The Sydney Bears made headlines earlier this week, signing three talented players in its Goodall Cup push. Fans will be able to see all three in action this weekend against the Adelaide Adrenaline at Macquarie Ice Rink.
The league-leading Sydney Bears will be looking to continue its hot streak, having won six games in a row. The Adelaide Adrenaline, meanwhile, will be desperate to end a four-game losing skid and gain ground on its conference opponents.
This will be the final time this season that the Adrenaline and Bears will face each other. The reverse fixture in Adelaide ended in a 6-3 victory for the Bears, but the contest was closer than the scoreline suggested.
Adelaide got off to a quick start, leading 3-0 after the first ten minutes of the opening period. Andrew Hamilton, Tyler Leeming, and Zachary Steele scored the goals, and Darcy Walsh added two assists.
However, the Bears shut the Adrenaline down for the remaining fifty minutes and clawed their way back into the contest. Ace Cowans, Kenshin Hayashi, and Tommy Steven scored to tie the game up before the end of the first period.
Ryan Annesley and Lukas Vaic added markers in the second period, and Michael Schlamp added to his three assist night with a goal in the final frame to seal the victory and his Skater's Network AIHL Player of the Week award.
Both teams have made roster changes since that week two contest. Unfortunately, Adrenaline import Darcy Walsh has returned overseas after an injury, while Annesley and Schlamp will be unavailable this weekend for the Bears.
Versatile skater Timothy Newmark will continue providing cover on the blue line. New signings Jake Pappalardo, Hayden Dawes, and James Downie are all slated to play.
Import Andrew Hamilton continues to drive the offence for Adelaide, posting Cy Young numbers with nine goals and two assists.
Congratulations to Nathaniel Benson and his partner Lauren, as the Adrenaline announced earlier this week the couple have welcomed a new baby girl, Oakley, into their family.
Benson (seven points in five games) and Joey Macdougall (eight points in eight games) join Hamilton as the only players on the Adrenaline to record a point per game or more.
The Bears feature ten players on their roster with a point per game or more, including the first line of Joshua Lammon, Ace Cowans, and Tommy Steven.
Some of the Adrenaline players will be familiar with new Bear Hayden Dawes, having faced him as part of the now defunct Pacific Hockey League. Dawes was the regular season MVP for the Melbourne Ducks, who were eliminated by the Adelaide Avalanche in the finals.
According to Hugh Whittle, writing for the Adrenaline website, "The Adelaide locals that faced him [Dawes] last year need to trust that they know how to shut Dawes down, as they did in the PHL finals".
For Dawes, it will be the first competitive game in nine months, and he is relishing the opportunity to help his team against the Adrenaline.
“Last time I played some of those guys [players from the Avalanche who are now playing for the Adrenaline], they ended my season," Dawes said. "I just want to make sure I’m playing the right way, and hopefully, we can end up on the winning side of things on Saturday.”
With Tommy Steven on a 10-game scoring streak and Tomas Landa on a five-game streak of his own, there are plenty of weapons the Adrenaline need to be wary of.
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