Canberra Chill have doused the Adelaide Fire on their home patch, emerging victorious in back-to-back penalty shootout wins after both the men’s and women’s contests ended 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
The women’s shootout saw opposing goalkeepers Sarah Steinhart (Chill) and Amy Hammond (Fire) both mark their respective debuts with impressive saves, with a final conversion from Naomi Evans ultimately sealing victory for the Chill and putting the footnote on an epic seesawing encounter.
Earlier in the contest, the Chill started red-hot with Kalindi Commerford smashing home a forestick strike with venom to opening scoring in the 13th minute.
Hammond quickly re-gathered herself to channel Commerford wide and deny the conversion opportunity to limit the damage.
The Fire responded in emphatic fashion dominating the second quarter and after three consecutive penalty corner opportunities went begging, Hockeyroo Brooke Peris crashed home an unstoppable strike into the top bins.
Steinhart responded to keep the scores level, but the resurgent Fire had been stoked and when Miki Spano deflected a penalty corner into the body of a Chill defender on the last line, Fire captain Euleena Maclachlan clinically scored from the ensuing penalty stroke to make it 2-1 at half-time.
The third quarter saw momentum shift 180 degrees with the Chill dictating terms to earn six consecutive set piece opportunities, with Commerford diving at full stretch to knock home in the 42nd minute.
Both sides traded blows in a tantalising final quarter, with Commerford almost getting on the end of a late chance before the Fire went coast-to-coast to see Player of the Match Jane Claxton hit the post.
Incredibly, the visitors needed to see off six penalty corners at the death to take the match to a shootout where, after both sides scored their first two opportunities, it was the conversion from Evans that saw the bonus point head back to the nation’s capital.
“We did have to grind. The momentum shifted a few times in the game and clearly it could have gone either way and they had those penalty corners at the end,” Commerford said post-match.
In the men’s contest, a remarkable debut from Chill goalkeeper Max Robson and outstanding forward craft from Player of the Match Connor Tuddenham were the talking points in a hard fought away win to kickstart Canberra’s campaign.
Early in the contest, the Chill dominated possession and they took advantage with star Indian signing Rupinder Pal Singh opening his goal account with a powerful drag flick in the 13th minute.
Their advantage was nearly doubled when tireless contributor Jake Staines fed a decisive pass to the far post, but teammate Jamie Hawke was unable to guide it on target.
Canberra continued to threaten with Tuddenham and then Gary Bachus going close with attempts, before Adelaide Fire midfielder Peter Scott started to take a foothold on the match.
Scott completed a fine treble in quick succession, first earning the home side’s first penalty corner, then fired a powerful tomahawk at Robson before running the length of the field to almost connect with teammate Alistair Oliver.
While the Chill exerted control with a methodical build up of play, the Fire resorted to counter attacking moves and came close when Robson was called upon to make a fine double save before Fire forward Fraser Heigh thrashed over the bar.
At the other end, Tuddenham and Staines continued to create headaches with repeat circle entries and eventually they doubled their advantage when Rupinder returned to launch an unstoppable rocket flick on three quarter time.
Seemingly in control, a mishandle deep in defence by the Chill was ruthlessly punished by Heigh with a clinical field goal and conversion to send the match to a shootout.
From there, the match followed a similar script to the women’s contest with Scott and Bachus both scoring for the Fire and Chill respectively, before Heigh hit the post.
Tuddenham was denied by Fire keeper Jed Snowden, but from there Robson capped an incredible debut to save from Fred Gray and Charl Ulrich in succession.
After Davis Atkin scored, it set the scene for Rupinder Pal Singh to stamp his class and he duly obliged on the second attempt to ice the result.
“It was really exciting (to debut) and I’m glad to get the opportunity to play with the team,” Robson said post-match.
“My performance was only part of the team effort. Even the saves I made, especially on penalty corners, are a result of how I can offset in the net because my teammates are running good lines and they helped me when I was nervous to debut.”
Canberra Chill will now prepare to host NSW Pride next Saturday, while Adelaide Fire have the bye in Round 4.
Every match of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season is LIVE and free on 7plus.
Match report courtesy of Adam Clifford
Match Details – Women’s Match
Adelaide Fire 2 (Peris 19’, Maclachlan 26’)
Canberra Chill 2 (Commerford 13’/42’)
Canberra Chill won shootout 3-2
Saturday 21 October 2023
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 2.Brittany Wang, 4.Chloe Holland, 5.Holly Evans-Gill, 6.Euleena Maclachlan (c), 8.Miki Spano, 10.Carly Hoffmann, 11.Lucy Sharman, 12.Erin Cameron, 13.Hattie Shand, 15.Brooke Peris, 17.Katie Sharkey, 18.Anna Crowley, 21.Amy Hammond (gk), 25.Jane Claxton, 26.Linzi Appleyard
Canberra Chill Women’s Team: 2.Katie Mullan, 5.Claudia Johnston, 6.Roisin Upton, 7.Naomi Evans (c), 8.Sarah Hawkshaw, 11.Tamsin Bunt, 13.Edwina Bone, 16.Georgie Smithers, 17.Kaitlin Cotter, 18.Olivia Martin, 21.Mikaela Patterson, 23.Kalindi Commerford, 25.Lauren Yee, 28.Catriona Bailey-Price, 31.Sarah Steinhardt (gk)
Match Details – Men’s Match
Adelaide Fire 2 (Heigh 50’/50’)
Canberra Chill 2 (Rupinder 13’/45’)
Canberra Chill won shootout 3-1
Saturday 21 October 2023
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 1.Kieran Govers, 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 3.Lucas Toonen, 6.Matthew Magann, 7.Peter Scott, 9.Fred Gray (c), 10.Lachlan Arneil, 11.Kyton Rayner, 12.Mitchell Dell, 13.Alastair Oliver, 14.Fraser Heigh, 17.Charl Ulrich, 21.Jed Snowden (gk), 23.Hassan Singh, 25.Jethro Eustice
Canberra Chill Men’s Team: 2.Ben Staines, 4.Jaume Torras, 5.Jesse Absolom, 6.Connor Tuddenham, 8.Sean Baker, 9.Jamie Hawke, 10.Owen Chivers, 11.Garry Backhus, 12.Jake Staines, 15.Hayden Dillon (c), 22.Jay Macdonald, 24.Davis Atkin, 26.James Jewel, 27.Max Robson (gk), 33.Rupinder Pal Singh