Stampede take home ice for finals with strong win over Devils

The Southern Stampede came to Christchurch knowing that a win today would give them home ice for the finals against their Auckland rivals the Admirals.   There intent was clear as they consistently took control of the game, neutralizing the Devils attack and coming out clear winners with a score of 8 goals to 2 from a massive 58 shots on goal to the Devils 18.

Just 1.33 into the first period Stampede scored their first goal on a power play where they camped inside the Devils zone retaining control until a pass back to McIntosh saw him slap the puck back past the goalie.  Play settled down over the next 10 minutes with the Devils coming back at the Stampede with some strong forays up the ice and a number of strong shots on goal; however, in the 11th minute McIntosh skated almost the length of the ice and scored his second goal from the left side of the ice on the rebound from his own shot.  Just 3 minutes later McIntosh had his hat trick when he put a quick wrist shot past the goalie from an assist from behind the goal by Burns.  The period ended with the score at 3 – 0 to Stampede with their dominance reflected in shots on for the period at 23 to 9.

Play resumed in the second period with the Devils pinned for long periods in their own zone by aggressive Stampede play and frequent shots on goal.  In the fifth minute Stampede won the puck from the face off with McIntosh passing the puck back to Burns who put it in the net to the left of the goalie.  Canterbury fought back with some sustained periods of attack, but a penalty against the Devils resulted in another power play goal off a faceoff scored by Anderson and assisted by Frear and Helmersson. This took the score to 5 – 0.  Canterbury refused to lie down and in the 36th minute Apps passed to Tonks who spun around and scored from a great shot that the goalie could not have anticipated.  Canterbury was finally on the scoreboard and two minutes later a rather lucky deflection from the body of Hill gave the Devils their second goal.  The period ended at 5 – 2 with shots on goal favouring Stampede 20 – 4.

After Stampede won the opening face off in the third period the puck was passed down the ice to the left wing, to centre, then to right wing who scored from close in taking out the goalie on the way through.  After 13 seconds into the period, Stampede were up 6 – 2.  Further goals in the 47th and 48th minutes to Schneider and Martikainen who cut through the Devils’ defence put the game out of reach, despite the Devils having several power play opportunities in the period.

The Devils will play for pride in tomorrow’s game and will be looking forward to the opportunity to finishing the season with two games against Dunedin Thunder in the hope of getting themselves out of unfamiliar territory at the bottom of the table.

Game report by Geoff Bland