Ales Kratoska #47 makes a mark on the Melbourne scoreboard and the Mustangs fans on Sunday. Photo: Phil Taylor.
After a tough start to their 2018 campaign, the Adelaide Adrenaline managed to bounce back on Sunday against the Melbourne Mustangs, clinching a 3-1 win on the road at O’Brien Group Arena.
Sebastian Andersson in nets for the Adrenaline proved to be a big force, facing 42 Mustangs’ shots and making several key saves whilst the Mustangs had the man advantage.
The Melbourne squad looked like they were ready to go from the start, scoring an early goal at the hands of Jamie Bourke to give them a 1-0 lead within the first minute of the opening frame.
After a tough 8-0 loss to the Melbourne Ice in the previous days’ game at O’Brien Group Arena, the Adrenaline managed to find their feet as the first period progressed and gained a lengthy powerplay to start the second.
Although the visitors didn’t convert in the initial powerplay, they gained a much needed shift in momentum which eventually led to a tying goal. Ales Kratoska scored the Adrenaline’s first goal of the 2018 season on the next powerplay, with seven minutes left to play in the second period.
With one a piece heading into the final frame, the pace of play picked up, and it didn’t take long for the Adrenaline, clearly out for redemption, to take the lead. With only a minute ticked off the clock Steve Best put one past Pitkanen to give Adelaide a 2-1 lead early in third.
As the period wore on, the Mustangs were given multiple chances to get the scores even, including a lengthy 5-3 powerplay, but Andersson stood tall and put on an outstanding third period performance to keep his side’s lead as the clock wound down.
With powerplay opportunities a plenty, momentum swung from team to team on Sunday with each side focused on a result. Photo: Tania Chalmers.
Special teams however played a key role in the game’s final result: as the Adrenaline managed to kill off several late penalties, the Mustangs just couldn’t find the means to get the puck past the big Adelaide goaltender. The Mustangs, desperate to tie it up, placed six attackers on the ice yet Kratoska managed to break away and bury his second of the game into the empty net. Sealing the win for his team with 35 seconds remaining, Kratoska finished off an outstanding performance of his own.
The win will surely give the Adrenaline squad some relief after being thwarted by the Ice on Saturday, as they move on to play the Sydney Ice Dogs in a back-to-back home opener in Adelaide next weekend.
The Mustangs however will look for their first win of the season at home on Sunday, 29 April, where they’ll take on the Perth Thunder hoping to open their season with back-to-back big games on the road.