Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - Submitted by Bernard McNamara
Team Bourke defeated Team Webster 21-20 in the 2017 AIHL All Star skills competition on Saturday afternoon at the O’Brien Group Arena. Team Bourke rallied back from an early deficit, clinching the win on the final elimination shot, which was taken by Adelaide Adrenaline star Josef Rezek.
“I tried to do something different on the each shot and I scored 4 from 5 shots, it was fun – all day was fun” said Rezek.
Team Webster jumped out to an early lead, dominating the Air Canada Fastest Skater competition, which was won by the Melbourne Mustangs Pat O’Kane in a time of 11 seconds and setting a new AIHL record in the process. The speedy forward also won the event in 2016, cementing his status as one of the league’s best skaters.
Home town hero Joey Hughes entertained the fans in the APA Group breakaway challenge, Hughes produced a football and took a punt at goalie at Peter Di Salvo for his first shot. For this second and third shots, Hughes dragged the puck in between his legs and scored a pair of goals in the top corner.
All Star Captain, Jamie Bourke led his side in the shooting accuracy, hitting all four targets in just 9.3 seconds, shattering the previous record of 18.91, whcih was set by the CBR Braves' Stephen Blunden.
Bourke was perfect in the final round, against the Sydney Ice Dogs Rory Rawlyk, hitting all four targets with only four shots.
“When Rory jumped up and took his shots, he got three in a row and I thought there’s no chance here – I’m done” laughed Bourke.
“I guess I fluked it, I didn’t think was going to get four in a row – lucky me I guess” exclaimed Bourke.
Mustangs team mate, Matt Beattie blew away the completion in the Skaters Network Hard Shot competition, the import defenseman unleashed a 146km slap shot to seal the win for Team Bourke. The hardest shot ever recorded at the AIHL skill competition held by a former Melbourne Mustangs’ import defenceman James Isaacs, who recorded a 153km/hr slap shot in 2016.
Hughes took out his second event of the day, winning the Riffle Media Stickhandling competition, the Melbourne Ice Star beat out Sydney Bears forward Tyler Noseworthy in a photo finish.
The skill competition culminated with the Ryzer Elimination shootout, team Brouke had the edge as team mates Gordie Wudrick and Josef Rezek battled each other all way, pushing the shootout to five rounds before the Adelaide sharp shooter scored the winning goal.
“It feels good to get the win” said Bourke “Hopefully we keeping it rolling into the All Star game and get the win tomorrow” said Bourke
Team Webster and Team Bourke were back in action on Sunday afternoon in the 2017 AIHL All Star game. The players were also competing for the Mick McCormack Cup which was awarded to the All Star Game MVP along with a cash prize.