|Posted on July 26, 2014 at 8:30 PM|
The Botany Swarm took a valuable three points Saturday evening in a 7-2 win over the Canterbury Red Devils, playing in their third consecutive meeting of the 2014 season. This result leaves a deadlock at the top of the points table, with the Swarm, Devils and Thunder all on 19 points, although the Devils and Thunder do have 2 games in hand still.
The beginning of the first period saw some solid end-to-end action, with the Swarm forechecking and backchecking hard. Brandon Contratto picked up the Swarm’s first goal nine minutes in, picking up a rebound after a great end-to-end rush by Jeff Sanders. Less than a minute later, the Swarm scored again, as Jordan Challis picked up a loose puck after a shot by Oliver Hay and slammed that past Canterbury netminder Justin Findlay.
The Swarm then picked up two consecutive penalties to wind up 5-on-3 for almost 2 full minutes, but were able to successfully kill that off. Contratto scored again on a powerplay with just over five minutes remaining, as the Devils wound up with two in the box themselves. The Devils were able to kill off the second penalty, and went on the attack again, but sustained pressure saw the Swarm gain the offensive zone and a shot from the slot saw Contratto pick up his third for the hat-trick late in the first.
The Swarm had to kill off an early penalty in the second period, which saw Keegan Harnett get a couple of good short-handed chances, though Red Devils keeper Michael Coleman – who started the second instead of Findlay – was equal to them.
There was no change in the score for much of the period, and one alarming moment as Michael Attwell hit the turnbuckle by the bench. He was able to skate off under his own power, but sat out the remainder of the game as a precaution.
Jeff Sanders picked up the Swarm’s fifth goal with just three minutes left in the second, going high blocker on Coleman. Sanders picked up his second two minutes later, getting a breakaway chance and dekeing to put the puck in the net.
The Swarm picked up the first goal of the third period, on Kyle Jonsson’s first NZIHL goal, picking up a great pass from Dion Guest. The Devils were able to claw two back in the final frame as they started to get some better chances, peppering goalie Michael Hopkinson – who had replaced Nicklas Marschall for the final frame – with over 20 shots in the third. Chris Eaden scored midway through the period, and then scored again with just over a minute remaining to leave the final score at 7-2.
The Swarm and Red devils play again tomorrow night, with Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio on the line. Tonight’s game was livestreamed, and can be viewed on NZIHL.tv!