As the clock struck zero and white jerseys flooded the ice, the sounds of their hometown behind them, there was one name on everyone’s lips: Jessica Pinkerton.
While both teams had rocky yet successful starts to the weekend, Sydney overcoming a two-goal deficit to the Adelaide Rush to win 7-4 and Melbourne battling through a scoreless first period against the Brisbane Goannas to win 5-1, it was clear from the onset that both teams were here with one goal and one goal only: To walk away with the Joan McKowen Cup.
The Sirens’ lack of discipline was an early factor as they conceded their first penalty of the night just 17 seconds after opening face-off giving the Ice time to settle and take control of the game from an early stage. However, despite the early opportunities, Melbourne was unable to convert with both teams battling up and down the ice with both goaltenders doing their best to keep their teams in the race. The break would eventually come however with Jessica Pinkerton scoring her fight of the night to give the Melbourne Ice a 1-0 advantage heading into the short intermission.
The lead, however, was not long lived with Sirens captain Amelia Matheson scoring almost immediately at the start of the second to level the score once again. Yet it wouldn’t take long for the Sirens season-long penalty woes to kick in once again as Sarah Edmunds headed to serve two minutes for body checking. This time, however, the Sirens would not escape unscathed as Pinkerton went backhand for her second of the night.
A power-play goal by Sharna Godfrey would tie the score once again. However, heading into the final intermission there was time left for one more with Christina Julien’s excellent playmaking yet again setting Jessica Pinkerton up for the hat-trick with 32 seconds left in the frame.
Jessica Pinkertons third goal that secured her a natural hat-trick was nice and I'm upset about it pic.twitter.com/B4A9D7UPJk— Alyssa (@alyssastweeting) March 18, 2018
As the players returned to the ice for the final frame, the intensity rose once again with both teams knowing exactly what was at stake. The Sydney Sirens had never defeated the Melbourne Ice in a Championship game with last season’s win coming against the Brisbane Goannas instead. The Sirens now knew what it felt like to lift that Cup after years of standing on the opposing blue line watching other teams take the honour. For Melbourne, they’ve never lost a championship on home ice—the 5 AWIHL championship banners hanging at the far end of the rink a testament to that. This is a club that is among Australian Ice Hockey rings of legends. A combined 9 championships between the Men’s and Women’s sides, the last, as recently as September. The third oldest perpetually awarded Trophy in all of hockey was already sitting in the Trophy room above the rink just waiting for the space next to it to be filled once again.
As the refs put away their whistles, a series of uncalled cross checks, roughing minors, and one almost full out brawl went uncalled as Sydney fought to reclaim any edge, memories of their two goals comeback just a year prior lurking under the surface. Eventually, the dam would break just before the halfway point of the final period with Jessica Pinkerton claiming her 4th of the night, the final blow that would end Sydney’s hopes of going back to back. In the 12 minutes that followed never once did either team let up, but that would be it as the clock ran out the noise of a screaming home crowd.
A dynasty cemented.