Senior A League - Round 22 - Game 1
Jokers 2 - Redwings 1
The Adelaide Jokers have dealt the Adelaide Redwings a straight flush 2 - 1 defeat in the battle for the final playoff spot in Senior A League play Thursday night at Thebarton.
Both clubs will now go to a last minor round game to decide which of the two will advance to the Finals. The Wings will need to deal a better hand at the table, with nothing short of a three point victory getting them into the finals.
The much anticipated match kicked off with some good end to end play, both teams breaking out of their ends well, and goalies Jo Phillis of the Wings, and Jeremy Friederich for the Jokers making some nice saves in the opening minutes.
Damon Hoad got the Jokers on the board at the 7:14 mark when he fired home a pass from Jacob Clayton and playing coach Sami Mantere. Then just before the buzzer to end the period Mantere extended the lead to two goals.
Both sides battled through a scoreless second frame, but early into the third period Wing’s high scorer Reggie Mattchoss spoiled Friederich’s shutout bid with a tip in from a scramble around the goal. That however would be all she wrote for the Wings, who could not seem to beat the Jokers puck stopper, especially in close.
Friederich explained that his play this season has had a lot to do with the team’s confidence.
“Throughout the season the confidence on our team has continued to rise tremendously. We’ve had some big wins against top teams recently, and that has made us finals contenders. Going into Thursday’s game, we were as confident as we’ve been all season”.
Many of the saves he made against the Wings were from in close, and he has proven to be as strong in close as any of the goalies in his division.
“The key to making scrambling saves around the front of the net is to never give up. I know it sounds a bit cheesy but I just keep my body up and make sure I never put myself into a position where I can’t recover from.”
“ The Wings came out hard in the third period. They wanted to win, so some of those saves in the last period were tough ones to make. The win was a great team effort.”
(pictured l to r - Sami Mantere, Damon Hoad, and Jeremy Friederich)
Playing coach Mantere has had a busy season, coaching both the Jokers and the Adelaide Adrenaline of the Australian Ice Hockey League, but he's having some fun watching the club which he help to establish start getting close to a finals berth.
"It was a really tough game Thursday against the Wings “ said Mantere. “ You can clearly see the quality on their side, but even with a scrappy second half of the game we managed to match them and got it done” said Sami.
“It's absolutely imperative for us to make the finals. We struggled quite a bit last season and were never really in contention. We’re looking to expand into the Premier League and Senior B League next season so it’s really important to have some success to build around. “
A Senior A League finals spot would be a huge mental boost for the players and the club. Our C-League team has already clinched a finals spot, so success breeds more success.”
Both teams are back at it again on Sunday evening and the Wings are left with only one alternative, to win, or start looking to next season.
The Redwings outshot the Jokers 20 - 16 with Friederich making 19 saves for the Jokers, while Jo Phillis stopped 14 for the Wings.
Both clubs return to the ice again Sunday 10 September in an 8:15pm match , with the winner advancing onward to the Semi Finals. Meanwhile the Blackhawks meet the Tigers in a one game showdown to determine the Minor Premier starting after the Jokers /Redwings match at 9:45pm. .
SCORING - Jokers - 7:41 - Damon Hoad (J. Clayton, S. Mantere): Jokers - 0:16 - Sami Mantere (A.Smith, J.Kendall )
PENALTIES - Redwings - 15:40 - Matt Gardiner (Hooking): Redwings - 1:09 - Reggie Mattchoss (Hooking)
SCORING - No Scoring
PENALTIES - Redwings - 18:32 - Chad McMurren (Slashing): Jokers - 11:56 - Tim Freer (Hooking): Jokers - 10:40 - Travis Dennis (High Sticking): Jokers - 1:00 - Tim Freer (Clipping): Jokers - 1:00 -Tim Freer (Misconduct): Jokers - 1:00 - Tim Freer (Game Misconduct)
SCORING - Redwings -17:54 - Reggie Matchoss (T. Dunning, N. Dukovac)
PENALTIES - Jokers - 19:05 - Tom Alexander (Interference): Redwings - 11:25 - James Cunningham (Roughing): Jokers -11:25 - Travis Dennis (Roughing): Redwings - 8:16 - James Cunningham (Slashing): Jokers - 5:35 - Russell Kendall (Body Check)
SHOTS ON GOAL 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Jokers 8 4 4 16
Redwings 8 8 4 20
GOALKEEPERS - Jokers - Jeremy Friederich: Redwings - Jo Phillis
GAME OFFICIALS - Referees - Damien Smith: Linesmen - Mark Suncyzk & Ian Hunter
Scorer - Nicola Reese: Time Keeper - Claire Wise