Saturday, August 11, 2018 - Submitted by Alex Jacobs
The Adelaide Adrenaline came out with positive hockey however their chances were far too few as the Melbourne Mustangs moved into finals contention with a 4-1 at the Ice Arena on Sunday.
Patrick O’Kane and Brett Ferguson scored twice for the Mustangs while they dominated with 47 shots to 17.
With the Mustangs taking the six points they improve to 33 for the season, and one more win could see them overtake both Newcastle and Sydney Ice Dogs on 35 points and move into fourth.
An action-packed start saw the Mustangs snatch the lead 58 seconds in through Ferguson, before the Adrenaline bounced back one minute later.
Tyler Leeming scored the goal for Adelaide after breaking through Melbourne’s defence and tapping home the equaliser – before crashing into goalie Aleksi Toivonen and showing off some ice aerobatics.
Melbourne had the lead back with 2:20 on the clock following a O’Kane goal that deflected off Andersson’s foot.
Sandwiched in between the goals was a heated moment between Ales Kratoska and Bradley Apps which saw the pair sent to the box for roughing before the Adrenaline lost Josef Rezek and Steve Best for two minutes as well.
In what was a quiet second period – especially when compared to the first – an early goal to Ferguson ensured the momentum was still in Melbourne’s favour with a 3-1 lead heading into the third.
Kratoska and Best were busiest for Adelaide in attack, yet the best play came from a dashing breakaway by Jake Riley who showed extreme speed on the ice but was caught in the corner.
Both sides had late goals ruled off due with a long-range shot by Zach Boyle hitting a net that was off its line while Benjamin Davies was called for goalie interference when he took Andersson out.
The Mustangs had the final say with a second goal to O’Kane 49 seconds into the final period, and from their it was a routine finish for the resurgent Melbourne side.
When Patrick O’Kane smashed in Melbourne’s fourth the pressure mounted on the Adrenaline.
As the clocked ticked down over the final 10 minutes, Adelaide was unlucky to see the puck slingshot out of Toivonen’s net at a crucial stage of the game.
A potential shoulder injury to Remy McGuiness was a late concern for the Adrenaline after he was knocked into the boards by Brendan McDowell and left the ice.
The defeat was Adelaide’s last home game of the season ahead of their final two games next weekend in Newcastle and Sydney Bears.
There was no shortage of action as Melbourne won 7-1 and the final two minutes ballooned out as players got physical, resulting in early finishes for Ales Kratoska and Mitchell Humphries.
The Mustangs were the dominant side throughout the opening period and Adelaide would have felt good trailing 1-0, until a very late Patrick O’Kane tap in made it 2-0.
Humphries scored their first after cruising down the right wing and without any defenders to deal with he curled a shot around the far side of Sebastian Andersson.
Three minutes later there was pandemonium as the Adrenaline came close to a breakthrough, but a goal mouth scramble saw the Mustangs get out of the attack safely.
Then, with just 4.9 seconds on the clock, O’Kane tapped in a long-range pass that caught Andersson out and squeezed past his left foot.
A much more even second period gave way to a pair of goals in a minute for the Mustangs who were exposing Adelaide at every genuine chance on goal.
Vadim Virjassov had no. 3 while no. 4 went to Benjamin Davies.
Another goal to Virjassov inside the final minute of the second buried any chances for a lacklustre Adrenaline missing much-needed creativity against confident opposition.
Towards the end of the game both sides went through the motions, although Andersson continued to stand tall and do his part to stop the margin from blowing out even more.
Breaking through for a rare moment of creativity, Ales Kratoska scored through the legs of Toivonen after pulling off a complete 360-spin on his way to goal.
Goals were the last thing on anyone’s mind following a crunching tackle by Kratoska which saw a pair of Mustangs come after him in response.
Kratoska was eventually ejected and penalties handed out, and just seconds later Caleb Apperson squashed Humphries into the wall.
Humphries, who still had Kratoska’s tackle on his mind, egged Apperson on and the gloves and helmets quickly flew off and the pair went to ground, and then out of the game.