Stampede grind out 6-4 victory over admirals

Friday’s game between the Skycity Stampede and West Auckland Admirals promised to be a good one, given the two teams’ positions in the NZIHL standings. Fans at Queenstown Ice Arena certainly weren’t disappointed, as the close contest was neck and neck right up until the end, when the Stampede managed to grind out a 6-4 victory over an incredibly talented Admirals lineup.

The Adimrals got first blood when Henric Anderson, Adrian Toth, and Jacob Ratcliffe set up a beautiful passing play that saw Ratcliffe slip the puck past Stampede starter Aston Brookes. The Stampede rallied back in style, scoring the equaliser within two minutes when Colin McIntosh scored his 14th of the season. The Stampede struggled to stay out of the penalty box in period one, but the Admirals weren’t able to take advantage on the power play. As the period wound down, a flurry of activity in front of Rick Parry in the Admirals net saw Stampede vet Braden Lee hack the puck in for a hard work goal. The horn blew with Skycity up 2-1.

Two quick goals from the Admirals opened up the second period and the game itself. A couple of defensive lapses on Skycity’s side saw Henric Anderson and former Melbourne Mustang Ryan Ruddle both find the back of the net. Ruddle certainly didn’t look like he’s been away from the NZIHL long, showing fantastic chemistry with his linemates all night.

From that point on, both teams really tightened up their defence and systems altogether. Both teams got some opportunities, but Brookes and Parry stood strong in net. It was evident that this was going to come down to a game of inches and the Stampede weren’t going to get caught napping again. Finally, Braden Lee managed to whack another past Parry at the midway mark and that saw momentum tip subtly the Stampede’s way. A couple minutes later, Matt Schneider fired a laser-guided shot on net that was tipped in by Colin McIntosh and the period ended with Skycity up 4-3.

The third period got off to a bit of a rocky start for the home team when they had to spend four minutes shorthanded, but their penalty kill stood strong and kept the Admirals from capitalising. Play rolled back and forth along the nice, neither team ceding an inch. Colin McIntosh finally opened the period’s scoring and completed his hat trick in the latter half of P3 off a fantastic effort on the zone entry. Victory looked to be in sight for the Stampede but the Admirals weren’t going down easy. Adrian Toth and Nick Craig combined with Henric Andersen to drive hard into the Stampede zone and Andersen took his chances, opting to shoot rather than pass–and it paid off. He brought the Admirals within 1.

Despite pulling Rick Parry in the dying minutes of P3, the Admirals weren’t able to claw another goal onto the scoreboard. Ryan Strayer–skating at forward and recently returned to the lineup after a stint as Assistant Coach for Stampede–snuck the puck into the Admirals zone and fired off a chance at the empty net. It didn’t quite sneak in, but his teammates were able to gather up the rebound where McIntosh managed to pot it in.

Final score 6-4 Skycity Stampede.

Three stars of the game:

  1. Colin McIntosh with 4G 2A
  2. Braden Lee with 2G 1A
  3. Henric Andersen (WAA) 2G 1A