The Melbourne Ice defeated the Adelaide Rush 4-2 to ensure there was no change in the standings. Entering the game, Adelaide Rush, trailing the Sydney Sirens by two points, had the opportunity to clinch the number one overall spot in the league with a win in regulation. They will have another opportunity to do so in a rematch with the Ice tomorrow. Check out the review article I wrote earlier previewing the weekends’ games.
Melbourne, meanwhile, knew entering the game that they could neither rise nor drop from third-place. However, they would have control over which team they would meet in the first round of the playoffs on February 1, either the Sydney Sirens, or Adelaide Rush. If Melbourne Ice can grab another win tomorrow afternoon, they would meet Adelaide in the finals with the confidence that comes from beating them twice in a row.
The Ice will certainly be lining up to buy goaltender Makayla Peers dinner tonight. The back-up goaltender secured her first win of the season and denied the Rush time and again.
It was by no means smooth sailing for the Ice, the game was a tense affair that grew more heated as the game wore on. After seven scoreless minutes in the first period, Ice fans cheered what they thought was a goal, only for it rightfully to be waved off for a skate in the crease.
The Ice had another good chance when Shona Green danced her way to the slot, only to be denied by Rush goaltender Michelle Coonan. The Ice put the Rush on the powerplay late in the first period and Sasha Lutz capitalised to make it a 1-0 lead with less than a minute left.
Assists went to Natasha Farrier and Kirsty Venus. The period would end with the Rush clinging to the 1-0 lead.
The Rush sent the Ice to the powerplay early in the second period and the game would see another powerplay goal. This one going to the Ice’s Georgia Moore. Moore scored another goal almost identical to this one last week against the Perth Inferno. The ‘Ovechkin’ spot at the top of the face-off circle during the powerplay is quickly becoming the ‘Georgia Moore’ spot. Megan Eady with the assist from the point.
Moments later Melbourne had an opportunity to take the lead when Shona Greene was hauled down on a breakaway. Coonan did well to track Greene as she faked backhand, went to forehand and Coonan slid the pad tight to the post to deny the opportunity.
Halfway through the period the Ice sent the Rush to the powerplay once again. And once again, the Rush would convert, this time through Natasha Farrier who found the puck in the slot and powered it past Peers. Sasha Lutz was awarded the lone assist on the play.
The Rush didn’t have long to celebrate their 2-1 lead. This is what happened on the ensuing face-off.
Marnie Pullin with the dangles and snipe to restore parity. Assists went to Shona Green and Christine Dutton.
The remainder of the period would be a scoreless but penalty filled and heated affair. 2-2 after two periods.
The third period started with the Rush spending long periods in the offensive zone. However, try as they might, they could not beat Makayla Peers, who was … peerless … in her efforts. Yes, it’s a terrible pun, I have no regrets.
With eight minutes played in the third, Rylie Padjen’s shot from long-range took a deflection and the Melbourne Ice found themselves in the lead. Shone Greene collected another assist, the other apple went to Steph Conlon.
Later in the period, Ice Captain Christina Julien came close to submitting a contender for goal of the season, Coonan denying her with the glove at the last opportunity.
After the Rush sent the Ice to another powerplay, Ashlie Aparicio squeaked one underneath Coonan’s pads. The lone assist went to Meika Yeo.
With over 6 minutes left, the game was far from over. Peers time and again stood on her head to deny waves of Rush pressure.
The Rush had a couple of powerplay opportunities to try to close the gap but the Ice did a good job of killing off the penalties. In the end, the score would remain 4-2.
The third star goes to the Rush’s Sasha Lutz with an absolute snipe of a powerplay goal and an assist.
The second star goes to the Ice’s Marnie Pullin. Last week Pullin put the team on her back late in the game to earn a point. This week Pullin scored a beautiful goal at the perfect time to help lift her team to a victory.
The first star goes to the Ice’s Makayla Peers with a well-deserved first win of the season. Several times the commentators were left wondering how the puck stayed out of the net, the answer in each instance being ‘Makayla Peers’.
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