|Posted on June 15, 2013 at 7:25 AM|
It was quite the action-packed evening at Botany for the first game of the Auckland derby for 2013. The Swarm took on the Admirals, eventually closing out the game with a score of 12-4 to the home side.
There were a few notable firsts for the Swarm - Oliver Hay had just returned from Canada so had his first NZIHL game, and joined brothers Andrew and Josh to make the first time all three have played on the same team. Goaltender Jakeb Dix had his first NZIHL start, after coming in in relief last week in Christchurch, and was in net for the whole game, putting in a very creditable performance.
The Swarm were first on the board in period one, with Alex Polozov picking up his 5th goal of the season. The Admirals evened things up quickly, with a goal from Gareth McLeish as the Admirals got a lot of traffic in front of the net and were able to take Dix out of the play and shoot on an open net.
The Swarm struck back quickly, with a goal from Mickey Rhodes, who grabbed his own rebound to slide it past Admirals goalie Greg Davis. Josh Hay put a bouncing puck just over the top of Davis' pads to give the Swarm a two goal lead, but a minute later Nick Henderson picked up a second goal for the Admirals – firing it high and picking his spot perfectly -- to bring them back within one. With just over a minute remaining in the first period, Evan Mackintosh picked up his 5th goal of the season to leave the score at 4-2 Swarm going into the intermission.
Richard Idoine picked up the first goal in the second period, going end-to-end while the teams were four-on-four to wing the puck into the back of the net off a great set play. Brandon Contratto scored the Swarm's sixth goal, dekeing around the crease to wrap the puck past Davis' skate. The Admirals got another back on the powerplay shortly after that, McLeish scoring his second of the game. Josh Hay picked up his second a couple of minutes later, shooting high on a beautiful shot that gave Davis no chance at all. Rhodes picked up the Swarm's 8th goal, once again going to the front of the net and taking the hits to stay there and make a play, picking up the rebound of a shot from below the goal line and banging that home. With the special teams really clicking, another powerplay in the last 2 minutes of the period led to another powerplay goal, and a hat-trick for Rhodes as he popped the water bottle off the top of the net on another shot from in close.
The third period saw some stronger defense from the Admirals, and they were also the first on the board in the final frame, as Nick Henderson picked up his second of the game on the powerplay, sniping one past Dix for the Admirals' fourth goal. Polozov picked up another goal with around 10 minutes left in the period to extend the Swarm's lead, and a couple of minutes later Rhodes scored his fourth goal of the evening for the second time in as many games. The Swarm got their final goal in the last 90s, with Contratto picking up his second marker as the Swarm closed out the game without slackening pressure at all.
The Admirals bounced back last weekend after a rough game one to almost win the second game of their weekend series, so the Swarm will have to stay focused and disciplined for Sunday's game, as it will doubtless be a challenge, with the Admirals eager to bury the memory of this loss and the Swarm eager to hand them another. Check back in here, on Twitter and on facebook for updates, and go the Swarm!!