8/06/2024 AIHL Adelaide Adrenaline v Central Coast Rhinos 2-1

Central Coast Rhinos came to the Ice Arena in Adelaide, South Australia to play the Adelaide Adrenaline for their double header Australian Ice Hockey League games on 8 & 9/06/2024.  Previously the Rhinos had the measure of the Adrenaline team on their home rink at Erina, New South Wales on 5/05/2024 when they narrowly won 1-0.  The Rhinos had a couple of players, Aziz Baazzi and Dannick Bouchard that had played in Frances top ice hockey league, the Ligue Magnus, especially Bouchard, who had played in many teams in this league.  The Adrenaline had also added Shaun Dosanjh, a very capable defence player.  Oh, and the Rhinos were rumoured to have 4 Wardlaws playing on the same night!

The game started with Josh Adkins (assists Kaden Elder and Nathaniel Benson) putting the Adrenaline on the scoreboard first at 16:57, only to be matched a mere 24 seconds later by the Rhinos very fast skater in Baazzi (assists from veteran Robert Malloy and Timothy Rye).  The play was even until Dosanjh fell foul of the referee for roughing at 13:57 giving the Rhinos the powerplay.  However the Adrenaline penalty kill unit were on their game and saw off the penalty with no added score.  Then at 5:25 from the blueline near the Rhinos bench, Adrenaline’s Zach Boyle launched a shot that beat the screen in front of the Rhinos goaltender and landed at the back of the net close to top shelf right side.  His team mobbed the defencemen who scores rarely as the Adrenaline went one up.  Steve Best was awarded the assist.  At the end of the period the Adrenaline had posted 15 shots on goal to 11 to the Rhinos.

The 2nd period saw the same end to end play as both teams matched each other and couldn’t score past the respective goaltenders (Adrenaline’s Rylan Toth and Rhinos Anand Oberoi).  The play was broken by a penalty to Adrenalines Ty Wright at 15:20 for tripping, but there was no change in the score.  The play continued in the same see-saw manner of end to end hockey with no breakthrough such was the evenness of the two teams.   Then right on the buzzer there was a plethora of penalties handed out as a melee had broken out when Adrenaline newbie Daniel Koudelka received a late hit against the boards at the Zamboni gate.  The sin bin was full as there was 3 penalties to the Adrenaline (Adkins, Elder and Joey MacDougall) and 4 to the Rhinos (MacKenzie Bolger, Alexander Wardlaw, Hayden Dawes (surprise, surprise!) and Bouchard.   Shots on goal has been in favour of the Adrenaline again 13 to 5!  As the players were about to go off the Rhinos players brought attention to the referees of the thin state of the ice at the centre rink area where any sharp stop could snag the decals and cause players to crash.  Ice Arena staff sprung to action armed with a shovel, ice scrapers, watering cans and 2 fire extinguishers to freeze any water laid down to thicken the layer of ice.  Play was delayed by half an hour to allow the ice to resettle.

I left at this stage due nursing a bad head cold.  The same end to end play ensued in the 3rd period with neither team finding an advantage.  Six more penalties were handed out, 4 to the Rhinos and 2 to the Adrenaline.  The Adrenaline came away with a hard fought 2-1 win when it really counted for them with their season in the balance, which was followed up by a 6-2 win on the Sunday game to come away with maximum points and get themselves off the bottom of the ladder.

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