Red Devils overwhelmed by West Auckland Admirals

From the drop of the puck in the first period it was clear that the Admirals were in a determined attacking mood.  Apart from a strong first half in the second period and a spirited fight-back netting two goals in the dying minutes of the game, Canterbury were thoroughly dominated, going down 9 goals to 2.

The first goal came at just 26 seconds into the first period.  The Admirals forward line – Anderson, Ratcliffe and Battini combined in a move that started with a long straight pass down the centre of the ice putting them inside the Canterbury blue line.  Quick passes to left wing and back in front of goal saw Anderson drive the puck home.   At this point the Devils couldn’t really get settled.  Even when they earned a power play in the second minute of the game the Admirals didn’t allow them to get set up on attack and aggressively carried the puck into the Devils territory threatening the Canterbury goal.

Canterbury began to settle and were able to launch a couple of sustained periods of attack, until the Admirals got back into Canterbury territory and the forwards, Battini and Ratcliffe combined to get the puck  across the ice to defenceman,  Jackson, who unleashed a mighty slap shot which lodged in the upper left corner of the Canterbury goal taking the Admirals to a 2 – 0 lead.  From this point to the end of the period, both teams had two power play opportunities, but neither team was able to capitalize.  For the period the Admirals had 21 shots on goal to the Devils 13.

Canterbury started the second period with a player in the penalty box and 42 seconds into the period the Admirals scored their third goal.  Again Battini, was involved in the action with Spiller and Toth who scored the goal from in front of goal, down on one knee.  Canterbury had two power plays over the next 10 minutes, but the Admirals seemed unconcerned by the Devils one man advantage, regularly turning the puck over, and going on attack rather than dumping it.  The following ten minutes saw Canterbury making more positive attacking moves in a sustained period of good play with some strong shots on goal. However, despite a dramatic diving save off the right pad by the Canterbury goalie which excited the crowd, the Admirals broke through to score their 4th goal in the 14th minute with Anderson scoring from messy play in front of goal, assisted by Ratcliffe and Toth.

A power play to the Devils a little later, saw them making more concerted and purposeful attacking plays with several good scoring opportunities bringing the crowd back to life. This was soon nullified by Battini who, assisted by Anderson and Ratcliffe, raced down the ice, beating two Canterbury defenders and sliding the puck under the goalies pads.  The period ended at 4 – 0 to the Admirals.  Canterbury had still been outshot 17 to 12, and had failed to score, but there were signs of improved play through the period.

Despite Canterbury replacing King in goal with Bigsby, the third period began in much the same way as the first and second with the Admirals picking up a quick goal in the second minute.  A shot on goal rebounded of the goalies pads and was picked up in broken play by Henderson who scored.  Despite a sustained fight back from Canterbury over the next 8 minutes, The Admirals were able to score again in the 9th, 10th and 12th minutes with goals by Ellis, Ratcliffe and Toth respectively.   With only 6 minutes left in the period Eaden and Purver combined to force a turnover and give Tonks the first goal for the Devils.  Two minutes later Eaden was assisted by Tonks and Banks in scoring a further well earned goal.  Shots on goal still heavily favoured the Admirals in the third period with 24 shot to the Devils 10.   The final score was 9 – 2.

Game report by Geoff Bland 8th July 2017