Australia has defeated Turkey by a score of 2-1. Michelle Clark Crumpton added to her two-goal performance against Iceland with another brace. The victory, coupled with New Zealand’s 4-1 loss to Iceland later in the day, means that Australia is now in sole possession of first-place in Division II B.
Australia dominated possession through the early stages of the first period but were unable to generate much in the way of scoring chances until 3:36 into the first period.
Taking possession of the puck in their own zone, Tess Reynolds made a nifty backhand pass to Natalie Ayris. Ayris found Shayna Godfrey in full-stride in the neutral zone. Godfrey collected the pass, burned the Turkish defender with her speed and found herself one-on-one with Turkish netminder and fellow Sydney Siren Sera Dogramaci. Dogramaci saved Godfrey’s wrister with the glove and the follow up attempt from Ayris with the pad/blocker.
Just over 30 seconds later, Dogramaci was called into action yet again, stoning Shona Green on a breakaway. Sharna Godfrey cleared the puck from the defensive zone to the Turkish defender Ilkim Uygun at the red-line. Her D to D pass was intercepted by Green who raced in on Dogramaci, went forehand-backhand, but Dogramaci did well to slide to the post and deny the attempt.
Tash Farrier was the next to come close to scoring. The AWIHL MVP winner raced the puck through the neutral zone, took a serpentine route between the three Turkish defenders before firing on net from the right faceoff circle. Dogramaci deflected the throat-high shot awkwardly, yet effectively, to the end-boards.
At 6:38 Australia would finally find their way past the goal-line, albeit through a player, not the puck. A point shot from Jaimi Goonan trickled through to Dogramaci and Tess Reynolds fell over the sprawling Dogramaci and into the net whilst attempting to jam home the rebound.
Turkey’s first real scoring chance came at 9:16 of the period when winger Cagla Baktiroglu deked past the defender and went in on Olivia Last all alone. Olivia Last came to the edge of the blue paint and Baktiroglu ran out of room, her shot caroming off the end boards. Turkey were able to turn that attempt into their first dose of offensive zone time for the contest, and Ayse Kocak found space and the puck above the hash marks to force Last into a good save.
With Rylie Padjen called for a holding penalty at 10:35, Turkey was beginning to generate some momentum. Australia won the ensuing faceoff and Tash Farrier played keep-away, skating the puck into the neutral zone, back into her defensive zone, through the neutral zone again before dumping the puck down the other end of the ice; singlehandedly killing over 30 seconds of the Turkish powerplay.
It was Shona Green’s turn next to break up the play and skate into the Turkish end to kill valuable seconds. Australia continued to aggressively forecheck with two forwards on the penalty kill and Turkey were never able to set up, only generating a weak shot from just inside the blueline in the dying seconds of the numerical advantage.
Australia continued to dominate possession and generated another grade-A scoring chance. Georgia Moore fired the puck from just inside the blueline, the puck took a deflection off Kocak which Dogramaci did well to save, but the rebound went straight to Stephenie Cochrane in the right faceoff circle. The Sirens’ captain fired the resulting shot into Dogramaci’s crest.
Dilara Lokbas nearly put Turkey in front when she found herself with the puck in the slot. The trailing winger’s backhand five-hole attempt was pushed aside by Last. Seconds later, Australia would head to their first powerplay as Tash Farrier was hooked by the aforementioned Lokbas in the Turkish zone.
It didn’t take long for Australia to break the deadlock with a powerplay goal. Michelle Clark-Crumpton cycled the puck behind the net for Shona Green, she crossed over with Ashlie Aparicio along the half-wall, and then a cross-crease pass found Clark-Crumpton all alone at the back post. She had time to collect the pass and backhand it over a diving Dogramaci into the net.
14:40 1-0 Australia – Michelle Clark-Crumpton (3)Assists: Ashlie Aparicio (2), Shona Green
A late hooking penalty to Aparicio gave Turkey a powerplay punctuated by the intermission. Turkey ended the period unable to set up their powerplay in any meaningful way.
The period shot-count ended 16-5 in Australia’s favour, giving them a whopping 76.2% of the shot-share. Crediting Turkey with 5 shots was generous; Dogramaci was keeping her team in the contest.
Turkey finally managed to sustain some offensive pressure on the powerplay and converted with 7 seconds left of Aparicio’s infraction. Cagla Baktiroglu was the recipient of some good work by Melisa Figenli and Dilara Lokbas. Baktiroglu initially created the turnover in the Australian zone and Figenli and Lokbas tracked down the puck and sent it back to Baktiroglu who skated to the hashmarks and made no mistake in putting it past Last.
21:18 1-1 Tie – Cagla BaktirogluAssists: Melisa Figenli, Dilara Lokbas
Australia did not allow the equalising goal to unsettle them and continued to press the play. Turkey started to play even more passively, sending two forwards into the zone on a passive forecheck instead of three to clog up the neutral zone and prevent Australian rush chances.
Another Turkish powerplay slowed the Australian attack, however, Turkey could not mount any real pressure and was limited to a solitary shot from a tight angle that Last steered aside.
Australia finally managed to catch Turkey on the break, a stretch pass from Natalie Ayris found Clark-Crumpton in the neutral zone, she passed to Farrier in the left wing position. She faked a slap-shot and instead slap passed it to Clark-Crumpton skating to the slot who took the pass behind her body and shot it across Dogramaci to restore Australia’s lead.
30:20 2-1 Australia – Michelle Clark-Crumpton (4)Assists: Tash Farrier (3), Natalie Ayris (3)
With 2:20 remaining in the period, after killing yet another Turkish powerplay, Australia would likely feel aggrieved that they didn’t get a powerplay of their own when Sharna Godfrey was cross-checked to the ice without possession of the puck in the Turkish zone. The unsanctioned play prevented a scoring chance.
The period would end without further scoring, Australia again leading the shot count 12-7 for the period (63.2% shot share) and 28-12 for the game (70% shot share).
An early powerplay to Turkey (Tash Farrier, hooking, 40:34) turned into an abbreviated 5-on-3 when Shona Green was also sent to the box for kneeing at 42:15. Australia’s excellence in the dot proved helpful as a won faceoff led to the majority of the 19 seconds of 5-on-3 being drained off the clock.
Australia came close to extending their lead at 6:55 of the period, but Dogramaci trapped the puck underneath her long enough for a whistle. 8 seconds later, an Australian player would be heading to the box, Tess Reynolds for interference at 47:03.
The decision to call a penalty on the play was horrible. The Turkish defender seemed to set a pick on the play to block Reynold’s approach to the puck, and Reynold was the player penalised. It should have been an Australian powerplay, or at the very least a non-call. To award a Turkish powerplay there was confounding. I could use a variety of other descriptors when discussing the refereeing, but this is a family-friendly website.
At 9:21 of the period Tash Farrier created a two-on-one with Shona Green. The Adelaide Rush forward raced through the neutral zone, the Turkish defenders tried unsuccessfully to squeeze her against the boards but Farrier was able to zip through the gap and cut to the middle of the ice. Her hard wrister met Dogramaci’s blocker and was cleared from danger.
Sharna Godfrey used her speed shortly afterwards to blow past two defenders along the boards as if they were standing still, cut to the middle of the ice deking a third defender, before firing a backhand into Dogramaci’s pads. Dogramaci did an excellent job all match of sliding across the goal in the butterfly position to take away the bottom of the net.
Seconds later, Dogramaci was called into action again, denying both Ayris and Cochrane on the doorstep. Australia was piling on the pressure, taking advantage of a rare stretch of penalty-free play. With just 3:22 to play, Australia was issued another infraction, this time for too many players served by Remi Harvey.
Goaltender Olivia Last had to be sharp with 2:30 left, denying Betul Taygar’s attempt from in tight and not allowing a rebound. That was the last chance Turkey would generate in the contest, and the last time they would have anything but brief possession of the puck in the Australian zone.
Australia finished 2-1 winners with a 13-8 shot advantage for the period (61.9% shot-share) and 41-20 advantage for the game (67.2% shot-share)
Final Thoughts and What’s Next
Full credit to Turkey, they played a disciplined, structured game, and the lone goal that they allowed at full-strength was due to sublime skill from Farrier and Clark-Crumpton. They blocked shots, cleared rebounds a lot more effectively than Iceland had against Australia, and didn’t get outnumbered down low or against the rush. However, Dogramaci and the referees kept this game a lot closer than what it deserved. Turkey were impotent at even strength in attack, and, with the exception of the powerplay goal, were largely ineffective with the numerical advantage.
New Zealand lost to the hosts, Iceland, later in the day (4-1), meaning that Australia took sole possession of first place in the group. After a day off, next up is Croatia who were obliterated 11-1 by New Zealand in their first game before beating Ukraine 2-1 despite being heavily outshot (42-26).
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