Stampede Victorious at Home in 4-1 Win Over Thunder

The rematch between Skycity Stampede and Dunedin Thunder on Friday night was a proving ground for both teams. The Stampede need every point they can manage if they want to secure a home final against the West Auckland Admirals as the season begins to draw to a close. And while the Thunder are no longer playing for a playoff berth, their surprise win over Skycity on 17 June was a season highlight and they were looking to repeat that formula.

Daniel Lee and Aston Brookes started in net for the Thunder and Stampede respectively.

Period 1 was a relatively even affair until Thunder’s Noah Leahy took a holding penalty at the eleven minute mark. A couple quick rounds of power play cycling later and Colin McIntosh scored the first goal of the game for the Stampede. Dunedin got a couple power play opportunities later on in the period but were unable to convert. At the buzzer, the score was 1-0 Stampede.

The Thunder struck back in Period 2, also on the power play. A scuffle along the far boards saw Braden Lee sit for two minutes for Skycity, and some incredible passing work between Tristan Darling and NZIHL newcomer Kevin Jagau led to a power play goal for Dunedin. As the period wound down, the game was more or less evenly matched, with few whistles interrupting play and decent chances on either side.

In the final minute of Period 2, the Stampede managed to pad their lead courtesy of a goal by Matt Schneider that was an impressive feat of hand-eye coordination as he batted the puck from midair into the net.

In the third and final period of play, the Stampede slowly increased their lead bit by bit as the Thunder appeared to tire some. An awkward turnover by Dunedin led to an extended shift of possession for the Stampede a few minutes into P3, and Jeremy Akeson managed to take advantage of it, putting his team up 3-1. Then, as the minutes ticked away, Matt Schneider pocketed his second of the night.

All in all, this was a tightly-controlled game of hockey with both teams putting up some excellent defensive plays. Aston Brookes had the edge in goaltending, and that’s what made the difference and got Skycity the win.

Three stars of the game:

  1. Mike McRae, 3 assists
  2. Aston Brookes, 26/27 saves for 96.3 save %
  3. Kevin Jagau, PPG for Dunedin