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AWIHL Semi-Final 2: Adelaide Rush 4 defeat Melbourne Ice 2

2 February 2020, by GORDON WITT

The Adelaide Rush will be playing for the championship after a stunning 4-2 win over the Melbourne Ice. Although Adelaide finished ahead of Melbourne in the regular season standings, the Ice entered the matchup having beaten the Rush twice over the final weekend of the season.

Adelaide enjoyed a large amount of crowd support that rivalled even that of the home team, due in no small part to many neutrals choosing to lend their support to the visitors. In our preview we mentioned that this game could be the lowest scoring of the playoffs if regular season trends continued. After the result from the Sydney Sirens vs Perth Inferno game, we are currently two-for-two.

First Period

The two best defences in the league didn’t give each other much room early on, but it was Ice captain Christina Julien who generated the first grade-A scoring chance. The star centre skated to the hash marks and fired a wrister on net. Goaltender Michelle Coonan stopped both the initial shot and the subsequent rebound to keep scores level.

 

The physical play from the two regular season games continued in this game, with both teams trading big hits, none bigger than this crunching check by Ice defender Georgia Moore on the Rush’s Elizabeth Aveson.

Both teams did well limiting shots to the perimeter and breaking up the cycle. It would take over 13 minutes before the game saw it’s first goal and it was worth the wait. Rylie Padjen broke up a Rush pass in the neutral zone, carried it towards the left faceoff circle, and wired a wrister above Coonan’s blocker and into the back of the net. 1-0 Adelaide, unassisted at 6:24.

 

Melbourne had the opportunity to double their advantage towards the end of the period with a pair of powerplays, but were thwarted by both Coonan and the Rush’s stellar defending.

 

The period finished with Melbourne well in control of the shots, leading Adelaide 10-3 in the category; a shot-share of 76.9%.

Second Period

Melbourne continued to pile on the pressure in the middle frame, but Coonan ensured the game didn’t get out of hand, showing off the leather with this fine save off a Sarah Dash attempt from a tight angle.

 

However, just a minute later, Christina Julien took matters into her own hands, receiving a neutral zone pass, and then using her blistering speed to split the defenders and go in all alone on Coonan. This time she would not be denied, cutting across the net before going backhand roof. 2-0 Melbourne at 17:47 with assists to Ashley Aparicio and Georgia Moore.

 

Shortly after the goal the Ice went to the powerplay once again but were thwarted by the Rush’s stifling defense. After killing off the penalty Adelaide’s Sasha Lutz won an offensive zone faceoff, Tash Farrier fired an awkward shot on net that Jenelle Carson could only block, and Lutz collected the rebound between the hash-marks and fired it stick side into the net. Melbourne’s lead was halved, 2-1 at 14:47 of the second.

 

Adelaide would send Melbourne to the powerplay twice more in the period, and although Melbourne had excellent zone time on each, Adelaide maintained a disciplined box-formation to keep chances to the outside. Sasha Lutz brought the Rush fans to their feet late in a penalty kill when she decided to go through Nicole Jones rather than around her.

 

The temperature of the game continued to rise with extracurricular activities after whistles. Neither team was backing down in this confrontation.

 

After Melbourne took a pair of penalties late, the period would end, punctuating a Rush 5-on-3 powerplay. The shots were still in Melbourne’s favour 15-11 for the period (57.7% shot share), and 25-14 for the game (64.1% shot share).

Third Period

Although Adelaide failed to convert with the two woman-advantage, Melbourne were tiring. An equaliser seemed inevitable. At 16:05 Adelaide’s dynamic duo of Farrier and Lutz connected again. Farrier cycled the puck to Lutz in the corner below the goal line, and Lutz returned the pass to Farrier at the right-faceoff dot where she collected and fired the puck in one smooth motion far-side past the stick of Carson.

 

Melbourne would go to the powerplay for the seventh time in the game under a minute later, but again would be frustrated in their attempts to regain the lead.

Slowly, but surely, Adelaide started to dominate possession of the puck, spending swathes of time swarming the offensive zone. Jenelle Carson had to be excellent on several occasions to maintain the deadlock.

 

When both Rylie Padjen (hooking) and Megan Eady (cross-checking) took penalties within 34 seconds of each other (at 7:40 and 7:06 respectively), Adelaide had a 5-on-3 powerplay for the second time in the game. The contest saw it’s first powerplay goal at 6:31, Sasha Lutz banging home a Tash Farrier rebound. The secondary assist was credited to Natalie Ayris.

Melbourne would take yet another penalty at 3:39. Although Adelaide controlled the puck in the zone, they could not add to their advantage, seemingly content to allow time to expire.

Then, with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, the AWIHL saw an empty net goal for the first time this season as Adelaide iced the game. Farrier and Lutz were again involved, Lutz with the diving assist, Farrier with the goal from the Mustangs logo behind centre-ice. 4-2 Adelaide at 0:22.

Looking Ahead

Melbourne will face the Perth Inferno in the consolation match today at 3:00pm. Both teams matched up against each other well in a back-to-back set in Perth. The stifling Melbourne defense will face a dynamic Perth offense.

With their defeat of the reigning champion Melbourne Ice, Adelaide will be looking to win a seventh championship when they face the Sydney Sirens. It would be the first title for Adelaide since 2012 when they played as the Adelaide Adrenaline, and would tie Melbourne with the most championships in AWIHL history. Sydney will be looking to win their second championship, and first since 2017. The final will see the league’s best offense (Sydney) matched up against the league’s best defense (Adelaide); it will be intriguing to see which philosophy wins out on this occasion.

Fans can buy tickets to the bronze medal game and championship game from finals.awihllive.com. The tickets are very reasonably priced and it’s a great way to watch the greatest live sport on earth, escape the capricious Melbourne weather, and spend a Sunday afternoon in a family-friendly environment.

If you can’t get to Docklands to watch the games, the AWIHL are broadcasting the games via their YouTube channel. Please be sure to subscribe.

Photography credit: tmksnapshots

AWIHL Semi-Final 1: Sydney Sirens defeat Perth Inferno 14-8

The Sydney Sirens have punched their ticket to the gold medal match with a convincing 14-8 win over the Perth Inferno. The game featured a whopping 9 special teams goals, including 8 powerplay goals (Sydney went 6/7, 85.7%; Perth went 2/6, 33.3%), and 1 shorthanded goal (Perth).

The Sirens enjoyed raucous support from their loyal fans who had made the trip from Sydney. Vuvuzelas, cowbells and air-horns were all audible throughout the contest. In our preview we mentioned that this game would likely be the highest scoring game of the weekend due to Perth and Sydney’s propensity for high-event hockey. For once, regular season tendencies continued into the playoffs.

First Period

The scoring started early when Inferno skater Molly Lukowiak went to the penalty box for slashing at 19:18 of the first. 16 seconds later, Sarah Edney scored on the powerplay, assisted by Kayla Nielsen and Nadine Edney (the official scoring doesn’t currently include Nielsen (#20)).

Nora Maclaine tied it up for Perth on the powerplay at 13:44. Perth’s star import banged home a rebound off an Elizabeth Scala shot. Courtney Moulton had the secondary assist on the play (the official scoring gives the lone assist to Moulton, but Scala (#27) took the shot which generated the rebound).

Parity was restored, but would only last a mere 8 seconds before Nadine Edney stole the puck off Perth’s won faceoff and went in on Sydney Fricker on a partial breakaway. Fricker saved the initial shot, but Kayla Nielsen sent the rebound up and over Fricker’s head and into the net at 13:36. Sydney once again had the lead, a lead which they would not relinquish for the duration of the match.

Kayla Nielsen was far from finished, a few minutes later she showed why she topped the league in scoring, blasting a slap-shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past Fricker to double Sydney’s advantage. Assists went to Amelia Matheson and Nadine Edney at 10:19, and with less than half a period in the books, Sydney fans were officially on hat-trick watch.

Perth never quit throughout this contest, and made it a one-goal contest just over three minutes later. Michelle Clark-Crumpton took the puck from her own zone in a two-on-two situation, then used her silky skating to side-step one defender, generate a rebound which Elizabeth Scala made no mistake in putting past Tina Girdler to make it a 3-2 game.

Sydney went to the powerplay a few minutes later, and once again were able to convert, this time through Ebony Brunt off another rebound. 4-2 at 4:20, assists to Amelia Matheson and Sharna Godfrey.

Two minutes later, Sharna Godfrey went on a spectacular end-to-end rush, cutting from the middle of the ice to the right faceoff circle where she deposited a perfectly placed wrist shot to Fricker’s stick-side and into the net. 5-2 Sydney at 2:04.

When Perth’s Elizabeth Scala went to the penalty box for slashing, few would have suspected that it would be the Inferno who would next light the lamp. However Captain Courtney Moulton pressured Girdler into misplaying the puck and was able to muscle the puck through the Sydney defender’s stick and into the yawning cage. It was the perfect time for Perth to score their second shorthanded goal of the season. The lead had been cut to 5-3 with 44 seconds left in the period.

In what was a theme in the game, Sydney were able to score immediately afterwards, flexing their league-best offensive muscle. Sarah Edney was able to gain the zone on the powerplay, generate a rebound, and put a backhand shot past Fricker to double up the Inferno 6-3. The assist went to Nadine Edney at 0:13.

At the end of the period with Sydney again in the offensive zone, Fricker stretched out to cover the puck and appeared to suffer an arm/hand/wrist injury as the buzzer sounded. Hopefully the injury isn’t serious, Fricker would be on the bench to start the second period.

Second Period

Perth came out firing to start the middle period, and it would take just 93 seconds for them to see reward for their efforts. Maclaine saw her inital shot from the right faceoff circle blocked, regained control of the puck in the slot, generated a rebound, and put the puck stick-side on Girdler. 6-4 at 18:27, assists to Moulton and Isla Malcolm.

Less than a minute later, Sharna Godfrey restored the three-goal lead. Godfrey showed off her blazing speed to create a two-on-one opportunity, before putting the puck top-cheddar over Sasha King’s glove. 7-4 Sydney at 17:41 with the assist to Amelia Matheson.

Ten minutes later Sydney scored their fourth powerplay goal of the game, and again the Edney’s were heavily involved. Liz Chia moved the puck up to Sarah Edney who did well to gain the zone, taking her left hand off her stick to protect the puck before placing a backhand pass on to Nadine Edney’s tape in the slot. King had no chance and Sydney had an 8-4 lead with 7:48 remaining in the period.

17 seconds later the game had its first hat-trick, Sharna Godfrey again going high-glove top-cheddar from a tight angle. 9-4 the score, with the assist to Sarah Edney.

Anna Badaoui put Sydney into double-digits a few minutes later. King appeared to be screened and Badaoui put her shot five-hole and into the back of the net. Ava Calabria was credited with the assist at 4:11.

Courtney Moulton gave the Inferno fans hope and something to cheer about when a three-on-one developed into a breakaway, Maclaine drawing the defender before placing a perfectly weighted pass into Moulton’s path. Moulton went high-glove, bar-down to make it a 10-5 game with 2:25 remaining in the second.

Yet again, Sydney staved off any potential Perth momentum by scoring 29 seconds later, Kayla Nielsen becoming the game’s second hat-trick hero. After receiving the puck from Chia in the defensive zone, she raced up the ice and was able to cut into the front of the net all alone, putting the puck through the five hole. 11-5 Sydney at 1:56.

43 seconds later the game had it’s third hat-trick hero, Sarah Edney joining the club. If there is a clip that sums up the game, this would be it. Edney stumbles in the offensive zone, the defense relaxes, Edney recovers and is able to cut to the net unimpeded, putting a backhand shot past King. 12-5 Sydney with just over a period of play remaining.

Isla Malcolm would pull one back prior to the period ending, the recipient of a brilliant cross-crease pass from Maclaine that gave her all sorts of room to go backhand-forehand and put the puck under Girdler’s glove. 12-6 at 1:05, the secondary assist credited to Moulton.

Third Period

Perth refused to lay down and surrender, Michelle Clark-Crumpton scored on the powerplay off another rebound generated by Maclaine.

The 12-7 score became 12-8 a few minutes later when Elizabeth Scala roofed a backhand shot on the breakaway. Maclaine showed incredible nerve to avoid pressure from the Siren’s forechecking forwards, before sending a beautifully weighted saucer-pass, springing Scala on the breakaway. It was Maclaine’s fourth assist and sixth point of the game.

With half a period remaining, Perth had a glimmer of hope. That was extinguished with another two Sirens powerplay goals in quick succession. Nadine Edney added to her tally with a fourth from a tight angle.

And a little over two minutes later, Anna Badaoui added to her tally with a controversial goal. The Inferno players were clearly upset with the decision to allow the goal despite some possible goaltender interference on the play.

Looking Ahead

Perth will look to match last year’s third-place finish when they battle the Melbourne Ice. They will have their work cut out for them, but can take some confidence from their play against them in Perth earlier in the month.

Sydney will look to win the Joan McKowen trophy for just the second time against the Adelaide Rush. In a matchup that will see the league’s best offense matched up against the league’s best defense, it will be intriguing to see which philosophy wins out on this occasion.

Fans can buy tickets to the bronze medal game and championship game from finals.awihllive.com. The tickets are very reasonably priced and it’s a great way to watch the greatest live sport on earth, escape the capricious Melbourne weather, and spend a Sunday afternoon in a family-friendly environment.

If you can’t get to Docklands to watch the games, the AWIHL are broadcasting the games via their YouTube channel. Please be sure to subscribe.

Silver and two Bronze for Aussie Ice Hockey players at Lausanne 2020

The Australian Ice Hockey contingent has won silver and two bronze within their Mixed NOC Teams in the 3×3 Ice Hockey finals at Lausanne 2020.

14-year-old Courtney Mahoney, in Women’s Black, won the Youth Olympic silver medal, after going down 1-6 to Women’s Yellow in the gold medal game.

Nikki Sharp and Sai Lake are both heading home with bronze after winning their respective final matches at Lausanne Vaudoise Arena on Wednesday.

The full article can be found here:

https://www.olympics.com.au/news/silver-and-two-bronze-for-aussie-ice-hockey-players-at-lausanne-2020/

 

Mighty Roos Squad Named vs Victorian All Stars

IHA would like to congratulate the following Mighty Roo’s squad of players and staff who have been named to represent Australia against the Victorian All-Stars at O’Brien Icehouse on 15th and 16th February as part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the venue.

Several reserves will join the squad in addition to the Croatia team named earlier due to several players currently playing overseas.

Anthony Kimlin
Austin Mc Kenzie
Charlie Smart
Jamie Woodman
Joey Rezek
Jonathon Bremner
Kai Miettinen
Kieren Webster
Liam Manwarring
Lliam Webster
Lynden Lodge
Matt Armstrong
Michael Mc Mahon
Robert Haselhurst
Tommy Powell
Vadim Virjassov
Wehebe Darge
Zach Boyle

Matti Luoma – Head Coach
Michael Flaherty – Assistant Coach
Ian Webster – Team Manager

2020 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group A Team

IHA would like to congratulate the following Mighty Roo’s squad of players and staff who have been named to represent Australia at the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship taking place in Zagreb, Croatia from the 19-25th April 2020.

Anthony Kimlin
Beau Taylor
Bert Malloy
Brian Funes
Cameron Todd
Casey Kubara
Charlie Smart
Hayden Dawes
Jamie Woodman
Joey Rezek
Kai Miettinen
Kale Costa
Kieren Webster
Lliam Webster
Lynden Lodge
Matt Armstrong
Michael Mc Mahon
Robert Haselhurst
Tommy Powell
Vadim Virjassov
Wehebe Darge
Zach Boyle

Matti Luoma – Head Coach
Michael Flaherty – Assistant Coach
Steve Ransome – Team Leader
Ian Webster – Team Manager