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West Auckland Admirals | New Zealand Ice Hockey League

Titanic tussle sees Admirals stay on top

Game Report –Sun 08 Jul

In the Sunday edition of the weekend tilt against the talented Thunder team, the Admirals just managed to grab a regulation win under the most intense pressure they have faced this season.

Joining Mike Verschuren (upper body) on the injury list, Craig Peacock (lower body) also sat out Sunday, meaning the Admirals depth players were going to need to stand up and be counted. And that they did, with Csaba Kercso-Magos Jr starting the Sunday game and the team defending their winning streak.

The Thunder sensed their opportunity, and came storming out from the first puck drop, sending an avalanche of shots pouring down on Csaba Jr’s net, just like a multiple jaffa packets being opened at the top of Baldwin St. But the young netminder gobbled up each one, keeping his team in the contest and letting the pirate ship steady itself amongst the thunderous onslaught.

In a very physical affair, no quarter was asked or given, and it was with relief the boys in blue got to the first period break at 0-0, having been outshot 21-5!  Three minutes into the second period, the Thunder finally breached the Admirals defences, as Benjamin Gavollie took a Paris Heyd feed and sniped them into their first lead of the weekend.

The game was a very tense and entertaining affair for the good number of supporters, despite the low scoring. Two Thunder penalties at the end of the second started to swing a little momentum back toward the blue bench, with Ryan Ruddle eventually being given a great opportunity to level, but Toby Schuck turned it away.

Moving into the final stanza, the Admirals started to gain some ascendancy, as the Thunder legs perhaps tired a fraction from their relentless high-tempo game. Several near misses from the blue team reflected consisted o-zone pressure, which eventually told as one of the most under-rated players in the league again stepped up to rescue the ship. AJ Spiller tucked a great shot high into the corner of the net, after Dale Harrop and Nick Henderson combined to set up the opportunity.

With momentum now fully on the Admirals side, they pressed for a critical tally, although Shaun Harrison is unlikely to put it down as one of his more memorable goals. The GWG came with five minutes to play, as a Harrison shot that was more interested in the corner boards took a horrible deflection off a Thunder skate, stranding Schuck and sending the Admirals supporters in celly mode.

The Thunder tried everything as the clock worked against them, but Csaba Jr held firm and the Admirals again took a six point bounty from the weekend. In truth, the Thunder would count themselves very unlucky not to get anything out of the weekend, and they remain very much in the hunt for a playoff spot, with some critical rounds coming up. This may not be the last we see of the green machine in 2018.

Next weekend the pirate ship heads south to the Wakatipu Badlands to re-engage debate with the blue+golds.  Catch it on the livestream.

Story: Tim Ratcliffe

Photo: Debbie Barker