Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Spoils shared at IceArenA

Adelaide headed into the weekend looking to sweep the traveling & out of form Melbourne Mustangs, while also trying to get an upward form line going themselves. The Mustangs were looking to get any points they possibly could from the weekends fixture & as we found out on Sunday afternoon not everything went to plan for the Adelaide Adrenaline.

Without even setting foot on the ice things were going to be difficult for the Mustangs, they themselves were looking for any glimmer of form they could find, while the Adrenaline were out to reassure themselves of that 2nd spot with Perth Thunder breathing down their necks.

And things were looking bleak for the Mustangs early as game 1 took only 12 seconds to have it's opening goal, Brett Liscomb would pick up his first for the night in what would become an avalanche of Adrenaline goals. 4 goals in the first & second periods blew the Mustangs away, the game was rounded out with two goals in the final period which saw the Adrenaline run out 10-0 winners.

Straight from the opening face off for game 1 Adelaide looked hungry, they attacked with purpose & were constantly on the forecheck. Melbourne were unable to get any fluency or settle on the puck, clean passing from the Adrenaline cut open the Mustangs through all 3 periods of play.

Even when the Mustangs were able to get any sort of momentum it was snuffed out, Adelaide against what seemed the run of play, were able to find the back of the net & kill off any sort of up lifting play the Mustangs had produced.

Everything was going well for the Adrenaline, so well that even shorthanded goals were on the agenda, with the home team walking away with two on the night. 

Greg Oddy & Wehebe Darge would finish the game with a hat trick each, while new boy Mitch Morgan also slotted one home.  Aaron Barton picked up a shutout in what was a terrific display of hockey from the home side, a result which left the Mustangs a shattered group heading into the locker.

Things were looking ominous for the Mustangs heading into game two the following evening. Adelaide were flying, everything seemed to be going well & with the return of Sami Mantere the Adrenaline were ticking all the right boxes.

But as the old saying goes "a weeks a long time in sport" it only took the Mustangs a day to get things right.

Heading into game 2 of the weekend the Mustangs knew exactly what was needed, a win. 

They needed to be energetic early, hit the boards hard & hustle the Adrenaline team. Which is exactly what the traveling Mustangs fans got. Melbourne came out firing, they were working hard in their offensive & along the boards. Getting back defensively was also a big improvement on the night, Oliver Wren now had enough protection to make important saves.

A shot count which was slanted towards the Adrenaline once again, didn't play out the same way on the scoreboard. Adelaide were able to open up the scoring after 5 minutes into the opening period, James Keane slotting home his second of the weekend. From that moment on the visitors scoreboard was the one which kept ticking over, late into the first period the Mustangs drew level thanks to Jake Ebner. 

The second period was a very tight tussle, with both teams eager for that important go ahead goal. It was the Mustangs who edged ahead after 4 minutes, a lovely worked piece of passing saw Brendan McDowell slide in at the back post to slot home a perfect Matt Anderson pass.

The Mustangs took a 2-1 lead into the third period & needed more if they were going to get out of Adelaide split 1 from 2 games played, Adelaide enjoyed some dominance in the final period which showed as they continued to fire at Mustangs goalie Oliver Wren. With the game heading into the latter half of the period the Mustangs got the all important goal they wanted, in what seemed to be against the run of play Jake Ebner was able to skate clear and fire home to give the Mustangs a 3-1 lead.

Adelaide weren't done yet, with attack after attack the Mustangs scrambled & dived in front of the puck. A power play opportunity for Adelaide gave them hope of a recovery, with two minutes remaining in the game the Adrenaline scored on a 4-5 man advantage thanks to Greg Oddy.

With time against them the Adrenaline tried everything to get that all important equaliser, but a desperate & determined Mustangs outfit fought to the final buzzer & took home an important 3 competition points.

It was an important victory for the Mustangs as they try to get off the foot of the Easton standings & push towards an unlikely playoff spot, something i can't see possible at the moment unless there is greater improvement over the coming weeks.

For Adelaide it's a case of continuing to get results, the loss to the Mustangs hasn't had a massive bearing on their season given Perth Thunders home loss to the Ice Dogs on Saturday afternoon.

One thing i do know, is with the Melbourne Ice's 9-1 victory at home against the Ice Dogs on Sunday things are looking a lot more one sided on the Easton side of the AIHL.

By Andrew Macdougall

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