Originally published on theaihl.com.
The Adelaide Adrenaline played their first preseason match of the 2015 season, facing an Ice Hockey South Australia [IHSA] A-grade All-Star team at the Adelaide Arena on Saturday night in a shortened exhibition game.
The Adrenaline came away with a 5-1 win despite missing players such as Australian under 20 captain Kayne Fedor, who is still overseas, and Wehebe Darge with a hand injury.
Adrenaline coach Ryan O’ Handley said the players were really happy to be back on the ice and playing competitively.
“The guys just wanted to play a game— we’ve been practicing and practicing for a few months now,” O’ Handley said. “It was good the A-grade team could get a reasonable team together.”
The All-stars included two Swedish players trying out for the Adrenaline Jonathon Bjurestam and Kevin Rowa-Engstrom, both who played with the Sydney Bears in the first Wilson Cup game last week.
Adelaide came out firing, scoring two goals in the first minute with Greg Oddy opening the scoring, while Tyson Boyd added another only seconds later.
Oddy said it was good to start well and score a couple of early goals.
“Josh [Harding] was taking it along the boards, and I snuck in behind the defence, and he hit me with a great pass,” said Oddy. “We wanted to jump on them early.”
The All-stars woke up after the second goal, and started to frustrate the Adrenaline with some solid forechecking.
However, the pressure was released late in the period with Josh Harding adding a third goal for the Adrenaline after the puck deflected off an All-Stars defender and into the back of the net.
The start of the second and final period was tight, with the All-Stars managing to find the net when Rowa-Engstrom jammed the puck past Adrenaline goalie Andrew Glass.
Adelaide’s pre-season training paid off towards the end of the second, scoring two late goals at the end of some sustained puck control.
Josh Harding scored his second goal and third point with a one-timer from the slot that rocketed into the back of the net, before Zach Boyle added Adelaide’s fifth.
O’Handley was pleased with the performance and did not want to read into a few rusty passes.
“You’re going to have a few pucks bounce on you, but I’m not too worried about that,” O’Handley said. “Towards the end of the game we were really starting to control the puck and move it well.”
O’Handley also confirmed that Wehebe Darge would be ready for the season after breaking his hand in North America.
Four Adrenaline players including Darge and Oddy will be heading to the World Championships with Australia before returning only a couple of days before their opener against the North Stars in Newcastle on April 25.