The Melbourne Ice have recorded back-to-back wins at the O’Brien Icehouse, after a 4-2 win over the winless Adelaide Adrenaline on Saturday night.
Matt Armstrong led the Ice with three points including two goals, as the Melbourne club backed up a shootout win over the Mustangs from the previous evening.
The Ice came out swinging from the get-go, with Adrenaline netminder Jesse Gordichuk facing a firing squad in the opening ten minutes.
However, it was the visitors who got on the board first thanks to a goal from Ales Kratoska, and it was 1-0 Adelaide with 7:29 to play in the first. It was Kratoska’s 5th goal of the season and the 30th of his AIHL career.
Neither team added to the score line for the remainder of the period, despite quality chances to both teams, and it finished 1-0 Adelaide heading into the first intermission.
Shots after the first period were 17-5 in favour of Melbourne.
There were penalties galore in the second period and both team featured heavily in the penalty minutes column.
However, it was two consecutive penalties in the opening minutes of the second period that proved to be very costly for Adelaide.
After Marcel McGuinness was given two minutes for tripping, the Ice seized the opportunity on the man-advantage with Armstrong opening the account for the Ice, beating Gordichuk to tie the game 1-1 with 11:34 to play.
Kyle Neuber and Harley Anderson were both sent to the box just 30 seconds later for tripping and slashing respectively, and then took an additional hit on the scoreboard. The recently arrived John Piotrowski added another power play goal to give the home team a 2-1 lead and swing the momentum back into Ice hands.
Things got worse for Adelaide as they lost Kyle Neuber to a Game Misconduct late in the second period.
After two periods of play it was 2-1 to the Ice and you could sense the game was about to break wide open. Again the Ice dominated the shot count, outshooting the Adrenaline 12-3 for the period.
The game did indeed break open in the third and the Ice managed the first two goals of the period in the first 8 minutes.
Todd Graham tallied for the Ice 75 seconds into the third, when his slapshot went wide of the net and ricocheted off the kickplate, off of Gordichuk and into the net. Graham’s second for the 2019 season made it 3-1 Ice with 18:45 to play.
Jacob Lundgren struck again for the Ice five minutes later to make the game 4-1 and the Ice started to finally pull away from Adelaide.
Jake Riley added a late consolation goal for the Adrenaline with 5:57 remaining in the game to pull it back to 4-2. It was the Adelaide youngster’s third goal of his AIHL career.
However, it wouldn’t be enough and the Melbourne Ice skated away with the three points, taking a vital 5 points from the weekend to generate some momentum for their struggling season.
The Ice went 2/6 from the power play, while the Adrenaline went 0/4.
Downie stopped 35 of 37 shots he faced in the win. Gordichuk stopped 38 of 42.
The win moves the Ice onto 8 points from 10 games on the season but they remain 7th on the AIHL ladder behind the Perth Thunder. Adelaide are yet to record a victory in either regulation, overtime or in the shootout this AIHL season.
The Ice will head to Perth against the Perth Thunder next weekend on Saturday, with the Adrenaline and Ice facing each other again on Sunday in Adelaide.