NZIHL Round 2 Preview: Roll On

Joseph Durie June 1, 2018  97

We’ll roll on with our heads held high
Our conscience in the guter
Our dreams up in the sky

Thunder v Red Devils @ Alpine Ice
The NZIHL season rolls on to round 2 this weekend with the Canterbury Red Devils returning home after a disappointing opening weekend in East Auckland to face the surprising Dunedin Thunder.

Canterbury have made a point of “getting the band back together” from victorious seasons past with Jake Lane & Graham Tappin both rejoining the management team for the 2018 campaign. Also, this week news broke that Red Devils stalwart Brett Spiers was rejoining the squad for the rest of the season.

British import Ross Venus had a strong opening round and if the team can sure up the defensive side of things while staying out of the penalty box, it would all go a long way to help Canterbury notch it’s first victory of the year.

However, it won’t be easy with the Thunder rumbling up State Highway 1 fresh off a split series last weekend against the West Auckland Admirals. Paris Heyd was an absolute monster in round 1 finishing with 8 points including an overtime winner that doubled as a hat-trick. The Thunder’s offensive power was clearly evident at home and they could be the surprise team of the 2018 NZIHL season, so don’t be too hasty to slap that ‘underdog’ tag on them.

Stampede v Admirals @ Paradice Avondale
Meanwhile back in the 09, the West Auckland Admirals return home for a rematch of the 2017 Birgel Cup Finals.

It was a Schizophrenic first weekend for the Westies. After coming back to win an EA Sports video game like opener 8-6 and then falling 4-3 in OT, nothing will motivate the Admirals more than facing the team who beat them out for the title last season.

For the Skycity Stampede, forget easing into the season as things start off right on the hotplate of the West Auckland backyard BBQ. The Southerners have been sitting, waiting and watching the rest of the league battle it out in the first round and as head coach Adam Blanchette said on a recent episode of Puck Yeah Podcast, they have been more than happy with the extra time on the ice preparing for what lies ahead.

It’s ‘Ice Blacks Night’ at Paradice Avondale this weekend and the Admirals’ large continent of Ice Blacks will be looking to give their mascot Rusty Anchorbottom and their super fans something to cheer about. Things could be getting loud out West!

Tickets are still available in both Auckland and Christchurch so get yours now and of course don’t forget if you can’t make it out to the games, they will be live streamed on the NZIHL YouTube channel.

NZIHL Round 2 Game Schedule:

Stampede v Admirals – Paradice Avondale
June 2nd & 3rd at 4:30pm

Thunder v Red Devils – Alpine Ice
June 2nd & 3rd at 4:30pm

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