often brings, but none more so than coach Corey Smith hoping the hockey gods would reward his team.  The 3-on-3 scenario creates wide open spaces and both teams would need their best line-ups suited to these unusual conditions.  If a penalty occurs, the team with the penalty has the offender heading to the sin bin but retains 3 players on the ice but the other team gains an extra attacker.  This was to be the case when seldom used Adrenaline import Joey McDougall got caught for cross checking at 3:25 putting so much pressure on the Adrenaline players as they faced their biggest challenge of their 2019 season to try and score their only home victory….so close, yet so far!  They could only watch on as Ice’s Thomas Stahlhuth scored the game winner, unassisted, with 23secs left on the clock.  Next week a victory for the Adrenaline against the strong 2019 Bears lineup would be a tough ask.  Final shots on goal was Ice 62 for 7 goals, Adrenaline 37 for 6 goals.