Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Match recap: July 10

The second week of July wrapped up with two return games from the previous night, Ice ArenA & Icehouse were the venues once again. Melbourne looking to finish off a poor Canberra team, while Adelaide once again were in for a fight against the Mustangs. While up north, we had no action between the Ice Dogs & Blue Tongues.

Sydney Ice Dogs P-P Gold Coast

The second match for the weekend between the Ice Dogs and Blue Tongues, was called off due to ice issues. Referees called the game off and both teams were in agreement with the decision, a rematch date has yet to be confirmed.

Canberra 5-8 Melbourne

With a demoralising defeat the night before, Canberra were looking to bounce back and push Melbourne to the limit. A much better all round team performance was needed from Canberra, if they were to gain anything from the evenings fixture.

Much like the night the before, things started off brightly for the Knights as they opened the scoring through Anthony Circula. The Knights took an early lead but seen it pegged back three minutes later as Hughes assisted by Baclig & Armstrong, got Melbourne on the board. It was a physical & frenetic first period, both teams looking to go on the offensive early to try and create a handy goal cushion. With the game tied at 1-1 Canberra once again hit the net, Jordan Gavin who is having a career AIHL season got his sixth goal of the season and had the Canberra natives buzzing. 

As the first period headed towards the five minute mark Melbourne kicked things up a gear, two goals in two minutes to Powell & Baclig had put Melbourne back in control again. But, unlike the night before, Canberra were ready to fight for everything and prove that they were capable of mixing it with the big boys. Britt Ouellette was the next player on the score sheet, leveling things up at 3-3 . With another power play opportunity, Melbourne were able to deliver & take the lead, as Matt Armstrong sent one in behind Lindner. It gave Melbourne the lead at 4-3, as both teams headed in for the first period break.

As the second period got underway Melbourne were looking to steady things up & really put Canberra to the sword, but with five minutes gone, Addison De Boer had everything tied up as Canberra punished Melbourne on a two man advantage. With things tied up at 4-4 Melbourne turned the screws, the cream started to rise to the top as Joseph Hughes went on a scoring run. Two unassisted goals & a hat trick for the afternoon, put Melbourne in the box seat as they looked to crush Canberra & really put the 12-5 shot count into reality. With time running down in the second, Melbourne got a 7-4 advantage after a superb unassisted effort from Webster.

Melbourne were in control, Canberra still with a slight glimmer of hope they opened the door a little wider when Circula got his second of the night. Canberra were now looking to hit the scoreboard again, having one of their most productive periods against Melbourne all weekend. But the defending champions were able settle things down, control the game & finish off the afternoon adding another goal to the stat sheet. With literally one second left in the game, Powell gave the home fans one last reason to cheer as he put away his second for the game.

Melbourne now take a six point advantage on top of the AIHL standings, Newcastle who are sitting in second place travel to the Icehouse next weekend. A packed crowd will be there, as both of the top AIHL teams in 2011 go head to head.

Mustangs IHC 4-3 Adelaide (OT)

Two even teams pitted against each other in Adelaide were ready to provide another great spectacle, Adelaide had taken the honours the previous afternoon, but the Mustangs were ready to fight it out once again.

Another tight game seen both teams evenly matched on the shot count and headed into the first intermission locked in at 0-0, both teams keeping things clean as no penalty minutes were awarded during the first period. 

With both teams trying to gauge the pace of the match, things started to open up during the second period. The Mustangs got in first when Jamie Bourke slotted a nicely placed effort high into the Adrenaline net, it didn't last long as some superb play from Scarbrough gave James Keane enough time to pull the trigger after some physical work & bring things level at 1-1. 

With the opening goals locked away Adelaide surged forward for more and were granted just that when Mike Werner got his first and Adelaide the lead with seven minutes remaining in the second period. The Adrenaline pushed the puck around well & with a lovely sliding pass Werner slotted it away. Things started to get heated, Greg Oddy & Jamie Bourke were both ejected from the game as the two players became involved in a scuffle, while eight more players were booked ten minutes for misconduct.

As the third period got underway Adelaide were looking to continue the momentum and build on their second period shot count dominance, but the Mustangs had other ideas. Penalty boxes full, both teams were down to their bare bones & it was the Mustangs who came out flying. Adrian Nash went unassisted as he stole the puck on the opposition blue line and lofted in a beautifully placed shot, it was truly a great display of individual talent. With two minutes to go in the game Adelaide looked to take all points, David Huxley receiving a pass from the blue line, got one past the waiting goalie.

Two minutes to go & all hope seemingly lost, the Mustangs pulled their goalie and it was a successful move. Twenty eights seconds remaining in the match and the Mustangs got the equaliser, pushing the puck around the ice they were able to find Levitt low down on the right hand side, with a last ditch effort he was able bounce the puck off the post to tie things up and head the Ice ArenA into yet another shootout in successive weeks.

The Mustangs were able to prevail in the shootout after both teams missed opportunities, it was all down to Mike Werner. He was unable to raise the roof and give Adelaide the win, as he witnessed his shot hit the goal post & fly out which gave the Mustangs some much needed away points.

By Andrew Macdougall

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