Skycity Stampede continued their weekend in style (Video)

Skycity Stampede continued their Queenstown Winterfest weekend in style with a high-flying 8-0 win over visiting Botany Swarm on Saturday. The win sees them further cement their position at the top end of the NZIHL standings, a 3 points back from the first place West Auckland Admirals.

Skycity controlled the flow of the game from beginning to end, although there were a few periods in the low-scoring first period where Botany managed to control possession. Period one’s only goal came courtesy of a ripper from the point by defenseman Stefan Helmersson on the power play. Botany struggled to stay out of the penalty box, taking four penalties in the first twenty minutes.

The second period began much as the first–with Skycity controlling possession and generating shots while Botany struggled to keep up and continued shifts in the penalty box. A bad bout of stickhandling by Swarm goaltender Michael Hopkinson saw the Stampede score their second when he accidentally turned the puck straight over to Connor Harrison, who dumped the puck and then himself in net. Import Tomi Martikainen scored Stampede’s third a few minutes later, an explosive unassisted beauty that’s sure to make the highlight reels.

The latter half of P2 saw the penalty woes swing the other way, with Stampede taking three minors in a row. However, spending time in the box didn’t seem to slow them down any. Braden Lee scored off a feed from Mike McRae as the period wound down, then before the buzze could sound, Callum Burns also potted a no-look goal from right up in the crease. The period ended 5:0 in favour of the home team.

Botany came out a little more cohesive in the third period, holding the Stampede to fewer shots than in the second, however they continued to have difficulty with a plague of minor penalties, taking three in the first ten minutes of play. On the third power play, Stampede finally found the back of the net when Matt Schneider tipped in a shot through traffic originally taken by Jeremy Akeson.

Things truly unraveled for the Swarm in the latter half of the third period. Skycity mercilessly peppered Hopkinson with shots, and if you give a hockey player enough attempts at the goal they will eventually slap one in. Lachlan Frear scored on one such many-rebound attempt and in the dying minutes of the game Braden Lee picked up his second.

The game devolved into a bit of a mess with barely a minute remaining after both sides took exception to a hit and subsequent Swarm reaction by Connor Harrison. Gloves flew, words were no doubt politely exchanged, and in the end the home team won 8-0.

Three stars of the game:
1. Aston Brookes with the shutout, 22 saves.
2. Braden Lee with 2G.
3. Stefan Helmersson with 1G 1A.

Next weekend Skycity Stampede take on the league-leading West Auckland Admirals in Avondale.