Puck luck. It’s cruel for one team and euphoria for the other.
It’s the term that will be floated around for both Adelaide and Brisbane after an edge-of-your-seat thriller in Queensland.
Both teams benefitted from a wild bounce but it was a favourable one for Adelaide’s Nathaniel Benson with five seconds to go in overtime that was the critical moment in a 3-2 Avalanche road win.
Before we get to the ‘puck luck’ we need to address a few things.
First: the goalies. Both were outstanding, stupendous, ridiculous, unbelievable, insert-your-cliché-adjective here.
Nick Novysedlak turned aside 52 saves in a ‘pour your heart out’ effort. He faced 28 shots in the final period and overtime and 55 in the game. Highlights include a stickless save on Jake Riley in OT, multiple screened shots from the point and sensational rebound control. Adelaide piled on the pressure late and Novysedlak was a seemingly insurmountable wall.
Brisbane were poised to win the game after benefitting from a wild bounce on the then-go-ahead-goal in the second. Derry Adler went to play the puck around the base of the back of the board. The puck hit a divot in the baseboards, deflected in front of the net and landed on the stick of Harley Anderson. Captain Queensland popped one past an unsuspecting Friederich to extend his goal scoring streak to six and give Brisbane the lead.
But the bounce everyone will be talking about is Nathaniel Benson’s OT winner.
With 10 seconds left, Benson grabbed the puck, went down the left side and sent a one-handed shot to Novysedlak in desperation. A poke check popped the puck in the air. In slow motion it landed on the back of the net, wrapped around the mesh, popped back in the air, landed on the goal line and Benson tapped it in with five seconds to play. A miracle goal in a miracle moment.
Looking to shake off a 9-1 home loss, the Rampage looked like they had their legs in the first period. The home side had their feet moving and drew three first period penalties, controlled some passages of play, and had the first seven shots on goal in the game.
Brisbane finally broke through thanks to their biggest star.
Off a neutral zone turnover, Stefan Speck found the shifty Owen Sobchak busting up the middle of the ice. The PHL-leading point man finished off a nice spinorama play to put Brisbane up 1-0.
Just 24 hours removed from a game where Adelaide pelted 66 shots on the Brisbane goal it somehow took eleven minutes for the Avalanche to register a shot on target.
The Rampage entered the second period in a much more controlled pace with Owen Sobchak playing solid two-way hockey, stopping captain Darren Corstens from a breakaway.
There were many scoring opportunities for Brisbane and Adelaide but both goalies made massive saves that were desperately needed.
For Adelaide, Friederich turned in easily his best performance of the season in the first two periods. He was busy facing 17 shots in the second period.
However, the one goal that did find the back of the net was off an unfortunate turnover. Derry Adler went to play the puck around the base of the back of the board. The puck hit a divot in the baseboards, deflected in front of the net and landed on the stick of Harley Anderson. Captain Queensland popped one past an unsuspecting Friederich to extend his goal scoring streak to six and give Brisbane the lead.
The Rampage wouldn’t have a lead to work with if it weren’t for Nick Novysedlak in net. He made 18 big saves in the second period, including a few nice toe saves. His best save came off a Jake Riley rush where he shut the door to keep Brisbane in front.
Then came the wild third period.
Adelaide outshot Brisbane 25-6 in the final frame, and registered 23 of the game’s 24 shots on target.
Forwards Yoann Levesque and Darren Corstens combined to create multiple scoring opportunities but Novysedlak stood tall.
Jeremy Friederich’s best moment came on his back door 2-on-1 save on Anderson and Smith. It allowed Jake Riley to tie the game shorthanded and beating Novysedlak blocker side.
You know the rest of the drama.
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