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Swarm vs Thunder, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July 2017

Posted on July 16, 2017 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (1)

The Swarm split their weekend series with the Dunedin Thunder, falling 5-4 in a close match on Saturday, and racing ahead to take the 5-3 win in regulation on Sunday.

The first 20 minutes of Saturday's game were fairly evenly matched, with the Swarm unable to tally on a 104s 5-on-3 opportunity, and what looked like their first goal washed out due to a high stick. The Thunder scored late in the period, on a low shot off the rush from Tristan Darling that took advantage of some defensive miscues from the Swarm. The Swarm did press back immediately with some good chances before the end of the period, but were unable to tally.


The Swarm tied the game early in the second period, with a goal coming from a give-and-go between Ondrej Kozak and Ryan Widmar. The Thunder scored again to regain the lead, and the 2-1 score held for a while.


Another couple of PP chances for the Swarm saw them pot one on the man advantage to tie the score up again, but the Thunder once more scored to regain the lead almost immediately. A strong effort from the Swarm saw them kill off a penalty and they ended the period with a couple of good chances.


Going into the third period, the Swarm once again evened the score early on, with Ryan Widmar scoring an aboslute beauty from below the circles. That tie held for a while before a goal from the Thunder's Leahy from the blue line saw them regain the lead. A great set of moves from Alex Mitsionis to deke around Thunder goalie Daniel Lee tied the game again, and the Swarm appeared to have an edge in chances and possession for a few shifts after that.


The 4-4 tie held until late in the period, when a bench minor for delay of game saw the Thunder take advantage of a PP to once again score the go-ahead goal as Joe Orr potted the eventual game winner.


Sunday's game, in contrast, saw a much more dominant effort from the Swarm, and they made that clearly early on by scoring less than 30s into the opening frame, as Robin Vortanov jammed the puck past Kane Easterbrook to punctuate a hard-working shift from his line.


Several powerplays for the Swarm followed as the Thunder took a couple of back-to-back penalties, but they were unable to score on them until halfway through the period, when Mitsionis picked up his second of the weekend on the PP.


The Swarm found some penalty trouble of their own after that, with several back-to-back penalties of their own. The PKers did an impressive job and closed out the period by further frustrating the Thunder to send the home side into the locker room with a 2-0 lead.


The Thunder got within one early in the second period, and the 2-1 score held for most of it. While there were fewer penalties that period, both teams spent their share of time in the box, and the Thunder tied the score on a shot just as a penalty for the Swarm was expiring, as Paris Heyd got an unchallenged shot off from the right circle and beat Swarm goalie Alain Giauque.


The Swarm came out for the third period Sunday ready to put the game away, and they made a statement with another early goal, as Logan Fraser scored just 29s into the period, getting the puck past Eastbrook to regain the lead for the home side.


The fourth goal for the Swarm came in a scramble in front of the goal mouth, with Ryan Widmar getting credit on the shot, and the fifth was a perfectly placed deflection by Lewis Commons off an excellent shot-pass from Kyle Jonsson.


The Thunder were able to claw one back with about twelve minutes left, and the last six minutes especially were a high-octane adrenaline-rush with dangerous chances going both ways.


The Swarm will be at home again next weekend, taking on the SKYCITY Stampede - just a fraction earlier, with puck drop scheduled for 4.45pm both days.

Swarm vs Devils, Sunday 11 June 2017: 7-0 Win

Posted on June 11, 2017 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (1)

The Swarm had a great bounce-back win on Sunday June 11th, notching their first home win of the season in a 7-0 shutout of the Canterbury Red Devils.

The first period saw no action on the scoreboard but plenty on the ice, as both teams brought a more physical game to the second match of the weekend. The Swarm appeared to have the edge in possession and chances, but were not able to capitalise early.


The first goal came early in the second period, after a hard-working shift that saw all the skaters touch the puck on a long cycle before Ohio native Alex Mitsionis jammed the puck in off a shot from Alexandr Polozov at the blue line.


Just 20s later, Swarm veteran Michael Attwell scored on a nice shot off the rush, with the assist going to Robin Vortanov.


That 2-0 score held for much of the middle frame, as both sides picked up their first penalties of the match. With just under 2min remaining in the period, the Red Devils were called for a holding penalty and then a trip off the faceoff, giving the Swarm a lengthy 5-on-3. They did not take long to capitalise, with import Max Hadraschek wiring it in from below the circles to bring the score to 3-0.


Mitsionis added a second goal early in the third period, scoring unassisted off a turnover behind Canterbury's net. At this point the visitors elected to make a goalie change, with Damien King coming out and Richard Bigsby going in in relief.


Just like Saturday, the Swarm appeared to be coring in bunches, and only about two minutes later added their fifth, as KC Ball tipped in a perfectly set up cross-crease pass from Alexandr Polozov. The sixth goal was only thirty seconds latter, as Attwell scored his second of the night, also unassisted.


Not content to rest on their laurels, the Swarm added a seventh and final goal with just over five minutes remaining, as Kyle Jonsson put a perfectly placed shot into the net after picking up the rebound of a shot from Lewis Commons that Bigsby had only just made the save on.


Swarm goalie Alain Giauque picked up his first shutout of the season; Mitsionis had his second consecutive 3-point night, and Attwell, Vortanov, Polozov and Andrew Hay each had 2 points on the night.


The Swarm have the bye next weekend, but will play their next games June 23rd and 24th in Queenstown vs the Stampede.

Swarm vs Devils, Saturday 10 June 2017: 6-5 SO Loss

Posted on June 10, 2017 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Botany Swarm suffered a narrow loss in the shootout Saturday evening at Paradice Botany, going down 6-5 to the visiting Canterbury Red Devils.

Belying the final score, the Swarm had the majority of the chances and zone time through the whole game, with 67 shots attempted to the Devils' 28.


The Swarm applied plenty of pressure and got a fair number of chances, but had more than a few pucks that were unlucky to not go in through a maze of sticks and bodies in front of the opposition net. The Red Devils also did an impressive job of clogging up shooting lanes and collapsing in to defend their goal.


The Swarm took an early lead in the first, scoring at the end of an extended period of offensive zone pressure during the Swarm's lone powerplay of the period, just after returning to even strength. Alex Mitsionis made a great move, wrapping the puck around the post and in from below the goal line.

Early in the second, the Red Devils tied it up, before the Swarm regained their lead with two goals in 10s from Ondrej Kozak and Max Hadraschek, the results of consistent pressure in the offensive zone. The Swarm appeared to have the majority of chances in this period in particular, and were noticeable in their success at puck retrieval and forcing turnovers.

In what seemed to be the pattern for the evening, this lead was not safe as the Devils first got within one with a powerplay goal from Christoph Hechtl, and then tied it up again at 3-3 a few minutes later on a shot from the veteran Chris Eaden.


The Swarm went ahead with 2 minutes remaining in the second on a second goal from Mitsionis, squeaking through Canterbury goaltender Damien King's pads, and they had a flurry of further chances to finish out the period.

The third period was an exciting one, with the Devils tying it up at four a piece before Mitsionis scored a spectacular goal to make it 5-4 and notch the hat-trick, with just 2 minutes left in regulation. The Swarm fans's exuberance in response was short-lived, though, as the Devils went the other way off the next faceoff to tie it up once again.


The 3-on-3 overtime proceeded with no change in the score, despite some solid chances for the home team. The shootout saw goals from Eaden, Mitsionis and Hechtl, which gave the 2-1 edge and winning margin to the Devils.


The two sides will meet again tomorrow at Botany with puck drop again at 4.55pm.

2017 Swarm Import Players

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (1)

The Botany Swarm will welcome four new imports for the 2017 season; three forwards and one defenseman.

Defenseman Petr Zítka hails from the Czech Republic, and is a 6'1 left-handed shot. He has played the previous ten seasons in the Czech U18 and U20 leagues, before moving between the Czech 2nd and 3rd divisions with SK Horacka Slavia Trebic, HC Chotebor and HC Havlickuv Brod.

He posted a career-high 9 points in 2012 with HC Chotebor, but the strength of his game is in defence. This was on display in his first outing in a Swarm jersey, in Sunday's preseason game vs the Admirals, where he was a noticeable presence. He has spent the last several months in New Zealand and has enjoyed getting to find out more about the New Zealand way of life so far.

American Ryan Widmar is a forward from Chicago, Illinois, and joins the Swarm after several years playing the EJHL (a Tier 3 USA Hockey league), and a season with IFK Strömsund in the second tier Swedish league, where he was a point-per-game player over 20 games. He was also noticeable in his first outing with the Swarm, playing on a line with Swarm veteran KC Ball and second-year player Ritchie Hopkinson. The three of them looked to have good chemistry as a mobile, effective, fast-moving line that were able to apply some offensive pressure.

Yet to arrive in NZ, Swarm fans can look forward to seeing Maximilian Hadraschek, a 22 year old forward from Germany. Hadraschek is a left-handed shot who has spent the previous 4 years playing in the 2nd and 3rd tier leagues in Germany, where he was an impact player for ERC Sonthofen 1999 in the playoffs.

The Swarm will also welcome another American forward, right-hand shot Alex Mitsionis of Ohio, a 20 year old who is fresh from a 42 point effort in 48 games with the NOJHL's Iroquis Falls Eskimos, and 9 points in 9 games with the Vancouver Rangers of the WSHL.

Thank You Andreas Kaisser!

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 10:40 PM

The 2017 Botany Swarm will take the ice for their 13th season with a host of changes in store as they seek their fifth Birgel Cup.

After 11 seasons on the bench, head coach Andreas Kaißer has stepped down, and will be replaced by former Swarm alumnus Brandon Contratto.

Andreas coached the team to all four of their previous Birgel Cup victories, holds the NZIHL record for games coached with 151, and for wins with 85. He also holds the NZIHL record for coaching the most regular season Premiereships, with three in 2006, 2010 and 2011.

He has also served as head coach or assistant coach for the New Zealand Men's U18s twice, the Senior Men's team six times, and the Senior Women's team in their most recent tournament, with four of those teams gaining silver or bronze medals in their respective tournaments.

The value of Andreas's contributions to the team and to New Zealand ice hockey as a whole through the past 13 years simply cannot be overstated.

The Swarm are and will always been deeply grateful for the time, energy and efforts he has put into coaching and building the team through the years. We would like to extend our greatest thanks to Andreas, and to his family, who have equally given much of their time and energy to supporting the team over the years.

Seeking Accomodation for 2017 Swarm Imports!

Posted on February 11, 2017 at 1:25 AM

Do you have a rental property, or know of someone with a rental property that would be prepared to rent to our imports from approx. mid April - end August?


The Swarm are seeking accomodation for their imports for the 2017 season, and would appreciate any assistance our fans and wider team family can offer.

A House/Unit or self contained unit within a house or on the property would be great. Furnished or unfurnished. Would also be interested in somewhere that has their own area within a house but maybe has to share a kitchen/bathroom if that is available.


We are interested in offering a variety of accommodation options to our imports, so if you think you can help in anyway or know someone that can, please contact Sue Fraser on as soon as possible.

Thursday 25 August: End of 2016 Season Get Together For Fans and Players

Posted on August 15, 2016 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The 2016 Botany Swarm Players and Management would like to invite all our friends, family, volunteers, fans and sponsors along to our end of season get together.


7.00pm Thursday 25th August at The Waypoint, 89 Springs Road East Tamaki.


Come and mingle with the players and say good bye to our import players who are heading back overseas - cash bar and bar snacks will be available.


We hope to see you all there so we can thank you all for your support during the 2016 NZIHL season!

Games 15 and 16: Swarm at Red Devils Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 August 2016

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The Botany Swarm have closed out their season with 20 points in the standings, and two tough regulation losses to the Canterbury Red Devils on their final weekend of games.

Game one in Christchurch saw the Devils take an early 2-0 lead, and despite a goal from Jordan Challis to get them back in the game, the Devils piled on another 11 goals through the second and third periods, while the Swarm saw even strength goals from Michael Attwell, Jamie Lawrence and Robin Vortanov to give a final score of 13-4 in favour of the Devils.

Game two saw a much less dramatic final score, with the first period entirely scoreless, and the second 2-1 in Canterbury's favour, with the Swarm's lone goal from defenseman Jamie Lawrence. Unfortunately, their efforts in the third period were all for naught, with the Devils adding another four unanswered goals for a final score of 6-1.

With these results, the Swarm are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and will finish the season in 4th place in the standings.


The Swarm would like to thank the fans for their support through this year, the management and coaches for all the work they put in, and all of our volunteers.


Thanks also to all of our sponsors for their generous contributions, to Gold Level sponsors Bottle-O Ellerslie, and most especially our major sponsor DHL.


We hope to see you all back again for the 2017 NZIHL season.

Game 14: Swarm at Stampede, Saturday 30 July 2016

Posted on July 30, 2016 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Saturday night's game in Queenstown was another nail-biter, with the Swarm and Stampede both putting together great performances and treating the fans in the rink and on livestream to an excellent game of hockey.


Similarly to Friday, both teams roared out of the gate with a lot of energy and plenty of pressure. The Stampede had an early penalty, and the ensuing powerplay saw a flurry of shots from the Swarm, but goaltender Aston Brookes and the Stampede PK unit did some strong work in keeping the puck out.


With just under half of the period played, the Swarm worked a great zone entry and kept control of the puck. An initial rebound slid just out of reach of any of the forwards, but came back to Logan Fraser at the blueline, where he shot it on net, and past Brookes.


The teams were sent back to their dressing rooms with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first period, as an injury to one of the linesmen necessitated both the cleaning of the ice and a pause to locate and dress a backup linesman -- many thanks to the off-duty linesman who substituted in for the injured Andy Mills.


The second period was consequently longer, as the remainder of time from period one was played after the intermission, with no change in the score and a big push from the Stampede which the Swarm were able to weather.


At the whistle after 4.45, the teams changed ends and began the second period proper.


An early penalty for the Swarm saw a dangerous Stampede powerplay take the ice. A superlative commitment to shotblocking and getting in the lanes, plus some huge saves from Hopkinson kept the Stampede powerplay at bay, although both sides' special teams were out there for almost the full two minutes.


Some five-on-five play followed that, until with about 7-8 minutes remaining the Swarm picked up another two minors consecutively. This time they had a couple of brief short-handed chances, and once again the Swarm's PKers did a fine job to keep the score static.


With just about a minute remaining in P2, the Swarm got a powerplay of their own, as Stampede's Bert Haines was sent to the box. The visitors made no mistake converting on this one, as David Lindgren picked up a bouncing puck that had been misfired by Jordan Challis and swatted it up high on Brookes to give the Swarm a 2-0 lead.


The third period was always going to be exciting with the battle for second place in the standings on the line, and with the Swarm holding the lead the Stampede came out fired up and determined to get on the board.


An early powerplay for the Stampede saw them get some more dangerous chances, and Michael Hopkinson had to make a spectacular diving save to deny the home side.


A second penalty to the Swarm was the one which was finally too much for their PK, and the Stampede's Mike McRae got the Stampede on the board and within one to put the score to 2-1 and send the fans in the rink to a fever pitch.


The Swarm responded quickly, as Jared Henderson scored to regain the two-goal lead, off a smart redirect right in front of the net that gave Brookes no chance to save it.


A minute or two later, the Stampede answered right back, as Harrison Marcharg picked up a loose puck in front of the Swarm's crease and fired it five hole on Hopkinson.


Several minor scuffles and a couple of penalties to each side followed, but neither team was able to add a further goal, with both goalies doing a fantastic job in net, and the buzzer eventually sounded with the Swarm ahead 3-2, as they handed the Stampede their first regulation defeat of the season.


This game was streamed, and the archived footage can be viewed on

Game 13: Swarm at Stampede, Friday 29 July 2016

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

In a wild game that saw plenty of special teams action and something of a war of attrition on both sides, the SKYCITY Stampede maintained their reputation as the team to beat winning 4-3 in regulation over the Botany Swarm in Queenstown Friday night.


Despite being outshot 41-23 by the visitors, the Stampede never trailed in the game, picking up the first goal midway through period one on a shot from captain Matt Schneider, in his first game back after missing several due to injury. The first period saw plenty of action for both sides, with the Swarm coming out with a strong forecheck, and killing off an early penalty. Some high quality chances for Swarm forwards were thwarted by a strong performance in net by Stampede's Adrian Volpe and by the shot-blocking and strong backcheck of the Stampede skaters.


Swarm goaltender Michael Hopkinson made some excellent saves to keep the difference to just one goal, including a sprawling save on NZIHL scoring leader Jade Portwood.


Both teams hit the post in the waning moments of the period, with the Swarm getting an especially close call from a wrister by Alex Polozov.


The Stampede took a couple of penalties in the final two minutes of the period, giving the Swarm a 50s 5-on-3 which the home side managed to kill off.


In comparison, the second period was a tumultuous one which saw plenty of fireworks and a significant portion of the game played by special teams.


The period started with the Swarm on the powerplay, which the Stampede were able to kill off despite some good chances for Botany. That early special teams action appeared to set the tone for the rest of the period, with only a few minutes of 5-on-5 action.


A collision with the Stampede's netminder Adrian Volpe as David Lindgren went hard to the net sparked off pushing and shoving between most of the skaters on the ice, and an abbreviated fight between Stampede's Jade Portwood and Swarm's Jamie Lawrence. Portwood and Lawrence were each sent to their respective dressing rooms with 5 and a game, while the rest of the skaters were assessed other penalties variously.


This continued for much of the next ten minutes, with players on both sides spending time cooling their heels in the penalty boxes.


Schneider scored his second to put the Stampede up 2-0 early on, picking up a rebound as the late man in after Hopkinson was drawn to one side on a rush and made the initial save.


The Swarm PKers were called on once again shortly afterward, and wound up successfully defending a 36s 5-on-3 along with penalties either side of that.


With just under four minutes remaining, David Lindgren put the Swarm on the board, finding the gap between Volpe's pads and the post and squeezing the puck in to bring the score to 2-1 after forty minutes.


The Stampede extended their lead to 3-1 very early in the third period as Braden Lee squeaked the puck past Hopkinson's pads right off a face-off.


Midway through the period, the Swarm got within one, as Alex Polozov redirected a shot from Saastamoinen at the blueline. The Swarm had several more high quality chances following that but Volpe was standing tall in net for the Stampede.


Swarm goalie Michael Hopkinson had some big saves in the third as well, especially on a chance by Callum Burns breaking in alone.


Proving that the fireworks were not contained to the middle frame, Max Marcharg knocked into Hopkinson on a rush to the net which also drew some more pushing and shoving between skaters, and as a result the Stampede were assessed a 5 minute major.


The excitement in a sold-out and very loud barn reached fever pitch partway through this penalty, as Matt Schneider was sprung on a short-handed break, and it took a desperation move from Jared Henderson to stop him. Schneider was given a penalty shot as a result of Henderson's trip, but Hopkinson was able to deflect it out of play with his blocker to keep the score at 3-2.


The Swarm were able to score later in the major to tie the game up at 3-3 off a shot from Sami Saastamoinen, meaning all three of their goals were scored on the man advantage.


This tie held for about 3 minutes before another minor for the Swarm saw them have to defend a final penalty kill, and Schneider picked up his hat-trick on a deflection in front of the net.


Despite some desperation attempts, the Swarm were not able to tie up the game a second time and the clock wound down with the score at 4-3.

This game was streamed, and the archived footage can be viewed at

Saturday's rematch will again take place at 7pm, and will be streamed.