|Posted on June 6, 2012 at 3:30 AM|
Anyone outside the hockey community would think that a West Auckland Admirals and the Botany Swarm pre-season game would be a neighbourly affair. But with the Swarm looking to avenge last weeks 7-4 loss to Avondale, the last game before the start of the NZIHL season proved to be more like a “neighbours at war” reality show. Except nothing was stage managed. This was tough formidable hockey, sprinkled with skill and large doses of shear speed.
The Admirals hit the ice running and had their first chance with barely 10 seconds on the clock, when an open goal went begging. The Swarm were pinged shortly after for interference but the Admirals failed to grab the advantage.
Estonian import Alexandr Polozov showed exceptional puck handling skills in front of goal but was unable to penetrate the Admirals goalie. With 8 minutes gone the Swarm were called for a high stick. The Admirals formed some structure to the powerplay but strong defence by the Swarm saw the penalty advantage snuffed out. With five minutes to run in the first period Swarm forward player KC Ball was caught across the face with a stick that must have rattled right back to his molars. The Admirals were forced to defend the powerplay and with seconds remaining Lyle Idoine shot the puck up to Josh Hay, who fired a pass from the left wing to a Jordan Challis bearing down from the right, who buried the puck in the Admirals net and put the Swarm ahead 1-0.
With 90 seconds remaining in the first period Admirals forward Duante Abercrombe took a heavy hit, ruling him out of any further play in the game. The tension continued with plenty of physical play and one each in the bin.
The second period started with 4 on 4, but Admirals continued with momentum and with just 8 seconds gone Travis McMaster fired a perfectly timed slapshot to level the scores.
With three minutes gone Dean Tonks picked up a loose puck, skated up the right wing, drawing the goalie as he angled his approach and scored with a nice wrist shot to the top left corner. 2-1 Admirals.
The Swarm replied 2 minutes later when the Admirals were penalised for tripping, taking only 30 seconds of the powerplay for Josh Hay to collect a nice pass from Jordan Challis and find the back of the net . 2-2.
With 7 minutes gone the intensity of the contest boiled over, with a heavy check into the boards by the Admiral followed by three separate fights. Thus began a regular visit to the penalty box by both teams as the physicality of the game continued unabated.
With the Admirals enjoying a 5 on 3 advantage, Dean Tonks fired a pass from the faceoff, which found Braedyn Durbin centre ice, who fired a low flat shot that hit the back of the net. Admirals ahead 3-2. The remaining 12 minutes of the second period was typified by some huge checks and intense competition for the puck but the score remained unchanged 3-2 in favour of the Admirals.
The third period continued in intensity, keeping the players panting and the score bench busy with management of the infringements.. With less than 3 minutes to run, Robby Chamberlain took position behind the Swarm net, passing on to Nick Henderson, who connected with Joshua Tucker in front of goal to slot the final point for the Admirals. Final score 4-2 to the Admirals.
Any opposition from South of the Bombays who saw this match might be a little hesitant as to their chances this season. Both Auckland teams are slick, fit and hungry. Hockey of this quality sure beats watchingcrap TV and augers well for an exciting NZIHL 2012 season.