|Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:30 AM|
With an absolutely nail-biting 4-3 shootout victory on Sunday, the Botany Swarm collected 5 points from the past weekend’s games – and won the Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio trophy for the first time in the team’s history!
The first period saw no change on the scoreboard, with both Swarm netminder Nicklas Marschall and Canterbury Red Devils goalie Daniel Lee playing very well, and both teams getting plenty of chances. The Swarm appeared to have the edge in both shots and possession, but were not able to capitalise in the first twenty minutes, despite a lengthy 5-on-3 powerplay.
The Swarm were again first on the board, with Alexander Polozov bouncing a rolling puck past Lee. The Devils struck back shortly afterwards, taking advantage of a turnover to get a 3-on-2 rush with some beautifully executed passing which let Chris Eaden tap the puck into the open net. Eaden also picked up the second goal for the Devils about two minutes later, left open in the slot a fraction of a second too long.
An incredibly tense third period followed, with the Swarm renewing their focus and coming out strongly. The Swarm equalised with Garrett Ferguson's first NZIHL goal, at a most opportune time. This was followed up quickly with a go-ahead goal on an absolute highlight reel move from Polozov, who with that goal reached 100 career NZIHL points.
The action continued to be fast and furious from that point, until with just over five minutes remaining Oliver Hay was give a 5 minute major for tripping, putting the Swarm onto the penalty kill for essentially the remainder of regulation.
A determined effort from the Red Devils saw them equalise early in the powerplay, with a goal from defenseman Evan Zych at the blueline. The Swarm were able to successfully kill off the remainder of the major, getting multiple short-handed attempts and running time off the clock in the Devils' zone. They spent the last two minutes of the game four-on-four after a Red Devils penalty, and much credit must go to the excellent performances of the penalty-killers, who put everything on the line after what had already been a weekend of tough, physical games.
The sudden death OT was to be highly stressful for spectators and players alike, as there were several very close chances. The Swarm acquitted themselves well in the OT, forcing possession and spending much of the 5 minutes inside the offensive zone. They had 11 shots to the Red Devils 1, and just missed the open net on a couple of well executed plays, hitting the post at least once too. The sudden death OT ran down without anyone able to score, so the game went to the shoot-out for the first time this season for the Swarm.
Ferguson was first up for the Swarm, but a canny poke-check from Lee saw his shot go wide. Vitalijs Hvorostinins shot first for the Devils and scored. Brandon Contratto was next up for the Swarm and put his shot past Lee to even the tally. Eaden was second to shoot for the Red Devils, and had his shot just miss, drawing iron but bouncing out. Jordan Challis was up next for the Swarm and also scored on a nice deke. Brett Speirs was the third shooter for the Red Devils, and Swarm goalie Nicklas Marschall made a great stop on his shot to give the Swarm the win, before the team piled back onto the ice to celebrate their win.
With this win, the Swarm took possession of Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio on their first challenge for it, and will defend it against the Canterbury Red Devils this coming Sunday.
This game was livestreamed, and the archived game can be viewed on nzihl.tv!