ADELAIDE, Australia – This week saw one of the longest and most exciting shoot out finishes in AIHL history and Perth Thunder were unlucky not to topple North Stars from their top of the ladder spot. The season is gearing up and an almighty tussle is evident to determine the final place in the play-offs with three teams: Adrenaline, Mustangs and Thunder, only three points apart and each aggressively fighting out for the last playoff spot.
The Saturday game in front of North Stars faithful thrilled the home crowd and delivered a score line of five goals apiece at the end of normal time against Perth Thunder and was followed by a marathon shootout with fifteen goals scored! In normal time Dominic Osman and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir for the North Stars each scored a double and Michael Forney showed fans why he’ll be missed scoring a goal and assisting another by Kevin Darcy for Thunder. In the shootout Forney scored again for Thunder as did Rolph, Bremner, Kudla, Walsh, Wilson and Cox. For North Stars, shootout goals were achieved by Cotnoir, Martens, Taylor, Kennedy, Geric, Lindsay, Orford-Quirk and Chalker. A most thrilling finish for a hard fought game.
Adelaide Adrenaline notched up their third win in two weeks against bottom of the ladder Canberra Knights allowing Adrenaline to nip at the heels of Melbourne Mustangs and Perth Thunder for 4th spot on the ladder. The Saturday and Sunday games at home for Adrenaline thrilled the home crowd and a six goal advantage each game was decisive and indicates Adrenaline performance is improving at just the right time. On Saturday the score line was 6 to zero with a great hat-trick from Greg Oddy and Sunday saw the Knights break through with two goals but they could not stop the avalanche of eight Adrenaline goals and it was a fitting outcome for Josh Hardy celebrating his 200th AIHL game.
The Melbourne teams had one game each at the Icehouse and the home rink advantage proved too much for the Sydney Bears on both occasions. Melbourne Mustangs on Saturday delivered a decisive victory over the Sydney Bears with a 5 to 2 score line. On Sunday, the Ice hit the rink and were even more impressive in an intense game delivering a 7 goals to 3 win despite the Bears being first off the mark with an impressive Koubek scoring the first two goals. The Ice’s leading goal getters with two apiece were Jason Baclig and Chris Frank.
In the last game of the weekend Perth Thunder bounced back with the support of the home crowd and delivered a convincing win against third placed Sydney Ice Dogs. The 6 gaols to 4 result ensured Michael Forney enjoyed his farewell game & he contributed nicely with one goal and three assists. He now heads of to Austria to further his brilliant career and the Thunder fans gave him a fond farewell and made sure he knew he’d be welcomed back anytime.
Next weekend sees the North Stars travel to Perth for a double-header weekend and we’ll get further insight into just how tough Perth is to defeat on the home ice. The Mustangs also have a double-header with home advantage against Adrenaline and will be itching to prove their dominance and secure 4th spot on the ladder. Canberra Knights host the Ice at home and the Sydney derby is played out at Baulkham Hills with the Ice Dogs hoping to dominate the Bears. In the final game of the packed schedule the Ice will meet the Ice Dogs in Liverpool and will be fighting it out to secure 2nd spot on the ladder or may even be dreaming for top of the ladder spot if the trip west proves too daunting for North Stars.
Results at a glance
Saturday 6th July
Adelaide Adrenaline 6 @ Canberra Knights 0
Newcastle North Stars 6 SO @ Perth Thunder 5
Melbourne Mustangs 5 @ Sydney Bears 2
Sunday 7th July
Adelaide Adrenaline 8 @ Canberra Knights 2
Melbourne Ice 7 @ Sydney Bears 3
Perth Thunder 6 @ Sydney Ice Dogs 4