13/04/2024 AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline v Sydney Bears 4-3

New season and some new faces (and returning ones) for the Adelaide Adrenaline.  Kaden Elder (who has played WHL hockey for the Calgery Hitmen), Josh Adkins, Ty Wright (NZ/Canadian) and Yoann Levesque (who has playin Adelaide for the Pacific Hockey League Adelaide Avalanche team) join the team for the first game of the season with Sean Greer returning since his last AIHL season in 2017.  First home game would be against the Sydney Bears, traditional rivals having been one of the 3 teams that Adelaide Avalanche was in when the AIHL first began.  One to watch out for on the Bears lineup would be the much travelled Finnish player Samuli Vainionpaa.  Ex-Adrenaline player Jake Riley had left the cold Canberra climate and was now with the Bears.  Goaltenders for the game would be Jeremy Friederich for the Adrenaline and Dane Brumm for the Bears, both goalies occupying a lot of real estate between the pipes.

The period would start with an early penalty to the Bears Adam Kadlec for tripping at 18:10 with the Adrenaline unable to capitalise early.  The Bears would then take a team penalty for too many players on the ice at 13:49, but again their penalty kill unit was up to the task.  However, it would be Levesque that would send the home town crowd into a frenzy when he posted the first goal on the board at the 10:33 mark.  An assist came from Ryan Foll.  The Adrenaline’s Andrew Chen would head to the bench for a high-sticking infringement at 6:43 but Adrenaline’s penalty kill unit headed by their import players saw off the penalty.  Joey Macdougall would then put the Adrenaline under pressure again as he was given a slashing penalty at 2:48.  Ex-home town player Riley would even the score at 1-all with scrappy goal with players flying in all directions and the puck just dribbling off Friederich.  The assists came from Kadlec and captain Ryan Annesley.  The score remained at 1-all at the end of the period.  Shots on goal for the period saw both goaltenders face 12 shots.

The two teams were very even and neither would give an inch.  Eventually Adrenaline’s Kaden Elder would break the deadlock at the 15:13 minute mark of the second period.  The solitary assist came from Josh Adkins.  After an interference call to Daniel Chen at 11:43 the Adrenaline settled down to protect their one goal lead for the entire rest of the period.  Right at the very end of the period things got a bit testy and there was lots of pushing shoving at the Bears goal.  Bears Tyerell Clare received two 2minute penalties for holding and roughing and Adrenaline’s Daniel Chen also for roughing.  Shots on goal for the period were in favour of the Adrenaline 12-10.

The aggression built up between the two teams, and Bears Kadlec headed to the bench for a tripping minor at 18:10 giving the Adrenaline the chance to go further ahead.  Then Jeremy Bruecker would join his team mate in the sin bin for elbowing at 16:37. Giving the Adrenaline a real chance.  However, it would be Bears big Finn Vainionpaa that burst through, outmuscling his opponent to score short-handed, right on the end of the penalty.  The assist went to Kadlec fresh out of the penalty box to add insult to injury.  With the scores locked at 2-all it was going to be aggressive for the remainder.  After all the good work, the Adrenaline suddenly found themselves behind the 8-ball as Bears Annesley would score to put the Bears ahead 3-2 at 12:58 on a powerplay as Adrenaline’s Julian Friederich sat in the penalty box for boarding.  The assists came from Kenshin Hayashi and Bruecker.  It was now time to dig deep for the Adrenaline, and it was import Elder that would find a way through through past goaltender Brumm to level the score, with the goal coming at 11:07.  Assists came from Adkins and Nathaniel Benson.  The game was now into nail-biting territory with both sides trying desperately to get on top.  It was heading for overtime with a bit over a minute to play, but Adrenaline’s Jordan Freeman crashed the net and as he was falling the puck landed perilously close to the goal line and then slipped over much to the delight of Adrenaline bench and home town crowd.  The assists came from Elder (having a 3point night) and Adkins (also with 3points in the game).  Now it was time to hang on desperately….which they did to record a memorable first home game win in a see-sawing game.  Shots on goal for the game saw the Adrenaline edge out the Bears 35-34, indicating how close this game was.