The Agile Group Adelaide Adrenaline lose devastatingly again in OT, this time to the Melbourne Ice by a score of 7-6.
With Kyle Neuber suspended for two games and Jesse Gordichuck benched in place of in-form netminder Glen Forbes-White, Adelaide were down two key imports.
Glen Forbes-White was given the start after a string of strong performances against cup-contending teams. His SV% for the three previous starts was a respectable .897%.
Head coach Jim Fuyarchuck on Forbes-Whites performances:
“He’s been terrific, and he’s faced a lot of shots. Well over 200 shots in four games and allowed 21 goals in that time-span.”
Harley Andersen echoed his coach’s summation:
“He made some huge saves, any team that’s allowing 62 shots on net is tough for a goalie to face. He played outstanding for that many shots and it would have been great if we could help him out more.”
Adelaide were hoping to build on the previous weekend’s narrow loss performance against the league leading Canberra Brave.
However, the Ice didn’t allow the Adrenaline to get their focus into the game quick enough and promptly scored within two minutes of puck-drop. The sell-out crowd were barely settled into the seats before the puck first crossed the line.
But the goal was not without controversy as the goal-scorer, Gabriel Veyt, was not named on the official starting line-up page. Play was set to resume at centre-ice before Adelaide skipper, Joe Rezek, protested that the goal should be disallowed. But his efforts fell on deaf ears as the officials decreed the goal counted after a short conference around the scorer’s box.
Following the fractured start to the game, Adelaide struggled to re-group mentally. Adelaide found themselves hemmed in their D zone for lengthy periods of time and laboured to clear the puck.
The Ice were more than happy to play a hybrid neutral zone trap with two forechecks low. This strategy bottled up the neutral zone and made life difficult for Adelaide’s forwards, shift after shift.
The situation was starting to look dire as the Ice scored again, this time on the PP, with four minutes remaining in the first period. Paul Lazzarotto scored 5-hole past a heavily screened Glen Forbes-White.
The second goal completely silenced the crowd, who were starting to experience déjà vu once more.
Following the second goal, Adelaide import Ales Kratoska, shifted into beast mode and came alive.
With 19 seconds remaining, Kratoska set up Benjamin Gavoille, to bring the home team back within one, much to the delight of the crowd.
While the attendees were celebrating, Kratoska scored his first of the night with eight seconds remaining in the period. This sudden two goal equaliser injected a much-needed rush of excitement and hope into the faithful and players alike.
But the excitement didn’t stop there. Shortly into the second frame, Adelaide were on the PP and working cohesively. Rezek was working with the puck along the blue-line and slapped it towards the net. But then Harley Anderson tipped the puck at the last moment and re-directed it to score his fifth of the year.
And then the second period fell apart for the Adrenaline. Forbes-White let in a goal that one would expect to haunt a goalie for a while yet. Ice’s Veyt was skating the puck through the neutral zone and dumped the puck in on Forbes-White, but the puck bounced in the most awkward way and slipped through Forbes-White’s 5-hole.
Ice’s go-ahead goal came late in the frame via John Piotrowski, who scored while Adelaide’s Kratoska was sitting in the penalty box for an unfortunate delay of game minor.
During the second and final intermission, the consensus around the rink was one of shock and the frustratingly familiar anxiety.
But Coach Fuyarchuck felt that the third period was their best of the night:
“Our work ethic was really good in the third period. We gave ourselves a chance to win and what it came down to were a couple of mistakes that cost us. All in all, you gotta give the guys credit. I just wish the first and second were similar to the third.”
Almost all action occurred during the second half of the final period. Shorthanded specialist, Jake Riley set up Benjamin Gavoille on the PK to tie the game once again.
Soon after, Jamie Holland, playing in his final game for the Adrenaline before moving overseas, scored on the PP to put home team in front once again.
But the Ice weren’t going away easily. With less than five minutes remaining in the period, Tom Powell scored, followed by a goal twenty seconds later from Liam Webster to place the Ice as the leaders yet again.
With all but a sliver of hope gone from the game, Ales Kratoska scored his second of the game, and fourth point on the night with a minute left to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The OT was only the second time the Adrenaline had been to extra time since losing to the Bears in late May.
When asked what the message was to the team before OT, Coach Fuyarchuck emphasised:
“Playing smart and keeping it simple”.
Although the Adrenaline dominated play early in OT, Joey MacDougall handicapped his team for two minutes when he was penalised for cross-checking. The minor penalty proved to be almost fatal several times, but Forbes-White stood tall and kept the home side in the contest.
Adelaide killed the penalty and were looking to use that as a momentum swing in their favour. As the Adrenaline were skating the puck out of their zone, Ice’s Thomas Stahlhuth stripped the puck and skated towards Forbes-White.
With Stahlhuth rapidly approaching him, Forbes-White had yet one more save to make. But this time it was not to be, and Stahlhuth snapped the puck into the net, glove-side high.
When asked how the team will react to the OT loss, Jake Riley said:
“Its gonna sting for a while but the team knows we really gave it our all. If you give it your all and it doesn’t come through you can’t really bash yourself too much. It might linger for a little, but we have to get ready for next weekend.”
Adelaide play their final home game next Sunday against the Bears.