Premier League - Semi Final Game 2
Falcons 6 - Tigers 2
Adelaide Falcons, Cole MacMillan (6) tucks the puck upstairs over the glove of Adelaide Tigers goalie Rusty Brewer, in the third period of Game 2 of the IHSA Premier League Semi Final.
[PHOTO - Ian Thurston]
The Adelaide Falcons have levelled the Best of Three Premier League Semi Final Series at one game each, following a 6 - 2 win over the Adelaide Tigers in Game Two of the series played last Sunday afternoon.
Czech import star Ales Kratoska returned to the lineup with a bang scoring a natural hat trick, with Cameron Critchlow, Cole MacMillan, and Quenton Tombleson adding single goals to give the John Botterill coached Falcons the victory it needed to stay alive in the best of three semi final.
Kratoska and Critchlow were both absent from the opening game and their return to the lineup was a big morale boost on the bench .
“The difference in the two games I thought was that we played a more physical game”, said Cole MacMillan following the win.
The Falcons carried three more skaters than the Tigers, and although the game was close for the first two periods, the Gold n’ Black ran out of gas in the final period.
“We had a bigger bench in comparison to the Tigers and we wore them down, and that paid off for us in the third period.” explained MacMillan (pictured), a former star player with the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, and now in his second season in the Premier League with the Falcons.
Despite coming out on the losing end in the second game, the Tigers were the first on the scoreboard when Jamie Holland beat Falcons goalie Ian Hunter on a pass from Ryan Foll near the midway mark in the first period. Two minutes later Critchlow evened the score on one of his signature unassisted efforts.
Kratoska, absent from game one with an undisclosed injury, scored the first of his three consecutive goals just before the end of the opening frame, giving the Falcons a one goal lead heading to the break .
In the second period, back to back goals from the Czech sniper gave the Falcons a two goal cushion, and supporters could feel the momentum gradually shifting against the Tigers.
The Tigers bench came to life at the 11:08 mark in the second period when Ryan Foll scored on a play from Gil Krnac, recharging the Gold shirts and the play seemed to pick up pace again.
The Falcons stepped up the tempo in the third period outshooting the Tigers 15 - 7.
MacMillan beat Brewer to the upper right hand corner on a setup from Jordan Geyer and Tombleson, giving the Falcons a three goal lead. Less than five minutes later another goal from the same line, but this time it was Tombleson, from Geyer and MacMillan, and that turned the lights out on the Tigers.
There were plenty of offensive opportunities at both ends with the Falcons outshooting the Tigers 38 - 32. Both goalies, Hunter for the Falcons, and Brewer of the Tigers made several key saves when called upon, with Hunter blocking 30 shots for the win, and Brewer, 32 shots for the Tigers.
MacMillan praised Hunter's performance after the win. “We received the goal tending we expect from Ian (Hunter) tonight. He made the saves we needed, giving us the opportunity to win the game. Hopefully that will carry our momentum over into Game Three.”
Play was physical throughout the hard fought affair, with both teams testing the other's bravado. The two man referee team of Mark Suncyzk and Mike Gainer handed out 24 minutes in penalties, 18 minutes to the Falcons.
Tiger forward Andrew Stapleton took a cross check to the mouth in the second period. After the game, the Tiger star reported he was a bit sore, but was quick to announce he was more than ready to play in the deciding game this week.
Both teams will be back on the ice Wednesday 6 September for the third and deciding game starting at 7:45pm. The winner moves on to meet the IHSA Minor Premiers, Adelaide Redwings, winners of the championship from the previous two seasons, in the Grand Final Series starting this Saturday 9 September.
SCORING - Tigers -10:46 - Jamie Holland (Ryan Foll): Falcons - 8:45 - Cameron Critchlow (unassisted): Falcons - 1:24 - Ales Kratoska (J. James)
PENALTIES - Falcons - 5:37 - Jayson James (Holding the Stick):
SCORING - Falcons - 14:01 - Ales Kratoska (unassisted): Falcons - 11:33 - Ales Kratoska (C. MacMillan, A. Zolotarev): Tigers - 11:08 - Ryan Foll (G. Krnac)
PENALTIES - Falcons - 13:26 - Matt Wegener (Hooking): Falcons - 8:27 - Corey Smith (Roughing): Falcons - 6:20 - Quenton Tombleson (High Sticking): Falcons - 6:20 - Quenton Tombleson (High Sticking):
SCORING - Falcons - 14:36 - Cole MacMillan (J. Geyer, Q. Tombleson): Falcons - 9:44 - Quenton Tombleson (J. Geyer, C. MacMillan)
PENALTIES - Tigers -13:25 - James Keane (Roughing): Falcons - 7:38 - Corey Smith (Cross Checking): Falcons - 6:04 - Matt Wegener (Hooking): Falcons - 5:49 - Cameron Critchlow (Roughing): Tigers - 5:49 - Kayne Fedor (Roughing):Tigers - 5:49 - Rusty Brewer (Roughing): Falcons - 3:18 - Corey Smith (Slashing)
SHOTS ON GOAL 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Tigers 12 13 7 32
Falcons 11 12 15 38
GOALKEEPERS - Tigers - Rusty Brewer: Falcons - Ian Hunter
GAME OFFICIALS - Referees - Mark Suncyzk & Mike Gainer: Linesmen - Hayden Crafter & Damian Smith
Scorer - Nicola Reese: Time Keeper - Claire Wise