Senior A League - Round 11 Game 1
Tigers 7 - Redwings 4
The Adelaide Tigers won an important Senior A League battle last Sunday, beating their arch rival the Adelaide Redwings 7 - 4, moving them into sole possession of first place in the hotly contested five team division.
Tigers’ Captain Eric Lien led his team in scoring, firing two goals and also adding two assists as the Black n’ Gold improved their season record to 6 - 2 - 0 - 1, for 19 points, three points more than the second place Redwings (5 - 3 - 0 - 1, 16 points).
Ryan O’Handley also added a pair for the Tigers, with Patrick Jeffs, Jason Nordin, and Devan Seamans scoring one each to complete the scoring.
Reggie Mattchoss, James Cunningham, Matt Gardiner, and Chad McMurrin each shot single goals for the Redwings.
“All of our forwards are reaping the benefits because of how well our defence are playing in the neutral zone; the game is a lot easier when you are playing in the offensive zone as opposed to chasing the puck in your own end.” said Lien after the win.
The success of the Tigers offensive skaters has been one of the major reasons the Tigers are sitting in first place, but despite their success putting the puck in the net, Lien believes his line’s variance in style is what makes them a tough outfit to contain.
“For Stu (Henly), Ryan (O’Handley), and myself, we are very different players but we think the game the same so hopefully that combination makes us hard to defend.” explained Lien.
Four Tigers hold down the top spots in the Senior A Scoring race, with Henly, O’Handley, and Lien all on 13 points, while team mate Simon Jarred currently leads the league with 15 points. O’Handley leads all goal scorers with 9, while Henly is tops in assists with 12.
The Senior A League ladder is very close with the Tigers on top with 19, Redwings, next 16, and then the Falcons 14, Blackhawks 12, and the Jokers 5.
“The folks at IHSA must be commended for their initiative to create a top tier non-body contact league because it has lifted the standard of hockey from previous seasons and at the same time it has evened out two separate competitions (Senior A and Senior B).
"After the creation of the league the best thing IHSA did was limit the play-off spots to the top three teams because it keeps the entire season interesting knowing a very good team is going to miss out on playing Finals this year; so we’re doing our best to make sure it’s not the Tigers.”
“At the start of the year our team was not very good but our goalie Sam (O’Neill) bailed us out and afforded us the time required to figure out the best style for our team.” continued Lien.
“Now that we’re halfway in to the season it’s become evident we will not be out skating the other teams however we’ve begun to use puck possession to our advantage and lately it has translated in to success. We just need to keep scoring seven goals a game because heaps of goals always helps too.”
The Tigers led 3 - 1 and 6 - 2 after the first and second periods of play, with the Tigers out shooting the Wings in the game 31 - 23.
O’Neill blocked 19 of 23 shots fired at the Tigers goal to register the win, while Jo Phillis stopped 24 of 31 shots fired at the Wings’ goal.
The Redwings will have a bye in Round 12, however the Tigers will be back in action on Sunday 25 June, when they meet the Falcons in a Sunday matinee starting at 3:45pm, followed by the Blackhawks and Jokers facing off at 5:15pm.
SCORING - Redwings - 10:54 - James Cunningham (N. Pedder): Tigers - 4:05 - Ryan O’Handley (E. Lien, S. Henly): Tigers - 3:06 - Patrick Jeffs (S. Jarrad, M. Suncyzk)
PENALTIES - Redwings - 15:34 - Matt Gardiner (Hooking): Redwings - 13:13 - Bench Minor (Too Many Players)
SCORING - Tigers - 18:34 - Devan Seamans (unassisted): Redwings - 14:59 - Matt Gardiner (C. Pope, C. Wilsdon): Tigers - 7:42 - Ryan O’Handley (E. Lien, T. Reeves): Tigers - 5:05 - Jason Nordin (D. Maltby, A. Young): Tigers - 2:58 - Eric Lien (S. Henly, R. O’Handley)
PENALTIES - No Penalties
SCORING - Redwings - 17:04 - Chad McMurrin (R.Mattchoss, T.Dunning): Tigers -12:12 - Eric Lien (D. Seamans, T. Reeves): Redwings - 3:45 - Reggie Mattchoss (unassisted)
PENALTIES - Tigers - 12:44 - Ari Pullinen (Holding)
SHOTS ON GOAL 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Redwings 7 8 8 23
Tigers 9 15 7 31
GOALKEEPERS - Redwings - Jo Phillis: Tigers - Sam O’Neill
GAME OFFICIALS - Referee - Damien Smith: Linesmen - P.Cunningham & Mike Gainer
Scorer - Claire Wise: Time Keeper - Nicola Reese