The Brisbane Goannas have broken through for their first win of the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League season defeating the North Star Sirens 7-3. Craig Tonks with more.
When you have two teams playing who are running third and fourth in the AWIHL, you can be assured both will be out to maximise the opportunity to take valuable points.
The North Star Sirens made the most of the early with Melissa Rulli putting pressure on the Brisbane Goannas defence but it was Erin Bow who almost gave the Sirens the lead when her shot rang the pipes.
This exchange seemed to switch the Goannas on, when Tracy Holcut provided the crucial pass for Jemma Wallace, who put the Goannas up 1-0.
The ladies from Brisbane kept applying the pressure on the Sirens defence after Kaylee White earned some pine time for tripping, which proved successful, and with 7.19 remaining in the first period, Michelle Clarke-Crumpton put the puck past Sera Dogramaci for a 2-0 scoreline.
The Sirens attack was lead by Amelia Matheson and Sharna Godfrey who peppered the goal of Kristy Bruske however the assistance of Tamara Jones, Tracy Holcut and Tiffany Samain-Venning repelled most of the attacks.
With 6.04 remaining in the first period, Mellissa Rulli was again in the action when she linked with Anna Ruut to bring the score back to 2-1.
The Goannas hit back with 1.48 remaining in the first when Michelle Clarke-Crumpton took her tally to two goals for the match and the Goannas, heading to the break with a handy 3-1 lead.
The second period started with both teams lifting the intensity and trying to gain the upper hand in the neutral zone. The game became a mixture of desperate shots and desperate saves and it wasn’t until only 1.23 minutes left in the period when Melissa Rulli pounced to bring the Sirens back within closing distance and brought the score back to 3-2.
Both teams entered the third period knowing the game was there for the taking. Players were giving their all especially when Tracy Holcut crashed her own goal in desperation to stop the Sirens.
With 16.37 remaining in the match the Goannas captain, Jemma Wallace lead from the front when Michelle Clarke-Crumpton provided the assist for Wallace to push the Goannas ahead 4-2.
The Goannas managed to keep pressure on the Sirens defence which paid off when Melissa Bibby joined the scorers list, when her combination with Michelle Clarke-Crumpton took the score to 5-2.
The crowd could sense Goannas starting to run away with the game but the never give up attitude of the Sirens paid off when Sharna Godfrey clawed the score back to 5-3.
This could have been the goal that reignited the spark in the Goannas when the girls from Brisbane displayed a strong physical style of hockey to keep the puck moving up through the neutral zone. This paid off when Melissa Bibby took a Michelle Clarke-Crumpton assist to bring her tally to two goals and gave the Goannas a 6-3 lead.
With 7.02 remaining in the game, Michelle Clarke-Crumpton turned her double into a hat trick with another goal assisted by Natasha Farrier bringing the score to 7-3.
The Sirens kept coming but even they knew the Brisbane Goannas were not far from winning their first match in 4 years.
The final siren sound and the crowd were witness to celebrations well fitted to a grand final victory.
Brisbane Captain, Jemma Wallace stated post game, “All the girls who took the ice tonight knew exactly what their roles were and they did them brilliantly. We were getting better each game and everyone put their heart out there on the ice”.
by Craig Tonks
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