Selected photos from the AWIHL game between the Adelaide Rush and the Sydney Sirens playing on 8/12/2019 at the Ice Arena, Adelaide. This would be the last home game for the Rush’s loyal fans. After the close game from the Saturday with the Rush edging the Sirens in overtime shootout, this game promised to be the same intensity. The Rush were hoping the change of referee might bring a different result from the game the day before where they were frustrated with calls against their players. In goals for the Rush was Michelle Coonan again, but the Sirens had made a switch and installed Tina Girdler, the most successful goaltender in the 2019-2020 season so far. An early tripping penalty to Rush’s Gail Painter did not result in any Siren’s goals. The Rush would strike first, at 15:48 remaining in the period, As Tess Reynolds combined with captain Kirsty Venus. Both teams continued the jostling style of play with players hitting the deck often but with no penalties resulting. Reynolds was called for high sticking at 7:56 but still no Sirens goal as the Rush penalty kill unit held firm. Rush’s Tash Farrier and Sirens Chloe Walker had a disagreement and both headed to the box at 4:14 for roughing minors. The score remained at 1-0 in favour of the home side. Shots on goal were Sirens 10, Rush 10. Penalties were Rush 3, Sirens 1.
The second period saw the Sirens level the score within a minute as import Kayla Nielsen fired a rocket past Coonan, unassisted. A penalty to the Rush’s Farrier for a bodycheck gave the Sirens a big advantage in this tight game. The Rush fell foul of the referee again at 13:04 when Reynolds was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Sirens however were not able to capitalise on the extra player advantage. Sirens’s Walker would get her second penalty for the game at 11:38 for roughing. A short later a skirmish between Rush’s Farrier and Sirens’s Nielsen with officials pulling them apart resulted in both going to the sin bin for roughing at 11:18. The Rush were frustrated again with calls as they watched Venus go for roughing at 3:48, Sharnita Crompton for tripping at 3:08 sending them into a 3-5 disadvantage which the Sirens made light work of posting a goal to Nielson, this time with assists to Amelia Matheson and import Nadine Edney. Two more penalties to the Rush in under a minute remaining in the game saw them in a whole lot of pain with another 3-on-5 disadvantage but were able to see off the rest of the period. Score was 2-all, promising an exciting last period. Shots on goal for the period were Sirens 12, Rush 14. Penalties were a very lopsided, Rush 10, Sirens 4.
The last period saw the Sirens put their foot down making use of the 5-3 advantage scoring in less than a minute and again a minute later to now hold a commanding 4-2 lead. Goals were scored by Sharna Godfrey (assists Edney and Matheson) and Edney (assist Godfrey). The Rush certainly were done, and fought back to reduce the margin by one when import Sasha Lutz scored at 15:35 with an assist from import Kaitlyn Malthaner. The score remain at 4-3 until the Rush levelled at 5-all when livewire Farrier found the back of the net after assists from Lutz and Natalie Ayris. The Sirens wanted this game badly after the previous game’s overtime loss and drew ahead again half a minute later when Edney combined with Godfrey. The Sirens looked home and hosed to take maximum points for the win as the clock ran down but someone forgot to tell Rush captain Kirsty Venus as she squeezed the puck past Sirens goalie Tina Girdler with 1.4secs remaining on the clock sending the home town crowd and Rush bench into a frenzy. Shots on goal for the game, Sirens 35 and Rush 33. Penalties were far less even with Rush 11, Sirens 4!
Second Overtime Shootout game in a row coming up. However this time it would be the Sirens who would score the win. This leaves the league in an interesting position heading into the finals. With one game to play, that the Sirens are sure to win, will leave the top two teams on equal wins and equal overtime wins and equal points. How will they sort out who is No. 1 and who is No. 2 for the finals matchups?