Shoot out Showdown in Newcastle

 It was with some apprehension that the fans returned to Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Sunday morning after the 7-3 home defeat at the hands of the Brisbane Goannas the day before.  It had been considered possible that the vastly improved Brisbane side would take at least one win this weekend but the Sirens performance had been less than ideal.

Time would tell if they could come away with the victory they were capable of.

sirens v goannas 2nd game9

Photo: Debra Jean Photography

Whether it was the early start or the demoralising defeat the day before, the first period started slow for the Sirens.  Communication seemed to break down, and uncharacteristic mistakes were made by experienced players.

Passes were made to no-one, and shots were fanned on.  The Goannas likewise seemed to gain momentum slowly and were unable to capitalise on the chances that the sirens gave them.  Two women who were on task from the puck drop however were the goaltenders. Dogramaci and Bruske worked hard relentlessly to keep their teams in the game .

The Sirens did slowly find some rhythm, as key forward pairing Amelia Matheson and Sharna Godfrey began to find their famous chemistry.  They opened the scoring three minutes in, as Mathieson put away a rebound.  When faced with a five on three penalty kill, the sirens banded together with some tight defensive play from Bow, Moon and White.  The two man advantage was successfully killed despite play staying in the Sirens’ end.

But soon after the game returned to five on five the Goannas tied the game by a swift wrist shot from Natasha Farrier.  The Sirens answered on back by a breakaway from Sharna Godfrey. As would continue to be the pattern for this game the goannas quickly evened the score.   Both teams gained momentum despite a power play to the Goannas, and more battling for possession through the neutral zone ensued.  The period ended tied 2-2.

The Sirens stepped up in the next period, battling for puck possession wholeheartedly. Both sides made promising runs into the other’s zones but strong forecheck from the Sirens and decent chemistry between the goannas’ defense kept the score tied.  Finally after eleven minutes of battle the Sirens broke through, with a deadly Kaylee White slap shot putting them ahead 3-2.

Undeterred, the Goannas continued to test the sirens, who were showing frustration as their communication began to break down again.  Dogramaci was relentless in net to keep them ahead, even saving two slap shots off the mask within a few seconds.  Eventually the Goannas found a way past, taking advantage of a defensive goof by the Sirens.   Johanna Frankenburger was allowed to walk through the slot unmarked and score off a perfectly timed pass, tieing the game 3-3 with twenty four seconds to go.

Once again, the period ended on a tied score and renewed determination for the two point starved teams.

The Sirens returned to the ice in the third sharper than ever, their plays executed with confidence not seen all morning.  Again puck possession was equally shared between both sides and both goaltenders were on hand to deny any opportunities around the net.  It took another Kaylee White slap shot from the point to open the scoring but again, an answer from the Goannas followed soon after.  Despite efforts from both sides the tie could not be broken, and the game ended with the score 4-4, forcing a shootout.

In the marathon of shots that followed, the crowd at hunter ice skating stadium were treated to a showcase of the skills of the two national team goaltenders, Bruske and Dogramaci.

It took eight rounds each side to reach a result – Melissa Rulli opened the scoring first on the seventh shot, but Michelle Clarke – Crumpton scored on the next turn, keeping the shootout alive.  It took five more rounds to settle the game.   Melissa Rulli scored again, drawing out Bruske then snapping the puck five hole in a classy move that had even Bruske tapping her stick in appreciation.  Dogramaci saved the next shot, tossing her stick behind her in elation as she sealed the Sirens overtime victory 5-4.

Despite an impressive effort by the Brisbane Goannas, the Sirens were able to salvage a single point from the weekend.  It may not have been their best showing but they now have two weeks to regroup and prepare for their final series where they face the Melbourne Ice in Penrith starting on the 23rd of February.