15/06/2024 AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline v Perth Thunder 2-3SO

On the weekend of 15/06/2024 and 16/06/2024 the Adelaide Adrenaline hosted the Perth Thunder at the Ice Arena, Adelaide, South Australia for the Australian Ice Hockey League double header games.  Traditionally these two teams played what I call “respectful hockey”, that is, hard fought but fair and skill rather than smash everyone into the boards hockey.  The two teams found themselves at opposite ends of the ladders.  The Perth Thunder were 3rd in the Hellyer Conference ladder and the Adrenaline were 2nd to last in the Rurak ladder, with over 20 points between them, so the Thunder were favourites going into the games.  However, the Adrenaline had some confidence coming off 2 wins the previous weekend against the Central Coast Rhinos to get themselves off the bottom of the Rurak Conference ladder.  The Thunder had added Hungarian import Natan Vertes to their lineup.  Someone said he had come fresh off the plane and straight into playing this game!

The two teams were very even right from the get go, but the Thunder were putting more shots on goal.  Eventually Thunders Vertes would put his team on the scoreboard first, scoring the goal at the 5:19 mark after assists from Ben Breault and Benjamin Berard.  No penalties were recorded in the period, supporting my respectful hockey notion.  Shots on goal for the period were 16 to the Thunder, and 12 to the Adrenaline.

The 2nd period started with the Adrenaline putting on a show and posting many shots on goal.  At 14:46 import Kaden Elder teamed up with his fellow import player Josh Adkins to tie the score.  At 4:52 Thunder’s Finnish import Ville Tenosalmi was deemed for roughing giving the Adrenaline the powerplay.  The Adrenaline made use of it, and Elder scored again putting the Adrenaline up against the highly ranked opposition and giving the home crowd plenty to cheer about.  The assist was again from Adkins as well as import defenceman Shaun Dosanjh.  At 1:11 Adrenaline’s Nathaniel Benson headed to the sin bin for hooking, but the score stayed at 2-1 in favour of the Adrenaline.   Shots on goal clearly showed the Adrenaline’s intentions, scoring 13-3.

The 3rd period saw my theory of respectful hockey go out the window (correctly called by Jamie Taylor) as a plethora of penalties ensued!  It started with Thunders Reece Lukowiak for tripping at 16:58, and Thunder’s James Woodman for high-sticking at 16:13 but the Thunder’s penalty kill unit saw off the 5-on-3 and 5-on-4 disadvantages with no score added to the Adrenaline.  Thunder’s David Kudla eventually found a way past Adrenaline’s netminder Rylan Toth at 5:39 to tie the score after the Adrenaline had led for most of the game.  Adrenaline’s Dosanjh would get two penalties, tripping at 8:04 and roughing at 5:31, but the latter was nullified when Thunder’s Vertes was also done for roughing at 5:06.  Adrenaline’s Dosanjh would end up with another at the very wrong end of the period which was going to overtime.  With 3secs left in regulation he would be done for tripping so the Adrenaline would go into overtime with 3 skaters against the Thunder’s 4 skaters.  Shots on goal saw the Thunder edge the Adrenaline 9-7.

Overtime of 5mins saw no change in the score such was the tightness in this game and the Adrenaline’s pluckiness against the Thunder.  Shootout would be needed to sort this one out.  It went the way of the Thunder with Vertes scoring his 2nd goal for the game, not bad from coming straight off the plane with little rest before the game.  The Adrenaline would at least come away with 1 valuable point, and the Thunder 2 points.  It would be interesting to see the Adrenaline could back up this barn burner performance in the Sunday’s game.