|Posted on July 9, 2016 at 7:25 AM|
It was scorers in the spotlight across the NZIHL today, and the Botany Swarm did their part to contribute, taking a 9-3 victory at home over the Dunedin Thunder.
The Swarm were first on the board, scoring at even strength as Ritchie Hopkinson and Stephen Mawson combined to get Thunder goalie Villem-Henrik Koitmaa down in the butterfly and knocked the puck in over his pads.
A few minutes later, Thunder defenseman David Ferrari was assessed a 5 minute major for fighting and a game misconduct after an altercation with the Swarm's Robin Vortanov behind the play.
The Swarm made the most of the 5 minute major, scoring 4 goals on the ensuing powerplay.
David Lindgren scored the first just 20s in, picking up Teemu Rantanen's shot from the blue line. A great passing play set up the third goal, as Koitmaa was drawn out of the net and Alex Polozov tapped in the puck to the resulting open net.
Sami Saastamoinen scored the Swarm's fourth on a rising shot from the left wing circles that appeared to just go over Koitmaa's glove.
At this juncture, the Thunder made a goaltending change, with Jonas Barakauskas going in to repllace Koitmaa. Saastamoinen scored his second of the night shortly afterward, firing from below the circles that time.
With five minutes remaining, Michael Attwell was left uncovered in the high slot and wound up to fire a blistering shot in past Barakauskas to bring the score to 6-0.
The Thunder got on the board shortly after that, with captain Gints Leitis scoring just 6s into the visitors' first powerplay, bringing the score to 6-1, where it stayed until the end of the period.
The second period was a much less eventful, with some good chances for both sides but only the one goal scored.
The Swarm had an early 5-on-3 for 15s at the start of the period, but had gone back to 5-on-4 before scoring the only goal of the period, with Attwell's second coming from a shot below the left wing circle.
A few more penalties through the middle of the period gave the Swarm PP some more chances, but the Thunder PKers were able to block some shots and Barakauskas made a couple of great saves to keep the score where it was.
A double minor and 10 min misconduct saw Thunder's Ryan Gruszka spend the latter part of the period in the box, but the Swarm were unable to capitalise on the PP there.
The third period saw even more fireworks, as the Swarm also changed goaltenders, putting their backup, Ice Fernz stalwart Grace Harrison in to play the final twenty minutes.
The Swarm took a minor early in the period, but managed to turn the PK to their advantage as well, as Teemu Rantanen scored shorthanded on a nice give-and-go with Saastamoinen.
The Swarm killed off the remainder of the penalty, but got trapped inside their zone for a few seconds too long, at which point Thunder captain Gints Leitis was able to capitalise, picking up the puck just in front of the crease and picking the top corner to send it up and in past Harrison.
The Thunder continued to battle hard for offensive chances, and they were not done on the scoreboard either, as Shaun Harrison scored for the Thunder to bring the score to 8-3 in a moment that must have provoked mixed feelings for the Harrison clan, as brother and sister faced off in this NZIHL game.
The Swarm continued to apply pressure and the momentum of the game swung back their way again after that, as they knuckled down on defense. They had a few grade A chances which Barakauskas was able to block or freeze, but added their ninth and final goal on a phenomenal individual effort from Oliver Hay, who took a shot, gloved his own rebound on the fly, and then circled the net to fire it past Barakauskas.
The final ten minutes saw some scrappy back and forth, and PP chances for both sides, with the Swarm getting a short-handed attempt in the dying seconds of regulation and Jared Henderson trying for a buzzer beater that must have been a split-second too late.
This game was streamed, and can be viewed on NZIHL.tv.