The CBR Brave claimed the inaugural Beyondblue Cup, cruising to an 8-2 victory against the Adelaide Adrenaline at Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre Saturday night.
The Beyondblue Cup will be contested each year between these two sides to raise awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience against depression.
The Brave set up the win with a dominating second period where the home side added four goals to one, while Kelly Geoffrey scored a hat-trick.
The Brave were looking to improve on their performances over the past two weeks and were hoping that they could keep their discipline against the Adelaide team who pushed them all the way in the opening round.
Brave coach Brad Hunt was clearly satisfied with the victory and the way his team executed the week’s emphasis on defence.
“It was a great win,” Hunt said. “We took what we practiced all week and it’s finally paid off. The guys played 50 minutes of hockey which was fantastic.”
Adrenaline coach Ryan O’Handley said his team was good in the first and third but lapses cost them dearly.
“We played a really good third period,” O’Handley said. “The first 10 minutes of the first, we played really well. We had some opportunities but just couldn’t bury them. Hats off to them, they played a really good game in their rink.”
Both teams had spells of possession in the first with Kyle Mariani taking advantage of a home team power play at 13:40 with his shot sneaking through the pads of young Adrenaline keeper Charlie Smart.
Adelaide was starved of the puck but took full advantage when given half an opportunity and equalised against the run of play through Sean Greer at 8:07.
The Brave controlled possession throughout the remainder of the period, as Kelly Geoffrey’s first goal of the night sent the teams into the first intermission at 2-1.
Jordan Gavin scored at 10:49 of the second period, and within a minute, the Brave scored another with Kai Miettinen opening his goal account for this season- making it 4-1
Adelaide’s Tyler Grove continued to impress AIHL fans as his speed and agility kept the defence busy all night.
Grove was able to assist Jonathan Boxill as he pulled one back at 9:21 in the second, narrowing the goal differential to two.
Adelaide still looked like a side capable of scoring more goals, but weren’t able to execute and make the most of their chances as the Brave stood firm.
The Brave looked a different team mentally from the team that took the ice on the previous Sunday. Defensively they looked more organised and assertive.
As player’s sticks broke on the ice, so did the enthusiasm and any hopes of an Adelaide comeback.
“[There was] a little bit of a momentum swing and they finished some chances and that’s pretty much it,” O’Handley said. “We had some opportunities in the second we couldn’t capitalise on, and they buried theirs and that’s what can happen in this game. Defensively they were well-structured.”
CBR Brave’s leading goal-scorer, Kelly Geoffrey, scored his second goal with five minutes remaining to continue the waves of goals, and he sealed his first hat-trick in the AIHL with an unassisted short-handed goal prior to the break (3:11).
In a tough reality check for Charlie Smart, the young goaltender was pulled in favour of Peter King for the third period after conceding four goals from five shots in the second period.
In an even third period, both teams threatened but the 6-2 score line stood for most of the period. With nine minutes remaining, Adelaide goal scorer Sean Greer and CBR’s Harry Byers were involved in an altercation in back play which earned each of them a major penalty, an early shower break and a suspension for their teams’ respective Sunday games.
The Brave retaliated appropriately with goals from David Dunwoodie at 7:19 in the third and AIHL scoring leader, Stephen Blunden (3:57), to make it 8-2.
Josh Unice was allowed to clock off early allowing for local favourite Stuart Woodall to make his first home appearance this season keeping a clean sheet to end the game and making it 2-0 for the Brave between the two teams this season.
Despite the loss, O’Handley refused to blame his team’s heavy travel schedule for the loss.
“We don’t want to use travel as an excuse,” O’Handley said. “It was in the second period where the game got away from us there and there’s a few things we need to clean up.”
Brad Hunt was extremely satisfied with the team’s improvement in defence as they managed to keep the shot count down and contain the Adelaide attack.
“I don’t know when the last time we beat Adelaide twice in a season was but, you know, I think it was when I was playing years ago, so it’s got to be going on 10 years – it’s a good feeling,” Hunt said. “And it was great to win the Beyondblue Cup in front of the fans for the first time. It’s an important cause and it was nice to be able to put a show on for everyone.”
Next weekend Adelaide will host the Sydney Ice Dogs in a double header and the CBR Brave host a double header against the Melbourne Ice at Phillip and Ice Skating Centre.
Beyondblue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of anxiety and depression in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma. If you, or if you know of anyone who may be suffering from anxiety or depression, contact Beyondblue to find out more about how they can help.