Anyone who was witness to Game One of the series between the North Star Sirens and the Adelaide Adrenaline knew that this match could easily be the game of the year. In a game that was played at the intensity of a Grand Final, Hewitt Sports, Craig Tonks was rinkside to catch some of the best Australian Ladies Hockey this year.
The Sirens had the best of the early exchanges and both sides appeared to have started where they left off from Game one, with fast paced end to end hockey causing both goal tenders, Michelle Coonan and Sera Dogramaci to get into the action early.
The goal appeared to bring the Adrenaline to life with Bethanie Kavanagh, Kirsty Venus and Diana Glass stepping up a gear and this pressure lead to Candice Mitchell finding the net off a Sari Lehmann assist that tied up the scores at 1-1.
Some loose passes from the Sirens in the neutral zone gave Diana Glass the opportunity to build on the combination forming with Kirsty Venus for the Adrenaline’s second goal. Kirsty Venus then turned from goal scorer to goal assistant when she provided the pass for Kate Tihema to put the Adrenaline up 2-1.
The Sirens never gave up and kept pushing into the Adelaide defensive zone, only to be kept off the score sheet by Adrenaline goal tender, Michelle Coonan who was working hard between the red pipes and showing that Adelaide’s goal tending stocks are safe and secure for the future.
The second period saw both teams lift the intensity with some heavy collisions taking their toll on both teams with Kaylee White and Kirsty Venus being helped from the ice.
A line save by Melissa Rulli saved the Sirens from slipping further behind however with 10.58 remaining in the second period Kirsty Venus scored from a Kate Tihema assist. The goal flurry continued when at 8.03 Bethanie Kavanagh put away a Jess Dennis pass to continue her dominance in the AWIHL this season and the Adrenaline a 5-1 lead.
The third period continued the showcase all that the Australian Women’s Hockey League is. The physical and fast pace of the game opened up for the fast skaters like the Sirens’ Samantha Lai and the Adrenaline’s Kate Tihema.
The Adrenaline battled hard in the neutral zone and capitalised on any mistake the Sirens made. With 13.30 remaining in the match, some great work from Gabrielle Aston gave Meg Ayris her first goal of the game.
The Sirens showed that they will never give up no matter how close the score is and this was evident when Amelia Matheson and Kirsty Venus exchanged greetings and met formally. Matheson and Sharna Godfrey tried all they could to lift the Sirens and only desperate defence kept the Sirens at bay.
The game was drawing to a close when the English connection of Kirsty Venus and Bethanie Kavanagh combined to give Venus her second goal of the night and a final score of 7-1.
It is apparent that these two ladies will keep defenders, scorers and goal tenders busy this year. Offering her thoughts on her game, Kavanagh stated, “I have only played against Kirsty so it’s great to be playing on the same team. We have developed a really good connection on the ice and are great mates off it”.
Adrenaline Coach, John Botterill had these thoughts on the win, “Our aim was to be stronger in our defensive zone and to give each other better support as we move up the ice”.
Kirsty Venus summed up the weekend for the Adrenaline by stating, “We played really well, we stayed focused had a great win”.
In a game where the scoreline didn’t reflect the game out on the ice, Sirens Coach Mark Stephenson summed it up by stating, “The girls may be disappointed but they shouldn’t be. We can walk away knowing we need to work more on fitness and conditioning and will keep improving with more time on the ice together. It was great to see Holly McFadden make her debut”.
by Craig Tonks
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