Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - Submitted by Jack Wright
The Agile Group Adelaide Adrenaline lost again, but did show some signs of improvement, against the Sydney Ice Dogs with a final score of 6-3.
Adelaide were seeking their first win of the season, this time hoping to beat the fifth ranked team. But a few critical lapses of focus in the defensive zone proved deadly yet again.
Import defensemen, Alexandre Gauthier, was back in the line-up after serving a one game suspension for a fight against a Melbourne Ice player, two weeks previous. But having his talents wasn’t enough as Adelaide’s habit of bad turnovers and errors in judgement were fatal.
Head coach, Jim Fuyarchuck, had mixed emotions on the game:
“In the first period, we played a solid first half, the second half was just unacceptable. Our level of intensity dropped, we weren’t thinking sharp and were trying to do too much individually. The second (period) was a big difference. We played well as a team, but a couple of mistakes cost us and in the third (period) I thought we played solid, we gave ourselves a chance to be in it, but we couldn’t score.”
Contrary to previous matchups, the Adrenaline started this game with boosters on their skates.
In both ends of the ice, the Adrenaline looked comfortable cycling the puck combined with defensemen pinching in low to keep the puck moving.
Adelaide’s first goal of the game came via Jake Riley - who looked a lot like Matt Duchene - stickhandling in a phonebooth. The play started with new recruit forward Ben Gavoille passing up the boards to Marcel McGuiness who one-touched the pass to a streaking Riley.
Riley then deked around two Sydney defensemen, undressed the netminder Bartus, and tucked the puck home 5-hole. 1-0 Adelaide.
Following the goal was seven-minute window of two-way hockey, with a minor tripping penalty on Sydney the only penalty of the first. But with 4:52 left in the first, Sydney’s infamous import line came alive.
In a space of three minutes, the import line scored as many goals and completely shattered the confidence and focus of the Adrenaline.
When asked about the team’s reaction to the quick landslide of goals, one Adrenaline player mused:
“Mental lapses really, breakdowns in plays. Players weren’t paying attention and not executing their specific roles”.
Coach Fuyarchuck, on his first intermission address to the reeling home side:
“We talked about being focused, shift in shift out. Mental toughness and resilience are extremely important, if they score a goal, we gotta be prepared to come back and get the goal back and get right back in the game. If we take an edge off they’re gonna come back hard”.
However, the of goals didn’t stop there. 15 seconds into the second frame, Ice Dogs import Dylan Manierka-Quaile scored from an Adelaide defensive zone faceoff. Snapping home the puck past a screened Jesse Gordichuck.
Like the first period, a portion of the frame was largely uneventful, save for a swapping of minor penalties. But on Adelaide’s PP, Steve Best scored glove side high to halve Sydney’s lead.
Yet the scoring for Best didn’t stop there. 13 seconds later he scored again, in a similar fashion of glove side high to put the Adrenaline in a one goal deficit game.
However, Sydney’s import line snuffed all of Adelaide’s momentum. As Harley Anderson was sitting in the box for tripping, Grant Toulmin scored his fourth of year to put the Ice Dog’s up by two.
With only 1:25 left in the period, Gauthier late checked an Ice Dogs player into the boards and quickly found himself in an all-in hockey scrum of pushing and cursing. Ice Dogs forward Ellesse Carini was looking to fight Gauthier but the two were separated by the officials before it could escalate. For their troubles, both players received a total of 14 minutes in penalties a piece.
Although the scuffle was effective in bringing the crowd, and players back into the game, Adelaide were missing their number one defenseman for a critical part of the game. While Adelaide didn’t allow any goals against in the fourteen minutes, Gauthier is leading the team in points for defensemen and is the first PP unit’s QB.
The third frame was a mixed bag for the home side. Although Adelaide played a tighter game defensively, the offense struggled to create chances effectively, adding only 9 SOG attempts.
A definite positive of the game was Adelaide’s penalty killing units, which killed all five penalties.
The only goal of the third was an empty netter for the Ice Dogs with :24 left on the clock to finalise the score of 6-3.
When asked about what the team needs to do in preparation for next weekend’s double-header against the Perth Thunder, Steve Best said:
“We have to play more as a team, less selfish. I think fitness is key as well, we’re getting gassed late in the game. We have to use the momentum when we have it as well, there were shifts where we had it but we couldn’t bury the puck”.
Adelaide travels away next weekend to take on the seventh ranked Perth Thunder.