|Will shutout leads Adrenaline over Ice
The Adelaide Adrenaline’s Michael Will made 26 saves to record a shutout, helping his team defeat the Medibank Melbourne Ice 4-0 on Saturday evening at the Adelaide Ice Arena.
Adelaide coach Ryan O'Handley was pleased with how the entire team contributed to get the win against the second-ranked team in the competition.
"It was a team effort," O'Handley said. "Every single man on our bench got ice time tonight—that's what we've been talking about the last few weeks."
It took almost half an hour of playing time for the first goal to be scored, with a lacklustre first period where both sides lacked intensity.
Melbourne head coach, Brent Laver, thought the Ice were slow to start and needed to play with more energy.
“We just broke down in some really simple, key areas. We need to adjust and bring that intensity," Laver said. "It did seem like a little bit of a slow start to be honest."
Melbourne’s Gustaf Huth made a couple of outstanding saves in the second period before Adelaide captain Greg Oddy opened the scoring under two minutes from the end of the period. Brett Liscomb's shot rebounded to Oddy right of the slot and he slapped it into the top-right corner of the goal, past a diving Huth.
The third period was all the Adrenaline, outshooting the Ice 17:8 and piling on the pressure and creating turnovers; three goals in the second half of the period.
Laver thought Melbourne's turnovers cost them tonight with all four goals coming from turnovers.
"A couple of little mishaps. A couple of little breakdowns," Laver said. “In the end, if you want to look at it, four turnovers ended in four goals."
Adelaide's final goal echoed Laver’s comment with Wehebe Darge stealing the puck from Todd Graham in Melbourne's defensive zone and firing a shot into the back of the net, giving the Adrenaline a 4-0 win. The other goals were scored by Josef Rezek and Charlie Huber.
Oddy praised the team's performance, saying they were all committed, and it showed on the scoreboard Saturday night.
"I think we're playing desperate hockey and it's paying off,” Oddy said. “The guys are working hard. Everyone's on the same page, and everyone's going in to bat for each other."
The victory gives Adelaide three wins in a row and keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the Melbourne Ice drop to third on the ATC Productions Standings.
O’Handley feels that having an injury-free lineup has really helped Adelaide gain momentum and produce victories.
“We’re getting guys back,” he said. “Although Mans Lindgren hasn’t put up a lot of points his energy and close on a defenceman for the forecheck gives [Greg] Oddy and Brett Liscomb a lot of room. Getting guys like that back in the line-up makes a huge difference to the hockey club.”
The two clubs met again on Sunday afternoon in Adelaide.
Next week, the Ice take on the Bears in Melbourne on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Adrenaline will have a bye before travelling to ACT and NSW to take on the Brave and Bears on the weekend of the 19th and 20th of July.