10/08/2023 Premier League Ice Hockey Grand Final Game 3 – Redwings v Jokers 2-3OT

Selected photos from those taken in Game 3 of the best-of-3 Premier League Ice Hockey Grand Final series between the Redwings and the Jokers played on 8/10/2023 at the Ice Arena, Adelaide, South Australia.  The Jokers had won Game1 4-2, and the Redwings won Game2 2-1.  With the series at on a piece this was going to be one helluva game, with a packed house of noisy spectators.  Veteran Sami Mantere would bring a wealth of experience to the Jokers lineup.

As expected the two teams would be evenly matched with the puck travelling back and forth up the ice with both teams playing in the intensity deserving of a grand final of the highest level of  Adelaide local ice hockey (not surprising given the number of AIHL players represented).  With 4:17 remaining in the period Redwings Jake O’Brien headed to the bench for a 2min minor for interference giving the Jokers the powerplay.  The Redwings penalty unit were up to the task and the score remained at 0-0 at the first break.  Shots on goal saw Jokers goaltender Jeremy Friederich face 8, and Redwings Curtis Villani face 7.

The start of the 2nd period saw a flurry of penalties handing out for roughing.  Redwings Dave Gal and Josh Bortignon headed to the bench, and Jokers Nathaniel Benson and Daniel Chen for the other side.  Then at the 10:57 mark Daniel Chen would once again have a 2min breather after receiving a holding penalty.  The Redwings made light work of it with the powerplay as only 4secs later Bortignon would score the opener of the game with an assist from Gal.  Then at 7:29 left in the period, Jokers goaltender Friederich decided to venture well out from his goal crease to bat away a wayward puck and despite scrambling back to his crease he was unable to stop Redwings Jordon Freeman from smacking the puck in behind him from Friederich’s glove side.  No more excursions for Friederich!  The Redwings now held a commanding 2-0 lead.  Jokers Andrew Chen had been lurking all game and teaming up with Benson and Julian Friederich they were able to sneak one past Jokers netminder Villani to peg back the deficit.  “Anything Andrew can do, I can do also” said Daniel Chen as he levelled the score with just over 2mins remaining in the period.  The assist came from Benson.  Then things got ugly as Jokers goaltender Villani took offence to Jokers players in his crease citing goalie interference.  The resulting skirmish dragged in several players from both sides giving the officials plenty to sort out.  For the Jokers roughing penalties were handed out to Villani, Dillian Wallace and Adam Wise, and for the Jokers, Benson plus a cross-checking minor.  Shots on goal for the period were Friederich facing 10, to Villani facing 7 shots.

The 3rd period saw both teams not giving an inch with the game evenly poised and the spectators on the edge of their seats in this nailbiter!  The first major change saw Redwings Tom Tait get a 2min penalty for cross-checking at 14:07 on the clock, but his team’s penalty kill unit withstood the pressure from the Jokers powerplay unit.  Then much later in the period with less than a minute left in the game the worst thing possible for the Redwings occurred as Zac Steele was deemed for interference giving the Jokers the powerplay with little remaining in regulation time.  Jokers Julian Friederich saw a high puck on Redwing’s goaltender Villani’s stick side and batted it down and in for a goal….or so it seemed.  The Jokers went wild, but the joy was shortlived as the stick had hit the puck above the goal crossbar so the Redwings could breath a sigh of relief, but still faced the man disadvantage on the ice.  No goals has been scored in the 3rd period.

The overtime period had barely started when Jokers veteran Sami Mantere saw an opportunity on Villani’s stick side again and smashed one past to take the win and give the Jokers the premiership.  Julian Friederich had one of the assists along with Daniel Chen.  Shots on goal saw Jokers Jeremy Friederich face 24 shots while Redwings Curtis Villani faced 21 shots.  Jokers captain Jordan Geyer would accept the Premier League Cup from league spokesperson Kveta Koudelka.