22/09/2023 Blackwood C Grade Inline Hockey semi final – Predators v Pelicans 3-6

Some photos from the first semi final of the Blackwood Inline Hockey Friday Winter C grade between the Predators and the Pelicans on 22/09/2023 at the Blackwood Recreation Centre.  The top placed Predators team in the 6 team competition would be favourites coming into this clash with the fledging Pelicans team (named after Jordan’s favourite Finnish ice hockey team, the Laati Pelicans).  The Predators had already played a few seasons and comprised several ice hockey players from the Adelaide Summer League Predators and more recently Unicorns team.  The Pelicans on the other hand comprised myself and Rob Marshall (also Unicorns and former Adelaide Summer Leagure Storm team ice hockey players), 3 “kidults” from the Junior A grade at Blackwood, another kidult from Gawler (who has played for a Blackwood Junior U15 Viking Cup team), and some other regular Blackwood Saturday morning C grade shinny players.  The Pelicans team was created to give the kidults an opportunity to transition to adult competition, and also myself to be able to play inline hockey with my son Jordan in the same team!  Our goaltender is Adam Weber who is an experienced inline player but relatively new to the position between the pipes.  The team is family affair with wife Karen as our Team Manager.  The Predators would be led by Jason Cross and Adrian von Einem as the main threat with able support from Paul Mills, Alan Blackwell and Dave Lister.  The warm night would be a factor, especially with older players, something the Pelicans had less off with the younger players.

The games are played as two 20min halves.  Barely 30secs into the game Jordan Kutsche would stun the Predators after an assist from Luke D’Onise.  A bit over 6mins later Predators Alan Blackwell would level the score sitting plumb in front of goals and spinning off myself trying to defend.  The assist came from Dave Lister.  Some poor defence by the Pelicans resulted in Predators Dave Lister finding himself all alone and sent down a bobbling puck that skipped off the gloves of Pelicans goaltender Adam Weber.  Player on player was called for by the Pelicans.  Predators headed into the break with a one goal lead but the Pelicans were definitely within touch.  Shots on goal were in favour of the Pelicans 12-7.

Forty one secs into the next period Pelicans Mike Crowhurst planted one past Predators borrowed goaltender Tori Kellett with the assist coming from Max Leong.  Game on!  At the 16:48 mark Pelicans young gun Rory Moffat would rifle one past Tori after a fine assist from Rob Marshall to send Pelicans into the lead and the hockey mums cheering watching on.  The Pelicans now had the momentum.  The heat it seemed was starting to affect players.  At the 13:13 mark Pelicans max Leong would get a goal of his own and Jordan Kutsche and Luke D’Onise would have their second points of the night with the assists.  Pelicans now led 4-2 with a lot of time for the Predators to regroup and someone like Adrian von Einem fire up his team mates with his trademark long hard shots.  That would be the case as he did beat Pelicans goaltender Adam Weber with just under 12mins to play.  The Pelicans were expecting nothing less and were still very vary of Jason Cross always lurking about outskating some of our less experienced and older players.  This didn’t seem to overawe the young Pelicans, especially Rory Moffat who didn’t want to see the lead being squandered.  At 10:49 he nullified the Predators comeback with yet another rocket.  The assist came from Rob Marshall.  The favour was returned to Rob with about 7mins left to play as Rory Moffat gave him a pass to take the Pelicans to a 6-3 lead.  The Pelicans defence and some very telling saves by Adam Weber saw them keep the scoreline intact and win to go through to the Grand Final where they would face the Titans who had beaten the second placed OCs 4-2.  The Titans would be a tough ask as they have a Premier League ice hockey player (how is that possible in C grade?) who had “found his wheels” but the Pelicans had beaten them once in the regular season.  Shots on goal for the period were again in favour of the Pelicans 21-14.

Photos: Karen Kutsche