Selected photos from the AWIHL game between the Adelaide Rush and the Perth Inferno (playing in only their second season) played on 28/10/2019 at the Ice Arena, Adelaide. What a difference 12 months makes! Last year the Rush team team struggled to win a game and only played with 2 imports. This year, Tash Farrier, instrumental in the Rush’s success in the earlier years was back and Kirsty Venus was sporting the big ‘C’ on her jersey. The Rush now had 4 imports – Olivia Cook, Kaitlyn Malthaner (returning) and Sasha Lutz would be playing in the Sunday game covered here. In goals on Sunday would be Michelle Coonan, who had had a stint on the AWIHL Melbourne Ice team. There was a distinctive positive buzz about the Rush team. This and the quality imports, home players lifting and good goal tending no doubt contributed to the Rush’s emphatic 7-4 win on Saturday. The Inferno on the other hand, were looking to score first and take an early advantage.
The Inferno did in fact score first and early, only 37 secs into the 1st period, when Michelle Clark-Crumpton scored after assists from Isla Malcolm and Rebecca Smith. The Rush were able to see off their tripping penalty to import Lutz at 14:31. While playing shorthanded, Tash Farrier tied the game with the tough Tess Reynolds assisting. However this was shortlived, as the Rush while still shorthanded saw the Inferno restore their 1 goal lead only 11secs later when Malcolm scored unassisted. A minute later the Inferno got their run going and Nikki Shark put them up by 2 goals after assists from Clark-Crumpton and Lesleigh Bower. This didn’t deter the Rush, who in recent times would have struggled now to keep up with stronger opposition teams. Fourteen seconds after the Inferno goal, Natalie Ayris posted a goal with assists coming from Lutz and former captain Candice Mitchell. The Rush had some new found ‘punch’ and at 8:44 left in the period, Natalie Ayris would score her second goal for the game, ably assisted by Farrier and Tiffany Venning. The Rush had dominated the shots on goal, hammering the Inferno goaltender Sydney Fricker. Shots on goal for the period – Inferno 8 for 3 goals, Rush 14 for 3.
The second period ended up being a slow grinding affair with both teams tight in defence. A tripping minor to Rush’s Reynolds at 5:48 left in the period gave the Inferno an opening and Nora MacClaine got the go-ahead goal on the powerplay. The assists going to import Elizabeth Scala and Sara Sammons who was having a good game. The Inferno penalty kill unit were able to see off their interference penalty to Bower at 3:42 and the Rush remained one goal behind at the 2nd break. Rush again dominated the shots on goal, something that has been lacking in the last 2 seasons. Shots on goal – Inferno 9 shots for 1 goal, Rush 14 shots.
Not far into the 3rd period the Rush tied at 4-all when Lutz scored, after assists from Natalie Ayris and Farrier. Less than 4mins later Ayris would go to the sinbin for tripping but the Inferno were unable to find away past Rush goalie Coonan. Another tripping minor at 11:33 to go to Sharnita Crompton produced the same no-goal result for the visitors such was the determination of the Rush defence. However, the Inferno would eventually take the lead at 9:49 remaining as Sharp scored from Malcolm and ex-Rush player Marina Nottle. This was danger time for the Rush who were looking at trying to secure their best home game start for a few seasons. With 4:31 left in the game, Natalie Ayris scored her hat trick goal and once again scores were tied (5-5) in this very entertaining see-saw game. The assists went to Liz Aveson and Farrier. The game was starting to look like going to overtime, but Rush’s Lutz didn’t want a bar of that and put the home team up much to the moderate sized home crowd’s delight. She was assisted by Farrier (her 4th for the game) and import Cook. Both teams were now playing desperate hockey but for different reasons in the last 2mins, and eventually the Inferno pulled goalie Fricker for the extra attacker. They were unable to score past the Rush’s desperate defence and goalie Coonan who weren’t going to be denied a double header home win. The Rush in turn did not find the empty net thanks to the Inferno’s wall of 6 players. Shots on goal for the game – Inferno 26 shots for 5 goals, Rush a whopping 42 shots for 6 goals.