The Swarm split their weekend series with the Dunedin Thunder, falling 5-4 in a close match on Saturday, and racing ahead to take the 5-3 win in regulation on Sunday.
The first 20 minutes of Saturday’s game were fairly evenly matched, with the Swarm unable to tally on a 104s 5-on-3 opportunity, and what looked like their first goal washed out due to a high stick. The Thunder scored late in the period, on a low shot off the rush from Tristan Darling that took advantage of some defensive miscues from the Swarm. The Swarm did press back immediately with some good chances before the end of the period, but were unable to tally.
The Swarm tied the game early in the second period, with a goal coming from a give-and-go between Ondrej Kozak and Ryan Widmar. The Thunder scored again to regain the lead, and the 2-1 score held for a while.
Another couple of PP chances for the Swarm saw them pot one on the man advantage to tie the score up again, but the Thunder once more scored to regain the lead almost immediately. A strong effort from the Swarm saw them kill off a penalty and they ended the period with a couple of good chances.
Going into the third period, the Swarm once again evened the score early on, with Ryan Widmar scoring an aboslute beauty from below the circles. That tie held for a while before a goal from the Thunder’s Leahy from the blue line saw them regain the lead. A great set of moves from Alex Mitsionis to deke around Thunder goalie Daniel Lee tied the game again, and the Swarm appeared to have an edge in chances and possession for a few shifts after that.
The 4-4 tie held until late in the period, when a bench minor for delay of game saw the Thunder take advantage of a PP to once again score the go-ahead goal as Joe Orr potted the eventual game winner.
Sunday’s game, in contrast, saw a much more dominant effort from the Swarm, and they made that clearly early on by scoring less than 30s into the opening frame, as Robin Vortanov jammed the puck past Kane Easterbrook to punctuate a hard-working shift from his line.
Several powerplays for the Swarm followed as the Thunder took a couple of back-to-back penalties, but they were unable to score on them until halfway through the period, when Mitsionis picked up his second of the weekend on the PP.
The Swarm found some penalty trouble of their own after that, with several back-to-back penalties of their own. The PKers did an impressive job and closed out the period by further frustrating the Thunder to send the home side into the locker room with a 2-0 lead.
The Thunder got within one early in the second period, and the 2-1 score held for most of it. While there were fewer penalties that period, both teams spent their share of time in the box, and the Thunder tied the score on a shot just as a penalty for the Swarm was expiring, as Paris Heyd got an unchallenged shot off from the right circle and beat Swarm goalie Alain Giauque.
The Swarm came out for the third period Sunday ready to put the game away, and they made a statement with another early goal, as Logan Fraser scored just 29s into the period, getting the puck past Eastbrook to regain the lead for the home side.
The fourth goal for the Swarm came in a scramble in front of the goal mouth, with Ryan Widmar getting credit on the shot, and the fifth was a perfectly placed deflection by Lewis Commons off an excellent shot-pass from Kyle Jonsson.
The Thunder were able to claw one back with about twelve minutes left, and the last six minutes especially were a high-octane adrenaline-rush with dangerous chances going both ways.
The Swarm will be at home again next weekend, taking on the SKYCITY Stampede – just a fraction earlier, with puck drop scheduled for 4.45pm both days.