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West Auckland Admirals | New Zealand Ice Hockey League

Triple Treat from Ellis cements three points

Game Report – Saturday 7th July

The West Auckland Admirals welcomed the Dunedin Thunder as the second half of the regular season got under way in the NZIHL on Saturday. Having split the games on the opening weekend away in Dunedin, the Thunder present a very real threat to the six game streak the Admirals are on.

Rick Parry got the start in net for the home team, opposite Kane Easterbrook. The Admirals got off to a fast start, reversing recent trends. As the puck dropped, Taylor Rooney took a pass from Craig Peacock, darted into the zone and fed Frazer Ellis on the weak side post who five holed Easterbrook to get the scoring under way 30 seconds into the game. Both teams then exchanged quality chances, with Parry turning away several strong Thunder forays on his net. But it was the Admirals again who next troubled the twine, the English duo of Kevin Phillips and Peacock combining to spring Ellis free. Ellis cleverly used the D man as a screen, sniping an early shot high on Easterbrook for his second.

The Thunder were unlucky not to get something from the first period, particularly when league leading points man Paris Heyd jumped from the penalty box to create a three on one, but again Parry shut the door. 2-0 into the second.

The Admirals then turned on perhaps the best 2nd period of the season to date. Three minutes in and the silky skills of AJ Spiller created a quality shot on net which Ellis put a blade on to ramp it into the roof of the net for his hat-trick goal. Minutes later, after consistent o-zone pressure, Dale Harrop won yet another face off clean back to Gareth McLeish who rifled a shot high glove on Easterbrook to make it 4-0 to the home team. Then just after the midway point in the period, Nick Henderson’s sterling work in the offensive corner enabled a clean pass to Spiller just on the hash marks, and Spiller made no mistake to make it five unanswered goals.

As the final stanza got under way, refined Thunder import D Jonne Walkky took a boarding penalty, and the ensuing power play saw a now familiar outcome, with Admirals captain Justin Daigle sending another exocet missile from inside the blue line, this time crashing into the net by way of the inside post. At 6-0, the game looked to be heading toward a rout. But this Thunder team is a dangerous unit, as their previous results have proved, and they showed they are never to be taken lightly.

In a stunning turnaround, they hammered in four unanswered goals, sounding a very clear warning to the boys in blue that the Sunday game could be a very different story. Class Canadian Brandon Egli did most of the damage. The 23 year old British Columbia native sniped three goals for his own third period hat-trick, Heyd assisting on each before Joe Orr got the last goal of the game. Orr, 22, was celebrating his 100th game in the League. Final result, a topsy-turvy 6-4 victory, leaving a tantalising contest on the table for Sunday.