On Saturday 21/05/2022 the Pacific Hockey League came to Adelaide and the resurrected Adelaide Avalanche name adorned the home town jerseys again. The AIHL Adelaide Avalanche name had disappeared in 2008 after the ownership of the team at the time couldn’t keep the team afloat with much sadness for the diehard Avs fans (the AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline was borne in 2009 as a result, with a championship in the maiden year). Fast forward 14 years(!) and the Avs are back in Adelaide. The Pacific Hockey League is a new concept in that it will attempt to have a New Zealand team join the 4 teams that comprise the league in its inaugural year, Adelaide Avalanche, The Coast (based in Erina, New South Wales), Brisbane Rampage and Melbourne Ducks (based at Ice HQ).
In its first home game double header, the Avalanche faced The Coast, with both teams have narrowly lost their first two games by a goal a piece, in each of their 2 first games, against the Ducks and Rampage respectively. After a convincing first game win of 5-1, the Avalanche were looking at building on that confidence with a second win to be with the early PHL leaders, the Rampage and Ducks, while The Coast now used to the Ice Arena, were looking at taking it to the Avs to post a first win and keep pace with the other teams.
It would be the home town Avs fast out of the blocks, with only 19secs played before Nathaniel Benson, assisted by captain Joey MacDougall would post the first goal of the game. The Avs were hungry with just over 2mins played would see the lead extend to 2 goals when Western Australia’s Yoann Levesque found the net courtesy of assists from Jake Hazel and Ben Handberg. Only 30secs passed before MacDougall would score his own goal, this time with Benson returning the favour. And so the Avalanche were looking strong with a very handy 3-0 lead, but there was a very long way to go on the game, and plenty of time for The Coast to regroup! And that would be the case, as the Kuleshov boys, Ivan and Dmitri along with Braden Costa would combine to open the account on a powerplay with Avalanche’s Tom Sak sitting in the sin bin for a slashing penalty. Then The Coast stunned the Avalanche with a quick 1-2 after only 12secs of play had passed and it was game-on! This time it would be Dmitri scoring with assists from Ivan and Tom Cross. A late penalty to The Coast’s goaltender Thomas Munro for delay of game did not result in a change in the score. Shots on goal were Avalanche’s goaltender Jeremy Friederich facing 13 shots, and The Coast’s Munro facing 16.
The second period started with a golden opportunity for The Coast to tie the game when Jake Riley headed to the bench for a tripping minor. The second period comeback didn’t eventuate for The Coast though as the Avalanche piled on two early goals through Darren Corstens (assists MacDougall, Nathaniel Benson) and Zach Steele (assists Daniel Chen and Hazel). The teams matched each other for a sizeable chunk of the period although the Avalanche planted plenty of shots on goal. The Coast were given another chance at 6:49 when Steve Best received a 2min minor for roughing. The score didn’t change and then The Coast gave the Avalanche the powerplay late in the period when David Harmati was caught for slashing. The score was now 5-2 in favour of the Avalanche, with all the momentum. Shots on goal for the period were Avalanche’s Jeremy Friederich facing 4 shots, and The Coast’s Thomas Munro facing 15 shots!
The Avalanche kept the momentum of the second period wearing down The Coast. Jake Riley would score first at 16:33 after an assist from Benson, and then Macdougall would follow up with his second for the game after an assist from Benson and Steele. The lead was now insurmountable at 7-2 and this resulted in the Coast making a change in goals with Corey Hennessey relieving Munro. The Avalanche would give The Coast a double chance though with minor penalties going to Riley (roughing) at 9:34 and Corstens (interference) at 8:40, but the Avalanche defence held up well in the 5-on-3 and The Coast did not manage a goal. Avalanche’s Noah Maley would get pinged for delay of game at 6:34 but again The Coast couldn’t capitalise for a late goal. Straight after the penalty finished Avalanche’s Riley would rub salt into the wound with another goal. With a bit over 2mins remaining in the game The Coast’s Emiel Goris would head to the bench for a slashing minor, as that penalty just finished Avalanche’s Yoann Leveque scored the Avalanche’s 9th goal with just 20 seconds remaining in the game. Shots on goal for the game saw Avalanche’s Jeremy Friederich facing 21 shots and The Coasts Thomas Munro facing 30 shots and Corey Hennessey facing 6 shots.