Team Rezek with the win and the Mick McCormack cup. Photo: Rhys Lavender.
Goal was the word of the day for the 2018 AIHL All-Star Game as Team Rezek outlasted Team Boyle in a 13-8 win that saw a bit of everything… except maybe some serious defence.
A pair of goals to Team Boyle and Team Rezek had the clash off to a hot start as players quickly jumped into the action. Grant Toulmin had the opener for Team Boyle two minutes into the clash, scoring with a flickshot that teased Sebastian Andersson’s shoulder while never giving him a chance to truly stop it.
The lead was short-lived as Team Rezek bounced back with two goals in a minute through Perth’s Ben Breault and Ice Dog Ellesse Carini. Breault’s goal was one of the day’s best with the Thunder forward breaking away in a one-on-one with goalie Anthony Kimlin, who he bested with a shot through his legs. Nick Rivait had the final goal of the first to ensure it was level pegging after 15 minutes, burying a rebound that fell right into his lap.
For the second period, how do you beat a four goal start? With more goals! There was no rest for any goalie and with more lead changes than you could poke a stick at, you certainly couldn’t write off either side. Adelaide’s past and present combined for Team Boyle’s third as David Huxley notched an assist on a Caleb Apperson goal, before Ales Kratoska outshone them both. Somehow deflecting his own shot, Kratoska called on a touch of luck, regained possession, and slapped the puck home for a 3-3 scoreline.
Alex Adams after taking a dive on the ice. Photo: Rhys Lavender.
At either end limbs were flying as Andersson and Kimlin pulled off some remarkable saves to end their All-Star appearances with Glen Forbes-White and Peter Di Salvo taking their places for Team Rezek and Team Boyle respectively. Unfortunately neither goalie kept a clean sheet for long as Carini and Toulmin notched braces and pushed the score to 4-4.
Looking like the more clinical side, Team Rezek jumped ahead by two goals late in the third and it almost seemed as though they would runaway with the game - if not for a last gasp goal to Team Boyle. There was more hope for Team Boyle as Alex Adams put his flashiest moves on show with a fantastic backhanded flickshot goal, but with both teams firing the third was quickly 7-7 thanks to some free-flowing 4-on-4 play after Kratoska and Adams were penalised for… unsportsmanlike hugging.
The 2018 APA Group AIHL All-Stars. Photo: Rhys Lavender.
While it had been close all game the final 10 minutes belonged to Team Rezek who went on a scoring spree with six goals, meaning some teammates might have to put up with a touch of boasting this week. Still, there were no hard feelings, although the final moments arguably belonged to Kratoska who was flying and sliding all over the ice - before taking over in goal for a penalty shot to Adrenaline teammate, Adams. What happened? Adams scored a rocket to cap off an unimaginable All-Star Game and Kratoska’s goalie career ended quickly (we hope).