22/02/2024 Adelaide Summer League Division 2 Semi Final Game 3 – Unicorns v Snipers 3-2SO

Some of the photos (taken by Karen Kutsche) from the Adelaide Summer League Division 2 Semi Final Game 3 between the Unicorns and the Snipers on 22/02/2024 at the Ice Arena, Adelaide, South Australia.  With game 1 of the semi final best of 3 series going to the Snipers 4-3 on Saturday (17/02/2024), and then the Unicorns levelling the series with a 1-0 overtime win on Sunday (18/02/2024) this game 3 was poised to be an exciting affair.  Thursday night was always going to be tough to field 2 full teams but both teams managed to get 12 skaters each for the game.  In goal goals for the Unicorns was big Alex Palmer, and for the Snipers was Bradley Smith again, having goaltended all three games for the Snipers.

The 1st period would see the Snipers Christian Wangel opening the scoring at 14:13.  The assists came from captain Scott Buley and Jonathan Kovarch.  No other score occurred in the period and there were no penalties given out.  The 2nd period saw no change to the score and the only penalty went to big Steve Thompson of the Snipers for cross-checking.  Again, like the two other semi final games the two teams were so evenly matched with shots on goal being 8-a-piece for the 1st period, and 5-a-piece for the 2nd period.

The Unicorns were looking down the barrel, but there was no need for concern with a whole period to play and regroup.  The evenness continued in the 3rd period, and was eventually broken when Unicorns Joel O’Brien scored at 8:10.  The single assist came from Paul (Pavel) Hruby.   Snipers Ryan Tanner would receive a hooking minor at 3:42 giving the Unicorns the powerplay.  Twenty seconds had elapsed on the clock when Hruby slotted one past Snipers goaltender Smith with the assists coming from Frank Kutsche (me) and Morgan O’Brien.  The Unicorns seemed to have found a spring in their step, but the Snipers weren’t done yet, much to the disappointment of the Unicorns who were gradually winding down the clock.  A loose puck in front was snapped up Kovarch and his medium pace shot made it through past Unicorns goaltender Palmer with only 51secs remaining in the game.  The assists came from Buley and Wyatt Apat. The game was going to overtime, again!  Both teams had put 9 shots on goal in this frenetic last period, again re-iterating how even this contest was.

In overtime Snipers Buley would receive a holding the stick penalty at 1:10 but his team’s penalty kill unit would hold firm with no change to the score at the end of overtime.  The grand final contender would need to be decided by shootout.  Shots on goal in the period had been in favour of the Snipers 5-2.  Each team nominated their shooters and one would face up 1-on-1 against the oppositions goaltender, alternating between teams and at the alternate ends with the respective teams cheering them on from the benches.  Unicorns first 3 shooters all managed to get shots past Snipers goaltender Bradley Smith, whilst the Snipers 3 shooters all failed getting a shot past Unicorns goaltender Alex Palmer.  The Unicorns were going on to face the Huskies in the grand final series.  Sneak Peak….The Unicorns would win game 1 of the grand final series 3-1 on Saturday 22/02/2024 to take an early lead.  Game 2 (and 3 if needed) were being played the next day.