After an epic 17 shot shootout, the North Star Sirens have defeated a determined Brisbane Goannas in Newcastle, Craig Tonks reports.
The second match up of the weekend at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium was a chance for the Brisbane Goanna to record their second win of the season and the opportunity for the North Stars Sirens to make amends for a lacklustre performance the night before.
The Sirens started strong with Melissa Rulli applying pressure to the Goannas defence and Amelia Matheson combining well with Sharna Godfrey however Brisbane goal tender Kristy Bruske held firm between the red pipes..
The Goannas turned defence into attack with effective defensive pairings consisting of Tamara Jones, Megan Sorenson, Jemma Wallace and Ainslie Gardiner.
Control of the neutral zone and speed out of the defensive zone were obvious priorities for both sides however the Sirens made the best of the early chances when the combination of Sharna Godfrey and Amelia Matheson put the Sirens ahead 1-0.
The Sirens were soon under immense pressure with 12.30 remaining in the first period when Andrea Lim and then Sharna Godfrey headed for some pine time and gave the Goannas some 5 on 3 hockey. It was only grit and determination that kept the Goannas out.
The ladies from Brisbane kept applying the pressure on the Sirens defence and it paid off with 9.34 remaining in the first when Michelle Clarke-Crumpton provided a great assist for Natasha Farrier to grab a goal and equalise the score.
The Sirens responded when Sharna Godfrey fired her second shot into the net and passed the gloves of Bruske to edge the Sirens ahead 2-1 but any doubts of a first win hangover were put to bed when Brisbane responded with Tiffany Samin-Venning assisting Melinda White with a goal and again equalled the score at 2-2.
The second period began with both sides displaying better defensive structure however the desperation that both sides displayed in the first period continued. The Goannas showed that their penalty kill was amongst the best in the league and continually improving with more game time.
With 6.05 remaining in the second period the Sirens Captain, Kaylee White released a screamer from the blue line to give the Sirens a 3-2 lead.
Not to be outdone Johanna Frankenberger took an assist from Megan Herlihey to grab her second goal of the season and tie the game up at 3-3.
The third period was the period with both teams in the prime position to take three valuable AWIHL points. An early Sirens power play was shut down by the Goannas with the best chances coming from Melissa Rulli but the best defence coming from Tamara Jones.
With 11.00 remaining in the third period Amelia Matheson provided the assist for Kaylee White to grab her second goal of the morning and a 4-3 Sirens lead.
The intensity lifted for the next few sections of play with some big plays and scrambling defence from both sides until there was only 3.55 minutes remaining in the game when the lethal combination of Natasha Farrier combined with Michelle Clarke-Crumpton to equal the game at 4-4 which it would stay till the last siren.
The shoot-out was to be a metal battle between goal tenders and shooters. On the seventh overall shot, Melissa Rulli snuck one past Kristy Bruske however the Goannas responded on the eighth shot when Michelle Clarke-Crumpton equalled by sneaking one past Sera Dogramaci.
The shoot-out continued with near misses and red pipes ringing until the fifteenth shot when Melissa Rulli struck again and got the puck through Kristy Bruske. The pressure was on Michelle Clarke-Crumpton to add to the Brisbane tally but a near miss gave the Sirens a shoot-out victory.
Newcastle coach, Mark Stephenson was happy for the win. “We worked much harder in our own zone today and we played much better as yesterday we just didn’t turn up”.
Brisbane Captain, Jemma Wallace stated, “They really came out flying today and we stuck with them. We are pretty happy with the outcome even though we lost today. We are still improving and have two key lines that are working effectively. We are looking forward to playing Adelaide in a few weeks”.
by Craig Tonks
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