18/02/2022 NHSL Finals Game 3 – Adelaide Xtreme v Port Adelaide Brewers 3-6

Photos from the last regular season game of the 2021-2022 National Hockey Super League season played between the Adelaide Xtreme and the Port Adelaide Brewers played on 18/02/2022 at the Ice Arena, Adelaide, South Australia.  Both teams were already in the Best-of-5 finals series after Noarlunga Stars came up short the following week against the Xtreme.  Given that this game would appear to be a dead rubber on would think the teams would be taking it easy.  However, there was pride at stake and the Brewers had a point to prove to the minor premiers the Xtreme.  Goaltenders saw the return of Jeremy Friederich for the Xtreme, and stand-in goaltender Andrew Glass for the Brewers who had to borrow equipment from several goalies after having his own stolen during the week.

Half a minute into the game, Brewers Tristan Reece headed to the bench for a 2min minor for hooking and he was shortly joined by teammate Tyler Boyle for cross-checking giving the Xtreme a great opportunity to early in the game with a 5-on-3 advantage.  Xander Wardlaw scored with seconds to spare with 4-on-3 after assists from Joey MacDougall and Nathaniel Benson.  With 8mins left on the clock, Xtreme’s Jared Siemens was deemed charging and took a 2min break in the sin bin.  The Brewers were however unable to capitalise, and the score remained at 1-0 at the first break.

After the tight first period there was plenty to keep the scorers in the scoring booth busy!  First Brewers captain Zac Boyle sent the game to 1-all after assists from Steve Best and Tyler Leeming only 20secs into the period.  Game on!   Xtreme’s Jye Sarcich headed back to the bench at 15:14 for an interference call.  Then at 13:33 Xtreme’s Wardlaw would add to his goal tally with his second goal after an assist from Andrew Chen and give the Xtreme the lead again.  Xtreme’s Nick Wieland was deemed for a delay of game at 11:26 giving the Brewers the powerplay but they were unable to add to their score.  Once again, the Brewers had a powerplay at 7:02 when Xtreme’s veteran and much experienced AIHL player Adrian Esposito from Sydney would take a 2min break for slashing.  Deep into the period with about 5mins left, Brewers Adam Wise found the back of the net with Tyler Boyle giving the assist to equalise the game again.  At the 2:27 mark all hell broke lost and there was plenty of pushy-shovies going on.  Xtreme’s captain MacDougall had a 4min penalty for roughing, with teammate Wieland 2mins for roughing, Brewers Tomek Sak 2min for roughing and teammate Dylan Pope 2mins for roughing.  With the Xtreme’s marquee player MacDougall out if the way, Brewers Jeremy Klein would give his team the go-ahead goal, unassisted.  The Brewers weren’t done yet!  Seventeen secs left and veteran Nicola Pau scored, combining with Steve Best and Adam Wise to give the Brewers a healthy 2-goal buffer heading into the second period break.

Xtreme’s livewire Wardlaw was hungry for a hat trick, and it came 30secs into the 3rd period.  Nathaniel Benson was given the assist and now the Xtreme only trailed by one goal.  Penalties galore again followed with 4 players heading to the bench, all for roughing 2mins minors.  Brewers Pau, Wise (who also got a 2min holding minor) and Xtreme’s Benson and Noah Maley.  At the 12min mark, Xtreme’s Jared Siemens tripped his opponent and the Brewers had another powerplay but were again thwarted.  With 7:13 left in the period, Brewers Tyler Leeming would add another goal for a 2-goal buffer.  Assists were from Steve Best and Tristan Reece.  To add more pain, the Brewers would add another after Dylan Pope found a way past Xtreme goaltender Friederich with assists coming from Zac Boyle and Jeremy Klein.  With a minute to go, Brewers Dylan Pope would cause an interference but it was all to late for the Xtreme as the Brewers took out the game 6-3 and showed they would be tough in the finals series.  Brewers Andrew Glass faced 30 shots, and Xtreme’s Jeremy Friederich faced 41 shots!