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West Auckland Admirals | New Zealand Ice Hockey League

Hart Hat-trick Hammers Home 6 Point Haul

Game Reports – Sat 30 June / Sun 01 July

The table-topping West Auckland Admirals hosted the struggling Red Devils from Canterbury over the weekend, and took away a maximum 6 points from the encounters on Saturday and Sunday.

But it was not all plain-sailing, as the Devils put up stern resistance, making the Admirals come from behind on Sunday, and taking it tied into the third period on Saturday. The Devils have had an unfortunate run with injury, whilst the Admirals have also lost key D man Nick Craig for the season to a fractured leg.

After exchanging markers through the first two periods on Saturday, the Devils tied it all up at 2-2 at the start of the third period, as impressive import Ross Venus put his stamp on the contest with his second goal. This awoke the Admirals machine however, and in the space of six minutes, the game was taken back by the boys in blue.

Craig Peacock first regained the lead, before Shaun Harrison and Ryan Ruddle continued their goal-scoring runs for the season, to pull the Admirals into an unassailable 5-2 lead. Peacock added one more with four minutes to go, to close out the Saturday game 6-2. Rick Parry stopped 39 of 41 shots on net for the home team.

A similar pattern emerged on Sunday, as the Admirals again struggled to dominate in the early stages, and slipped to a 0-2 deficit. Admirals old boy Dean Tonks opened the scoring for the Devils, taking a superb stretch pass from Robert Banks, controlling well and slipping it past Csaba Kercso-Magos, before Ross Venus did more damage for the red+blacks. Venus used the D man as a screen to snipe top shelf just minutes in to the second period.

Once more, the pirate ship weathered the storm, righted itself, and looked to one of its most loyal servants to turn things around. Andy Hart opened a four goal Admiral blitz over a 5 minute window in the second period, that put them on course for victory. His first came after a feed from the D zone saw him crash the net, his first attempt rebounding before he put the second away. Just six minutes later, the same line combined as Taylor Rooney pulled a great move on the mid boards, finding a late trailing Hart who deked forehand before shelfing a backhand. Goals from Nick Henderson and Ryan Ruddle completed the barrage, before Hart tipped a Matty Roxborough effort from the blue line, to complete his second period hat trick, and the first of his career.

The third period blew out further, as a tiring Devils unit struggled to cope with the depth on the blue bench, Rooney again proving his playmaking abilities as he fed Ruddle for a goal, then tall Dutchmen Mike Verschuren scoring a short-handed goal going five hole on Barakauskas in the Devils net. Rooney then topped off an impressive four point night, as he wheeled in and found the top right hand corner to register a goal for himself with a minute left, and close out the game for the home team 8-2.

A the half way point in the season, the Admirals remain on top of the table, but will host a very competitive Dunedin Thunder team next weekend at Paradice Avondale, before heading away to Queenstown on 13/14 July. Tickets for the Thunder games are still available at https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2018/jun/west-auckland-admirals#/buy-tickets