A new AWIHL team, the Perth Inferno had their first road trip to the Adelaide Rush’s home ice rink, the Ice Arena on the weekend of 10-11/11/2018. The Inferno team did however contain some familiar faces! Ex-Adelaide Rush players Toni Larpent (as captain), Marina Nottle, Katrina Dobo, alternate goalie Keesha Atkins and ex-Sydney Sirens goalie Ella Licari. The biggest change to the AWIHL season would be 3x 20minute periods with 15min breaks.
The Rush sported many new faces and a long bench. Twelve of their roster had played for the Rush and the AWIHL before. Eight new players joined the team for 2018-2019 including well-known figure skater Melissa Tyson. Candice Mitchell returned to her familiar role as captain with Nat Ayris and Kirsty Venus as alternate captains and Jo Phillis is starting goalie and Jayde Hodge as alternate goalie. Kelly Harris was back after taking a year off to have a baby. The only import was Kaitlyn Malthaner. The Inferno had Tonii Larpent as captain, with Rebecca Smith and Sasha Irvine as alternates, diminutive Keesha Atkins as goalie for Saturday and tall Ella Licari as alternate goalie. Inferno had imports Elizabeth Scala and Courtney Moulton.
The game started with both teams matching each other, but with Rush’s Venus being called for hooking at 18:19 the Inferno on the powerplay would open the goal proceedings when Smith would score unassisted. Two Inferno penalties (Isla Malcom for interference and Irvine for tripping) resulted in a 5-on-3 advantage to the Rush but they were unable to capitalise and score. Another Inferno penalty (Malcom for interference) did not result in a Rush goal. With just under 7mins left in the period the home crowd and Rush bench would erupt as Shania Chenoweth would score also unassisted. However this joy was shortlived as Elizabeth Scala was assisted by Courtney Moulton and Marina Nottle for the Inferno’s 2nd goal to take the scoreline to 2-1 at the end of the period. The Rush would have two penalties (Venus for interference, Malthaner for tripping) late in the period as would Inferno’s Moulton for slashing. Shots on goal were Inferno 14 for 2 goals and Rush 10 for 1 goal.
In the second period the Inferno’s import Elizabeth Scala would run amok and with strong slapshots was able to beat Rush’s Phillis on 3 occasions for a 1period hat trick and take her tally to 4 goals for the game so far. In most cases the goals were as a result of 2 on 1 in front of goal with players with additional Rush defence unable to get there in time to see the Inferno players pass…pass…and then fire a zinger on the 3rd shot. Kat Dobo would get onto the scoreboard with as assist from Nottle early in the period. Moulton would score at the midway point assisted by none other than Scala who was racking up points at will. The brave effort by the Rush was not quite duplicated as they only managed to add a single goal through Ayris, assisted Harris. Penalties had been three to the Rush (Tiff Venning for tripping, Tess Reynolds for interference and Venus for hooking) against two to the Inferno (Irvine for interference and Tansy Thomas-Bland for hooking). The Rush were once again unable to capitalise on a 5-on-3 powerplay, something that will need to be remedied in the future. With the score 7-2 it appeared the Rush had underestimated their opponent. Shots on goal for the period, Inferno 13 for 5 goals, Rush 12 for 1 goal.
The last period was once again an Inferno domination as Scala continued her dominance adding another goal and 3 assists to her points haul. She would be joined by Moulton with a single and Smith with 2 goals for her own hat trick. The Rush did manage to bring some respectability to the scoreline with Ayris adding two goals for a hat trick, twice assisted by Venus and once by Lily-Mae Edwards. Total shots on goal were Inferno 39 for 11 goals and Rush 35 for 4 indicating the Rush just lacked the fire power to get past the goalie. Final score Inferno 11, Rush 4.