|Posted on June 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM|
After winning Saturday's game by such a dramatic margin, the Swarm were prepared for the Admirals to come out strongly in the rematch the next day -- and they weren't disappointed. The Admirals had proven themselves capable of a comeback the week prior, almost pulling off an upset victory against the Stampede after having taken quite the beating in their Friday game, and it would've been a mistake to assume a second victory for the Swarm was guaranteed.
Bearing this in mind, it wasn't terribly surprising to see the Admirals forechecking and backchecking hard in the first few minutes of the period, trying to dictate the pace. After some close initial chances for the Admirals which meant Swarm goaltender Jakeb Dix had to be sharp, the Swarm were the first on the board, as Michael Attwell scored four minutes into the game, off an assist by Josh Hay.
The Admirals were able to equalise a couple of minutes later off a goal from Nick Henderson, capitalising on the strong early pressure they were applying. They took a lead about a minute later off a short-handed tally from captain Robert Chamberlain, who was able to break into the zone after some defensive misplays in the neutral zone and put a pinpoint shot past Dix.
The Admirals were able to hold that lead for almost the entire rest of the period, although the Swarm began to regain the edge in driving play, but it took until the final minute of play in the first period for them to break through and tie it up. The equaliser came from Richard Idoine, who one-timed a shot from below the far circles which didn't give Admirals' netminder Anders Jesperson a chance. Good discipline from the Swarm kept them out of the penalty box for the first period, which has certainly not always been the case in the Auckland derby games.
The Admirals started strongly in the second period as well, regaining the lead with a goal from defenseman Chris Belanger, but the Swarm came back with four unanswered goals to end the period ahead 6-3. KC Ball scored his first of the evening to tie it up again, and then picked up his second five minutes later on the powerplay, cashing in on good passing from Idoine and Mickey Rhodes. Evan Mackintosh scored what would be the eventual game-winner with just over a minute remaining in the second period. Only about twenty seconds after that Attwell added his second of the game to give the Swarm a comfortable 3 goal lead after 40 minutes.
Brandon Contratto scored for the Swarm a few minutes into the third period, as the Swarm's powerplay - which averaged almost 50% conversion over the weekend - went to work again, and that 7-3 score held for most of the remainder of the game. The Swarm had been able to roll all their lines consistently through the whole game, which gave them a fairly decisive advantage over the Admirals who had started with a shorter bench, and only seemed to be rotating two forward lines for much of the game. By the third period, this disparity - and the inequality on the scoreboard - was starting to take its toll, and the number of whistles and penalties taken by both sides increased accordingly.
The Admirals took a five minute major near the end of the game as Matt Roxborough was given five and the game for checking to the head. Compounding this with the coincidental penalty for roughing given to Alex Polozov, and an earlier penalty to Oliver Hay meant that the Swarm were initially the team left short-handed. Frazer Ellis was able to score for the Admirals in the ensuing 4-on-3, the only goal allowed by goalie Michael Hopkinson who had come in at the midway point of the game. The Swarm were able to regain the four-goal lead in the final minute as KC Ball picked up his third of the game for the hat-trick, which left the final score at 8-4, and the Swarm having put over 50 shots on net for the second night in row.
The Swarm will have their first bye of the season this coming weekend, before travelling down to Queenstown to take on the Stampede on the 28th and 29th of June. They will be hoping to maintain this momentum and to take some points back out of the South Island, especially after the Stampede split the results of the games up here in Auckland over the opening weekend of the season.
This game was also filmed for NZIHL.tv, and can be viewed in the archives!