Finals Berth In Admirals Hands

Photo: Rachel van Luyt

By SHAWN HENRY

 

The West Auckland Admirals had another big game tonight overcoming a very strong effort on the part of the Southern Stampede, taking home a 5-3 win and locking up the Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio trophy. This puts the Admirals in control of their own destiny – 2 wins next weekend in Dunedin will put them in the finals.

 

The Stampede came out strong and determined and the Admirals managed to survive the initial onslaught with some solid play and a little luck. There were some big hits delivered – in particular, Dylan Dickson put a hard hit on Bert Haines leaving him looking a bit worse for wear. The Admirals got another lucky break at the 12 minute mark when a shot beat Csaba Kercso-Magos Jr but not the post. AJ Spiller put the Admirals on the board at the 9:14 mark rolling in from the point and putting one past Volpe, 1-0 Admirals. Mario Mjelleli made a beautiful pass to Nick Henderson who quickly put the puck past Volpe to put the Admirals up 2-0 a the 6:32 mark. The rest of the period was hard fought but when the buzzer went it was still 2-0 Admirals.

 

The second period also started out with some very strong play on both sides with opportunities for both teams. The officials decided to get more involved in the game in the last half of the second period, resulting in a number of players basking in the glory of the Avondale penalty box. Some confusion on an delayed penalty call against the Stampede led to Volpe almost getting caught out as he raced to the bench for another man. Nick Henderson managed to beat the Stampede goalie but not the post, still 2-0 Admirals. Despite a number of chances and both teams getting power play opportunities, no goals scored in the second period. Still 2-0 Admirals.

 

The third period saw the Stampede begin to push the issue with the Admirals more aggressively. Mcrae made it a 2-1 game at the 17:01 mark on a rebound after a bit of a scramble. The Stampede continued to press but the Admirals responded with more pressure of their own. After some period of back and forth, the Admirals scored on the power play, Nick Henderson from AJ Spiller and Justin Daigle, making the score 3-1.   Less than a minute later, the Stampede capitalise on some confusion behind the Admirals net making the score 3-2 Admirals at the 11:16. The Admirals responded 30 seconds later with Mario picking up a nice backhand pass from Nick Henderson making the score 4-2.   Csaba Jr makes a massive glove save at the 8 minute mark to preserve the 2 goal lead for the Admirals. The Admirals looked like they had scored to make it 5-2 but the goal was waved off by the officials. The Stampede continue to press and Admirals pick up a delay of game call at the 4:18 mark and with only 17 seconds left in the penalty the officials decide to get involved again calling a roughing call putting the Stampede onto a 5 on 3 powerplay. The Stampede manage to score before the first penalty is over making the score 4-3. The Stampede pulled their goalie to put them on a 6 on 4 powerplay and there was a lot of action going on. With only a few seconds left to play Mario gets the puck out of the Admirals zone and feeds Jake Ratcliffe for the empty net goal. Time expires with the Admirals winning 5-3.

 

The three Admirals stars for the night were:

1. Nick Henderson (on his 100th Admirals game)

2. Mario Mjelleli

3. AJ Spiller

 

Final score 5-3 to the West Auckland Admirals. If the Admirals can take both games in Dunedin next weekend that will put them into the finals against the Southern Stampede.

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