|Adrenaline shatters Ice with late comeback
The Adelaide Adrenaline staged an amazing late comeback to beat the Medibank Melbourne Ice 3-2 in a shootout at the Adelaide Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Down 2-0 with three minutes left, a goal from Greg Oddy and an equaliser from Wehebe Darge with goalie Michael Will pulled for the extra attacker sent the game to shootout.
Darge scored the equaliser with 25 seconds left on the clock, slotting the puck past Jaden Pine-Murphy on the blocker side, sending the home crowd into frenzy.
"I stepped back from the play and tried to find some open ice," Darge said. "The puck came right to me, I just gave it everything I've got and put it in the back of the net."
Adelaide Adrenaline coach, Ryan O' Handley praised his team's performance, particularly Darge.
"He's [Darge] playing really well, he's healthy, got energy, and the last few weeks he's been outstanding," he said. "I can't say enough about his play right now."
Earlier, Melbourne's Jeremy Brown scored midway through the first period in a fiery, highly physical encounter, with both sides producing big hits. A Mitch Humphries' shot rebounded to Brown, who tipped it past Will's left pad.
The second period continued in much the same manner, with both teams taking multiple penalties as scuffles broke out after the play.
Melbourne had the majority of shots over the first two periods, tallying 22 compared to Adelaide's 11, ending the game with 31 shots to 21.
Ice head coach Brent Laver said that Melbourne was the better team, but we're unable to deliver the final blow.
"We were on top for forty nine minutes and twenty eight seconds," he said. "We executed everything we spoke of this morning—we're absolutely gutted."
Melbourne dominated most of the third period, and when Jason Baclig scored midway through the stanza to give them a 2-0 lead, it looked as if they were well in control.
However, the late strike from Oddy, who flicked the puck past Pine-Murphy from the slot gave the home team the spark they needed.
A late flurry of saves from Pine-Murphy was not enough to stop Darge scoring in the final minute, taking the game into a shootout.
O'Handley praised the way his team did not give up, after being down by two goals late in the third period.
"We don't quit,” O’Handley said. “Melbourne played a hell of a game, but we had a couple of lucky bounces go our way in the end. Until the buzzer goes, the game's not over."
The Ice and Adrenaline were the two most successful shootout units this season with the Ice having played four (3-1) and the Adrenaline (4-1). However, the shootout was a quick affair with Tommy Powell and Lliam Webster unable to convert their opportunities with the puck ricocheting off the post in both instances, while Wehebe Darge and Josef Rezek both scored theirs to seal a famous victory for the South Australians.
Next week, the Adrenaline have a bye before returning to take on the Brave and Bears the following week, while the Ice will take on the Bears at the Medibank Icehouse on Sunday afternoon.