Milestones for Adelaide but Melbourne Ice take the win
Saturday, July 8, 2017 - Submitted by Alexander Jacobs
In a back-and-forth game that belied the final score and with their Captain David Huxley hitting his 250th AIHL game, the Adelaide Adrenaline presented by Hards Transport were defeated 6-3 by the Melbourne Ice.
End-to-end hockey had fans on the edge of their seats as the top of the table Melbourne Ice face off against the Adelaide Adrenaline at home. Photo: Frank Kutsche.
The visiting Melbourne side had the perfect start in a superb game by Matt Armstrong, who scored inside a minute of the puck dropping, catching the Adrenaline off guard with a goal driven into the bottom corner.
The AIHL league-leaders showed their talent as the first period continued but the Adrenaline held firm and scored next thanks to Cam Critchlow. With 8:49 minutes on the clock, Critchlow beat Dayne Davis in nets at close range with a flick and Darren Corstens with the assist.
Adrenaline’s Captain David Huxley, who took the ice the for his 250th AIHL game in front of a home crowd shared some of his team’s mentality going into the game.
“Melbourne came in as one of the top teams in the league, and it is a daunting task but the fact we can skate with them, the boys are starting to realise we are up there with the better teams we just need to get some results on the board,” Huxley explained.
The Ice’s Sebastian Ottosson then rifled in the go-ahead goal from long range with support from Kristoffer Backman as they regained the lead from a surging counter attack. In a recurring theme for the game, Adelaide drew level soon after when Josef Rezek surprised the Ice, and Davis, with a goal right in front of the net thanks to a key pass from Ales Kratoska.
Josef Rezek's second goal of the night injected energy into the second period, taking Adrenaline to a 3-2 lead. Photo: Katrina Chenoweth.
Starting at 2-2 a piece, the second period was far more even, but Adrenaline’s Rezek broke the détente first: slicing and dicing his way to goal in a superb solo run to take the home team ahead 3-2. With just five seconds left on the clock, the Ice’s Matt Armstrong (assists from Thomas Powell and Joseph Hughes) returned the scores to level.
An intense third period featured shot-for-shot exchanges as both teams hunted for the win. With tempers starting to flare, an incident behind the action saw Adrenaline forward Ales Kratoska sent to the box along with Melbourne’s Marcus Wong, who was brought down hard in a collision. Huxley and Liam Webster soon followed the duo to the box during the pause in action after both got involved in some push and shove.
It proved a turning point in the game, as Armstrong netted his hat trick with 8:48 on the clock, though the result was still on the line at 4-3 with end-to-end battles, Melbourne took the ultimate momentum. Joey Hughes scored the sealing goal with just 55 seconds left as Armstrong turned from scorer to provider.
Yet the killer blow came with 15 seconds left and Sebastian Ottosson blasted a shot from the pack, taking advantage of the empty Adrenaline net.
250 AIHL games for David Huxley
Captain David Huxley made his 250th appearance for the Adrenaline. Debuting in 2005, Huxley is the third Adrenaline player to reach the milestone and 13th AIHL player to do so.
Adrenaline's Captain David Huxley racks up his 250th AIHL game, the 13th AIHL player to do so. Photo: Katrina Chenoweth.
“It’s been a long road but I’m glad to get there and see how many more I can fit in,” Huxley said.
“When you start it’s not because you want to play 250 games, you just want to play hockey with your friends. I’ve just kept going through the years and have been lucky to have such good people around me like Greg Oddy and Josh Harding so it’s good to join a club they’re in.”
“I think we were disappointed in ourselves. We were playing to them the whole game and then just a little lapse where we took off the pedal and let them sneak in,” Huxley said.
“We’re excited to make amends tomorrow. Obviously disappointed about today’s loss but if you hold onto every defeat then it’s going to be a long season.”
Melbourne Ice returns to the Adelaide Ice Arena for round two of the weekend’s double-header at 4:30pm (Adelaide) time.