6/07/2024 AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline v Newcastle Northstars

The Newcastle Northstars came to Adelaide, South Australia to take on the Adelaide Adrenaline for their Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) double header at the Ice Arena on the weekend of 6-7/07/2024.  The Northstars were sitting on top of the Rurak (Conference) ladder with the Adrenaline second to bottom.  The Adrenaline had put in some good performances lately and had to win to keep the Rhinos from getting off the bottom of the league’s two ladders.  The Northstars themselves appeared not to be quite the calibre of the leagues leaders Sydney Bears and Melbourne Ice though with far less wins.  The Northstars had import Francis Drolet sitting high up in the points and attempting to break the 200pts in a season barrier this weekend.  His fellow import Bear Taylor was sitting just shy of 100 goals for the season.  For the Adrenaline Ryan Foll was due to play his 150th AIHL game on the Saturday.  The Saturday’s game saw the Adrenaline donning special black and red Canada Day jerseys.  The Adrenaline/Avalanche and Northstars teams had had some rip-roaring games in the past and the Adrenaline were determined to match their highly fancied opponents.

In goals for the two teams were import Rylan Toth for the Adrenaline and import Mitsuaki Inoue for the Northstars.  The game started with both teams evenly matched with neither able to find a way past the two goaltenders.  The Adrenaline would give the Northstars a man advantage when Ty Wright headed to the penalty box for a hooking minor at 11:43.  The penalty kill unit were able to see off penalty with the game still at 0-0.  Eventually it would be Adrenaline’s Daniel Chen who would get the breakthrough deep into the period with a bit less than 3mins remaining.  Assists came from import due Josh Adkins and Kaden Elder.  Shots on goal for the period saw Toth face 16 shots, and Inoue face 13 shots.

The period would last until 13:54 before either team would be able to gain an advantage as they were so evenly matched.  Shots on goal would be hard to come by.  Northstars Daniel Berno got a 2min penalty for hooking, but the Adrenaline were unable to add to their single goal advantage.  Then at 9:33 it would be Berno that posted the Northstars first goal, with assists coming from Taylor and Drolet.  The Adrenaline were in no mood to allow the Northstars in front on their home rink and scored the next goal with a bit less than 6 mins remaining.  The goal came from Steve Best who was totally ecstatic as it has been a while since he has scored.  The solitary assist came from Nathaniel Benson who seems to be having a quiet stretch at the moment in the scoring department.  The period was almost done, but Adrenaline’s Daniel Chen would be giving the Northstars the player advantage in the next period as was going to the penalty box for a high-sticking incident.  Shots on goal for the period saw Toth face 8 shots and Inoue face 11 shots.

The 3rd period started with the home crowd going bunta as Elder would give the Adrenaline a 2-goal buffer at the 15:30 mark.  Northstars Drolet went into high gear and sprinted from one end of the rink to the other and let a rocket fly past goaltender Toth to score his 200th point for the season and put his only behind by the single goal again.  The assist came from Berno.  The home crowd were no doubt chewing their fingernails as the Adrenaline was able withstand every attempt by the Northstars.  That was until Northstars Sean Oultram found a way past goaltender Toth with 8mins remaining in regulation.  The assists came from Hayden Klugerman and Alexander Yuill.  The period descended into an arm wrestle as neither team could break the deadlock and the game would be going to overtime.  Shots on goal for the period saw the Northstars put up 19 shots to the Adrenaline’s 13 shots.

Overtime period is undertaken with 3-on-3 for 5 mins.  It lasted until 1:29 left on the clock when Beau Taylor would break the hearts of the Adelaide Adrenaline fans after their team had put in such a gallant effort against Rural conference leaders the Northstars.  At least they would be gaining a valuable point to fend off the Rhinos on the ladder….except the plucky Rhinos decided to win in shootout against the top team in the league the, the Sydney Bears on the Bears home rink!