Mustangs take first game of Adelaide double-header 5-1
Saturday, June 17, 2017 - Submitted by Alex Jacobs
The visiting Melbourne Mustangs racked up a 5-1 win against the Adelaide Adrenaline in the first game of the Adelaide double-header, giving the team another confidence boost in their 2017 Finals campaign.
With a mixed-results season, the Mustangs have now won four of their past five games, while the Adrenaline find themselves in a critical position and must win Sunday’s game to prevent any further drop down the ladder.
Matt Beattie delivers pressure up front early for the Mustangs. Photo: Katrina Chenoweth.
Adrenaline’s Head Coach Sami Mantere expressed his frustration after the game.
“It was really disappointing coming from the big Canberra win. We had a good team game there and it all fell apart from the start,” Mantere said.
On the score sheet, Mustangs import goalie James Krueger had 35 saves from 36 shots in the emphatic win – but Mantere refused to see that as an excuse.
“I don’t think we even got to Krueger; we couldn’t get past their defence and we were looking at that as their weakness.”
A hurried start to the game saw both sides pressing for the opener as Cam Critchlow returned from injury, however it was the Mustangs who had the early honours with a tipped goal to Luke Fisher off a turnover in defence.
Joey Rezek and Casey Babineau were hot at the start for Adelaide but the Adrenaline struggled to maintain pressure up forward while the Mustangs continued charge after charge.
“We just played to their game and let them use their speed and control the tempo,” Mantere said.
Adelaide was the aggressor at the start of the second period as they chased the tying goal with Rezek again amongst the action and Greg Oddy putting together some key chances. However, it was Melbourne who claimed the advantage with two quick counters and two quick goals.
Adrenaline's Josef Rezek helped build momentum for Adelaide in the second period. Photo: Frank Kutsche.
The visitor’s Michael McDowell scored first from a tight angle on an odd man rush. Then Lazzaratto recovered a bumbled two-man breakaway by Mustangs’ Kokkonen and O'Kane, to put Melbourne in the driver's seat.
Down 3-0, Darren Corstens cut the margin with less than five to play in the second period, sending a sizzling shot into the back of the net.
With Adelaide’s James Keane unable to return to the ice after a bad knock to the knee and goalie Matt Murphy also injured but remaining on the ice, the Adrenaline were fighting hard.
Mantere maintained that injuries were no excuse for a late collapse and was critical of sloppy plays.
“Injuries are a convenient excuse but we’re fine,” he said.
“We got a couple of injuries but we’ve got guys who need to prove their worth as well. It didn’t really happen today.”
“We said last weekend and this weekend it starts with defence and today we were lazy and sloppy in defence. We cheated in defence and if you get good defence you get good offence.”
Ultimately the Mustangs ran away with the game thanks to two late goals, one on a power play and the other in an empty net, with the 5-1 score line a better reflection of their dominance.
The two teams are back on the ice tomorrow at 4.30PM with Adelaide chasing much needed points.