This weekend is a pivotal one for four teams in the NZIHL. Four teams have the chance to make the Grand Final. Every stride, every shot, every body check will be fighting for this moment. The action will unfold in dramatic fashion for the Canterbury Red Devils, the Southern Stampede and the Dunedin Thunder. Botany Swarm however, having already played all of their regular season games will be sitting on the edge of their seats watching how the standings will play out.
Red Devils goaltender Justin Findlay sums up the road to the Grand Final:
MUST win 2 games in regulation as does to have a really good chance at making the finals. The must win at least 1 game against and the are patiently waiting at the top of the table (having played all there regular season games) but can be overtaken by the Canterbury Red Devils as well as the Dunedin Thunder.”
Doesn’t get any more complicated then that.
In the first set the Red Devils will be hosting the Stamps down in Christchurch. They’re coming off of a weekend series with the Botany Swarm having split both games. Swarm proved how powerful they were as they took a commanding 10-3 in the first match-up and only fell to Canterbury by one on the second. Canterbury will need to have top notch goaltending and the ability to stay out of the penalty box this weekend in order to remain alive for the Grand Final.
From the Stampede’s point of view, it looks pretty similar. They also took a powerful 10-5 victory over the Dunedin Thunder in their last weekend set but fell in the second game 6-4. I have a slight feeling were in for some rough action with this Red Devils/Stampede series folks.
On the other side the Dunedin Thunder are hosting the West Auckland Admirals. As Findlay said earlier, the Thunder only need to win one game this weekend. The Admirals will be in top form so they better not sit back and go into these games nonchalantly as everybody will be looking for a huge upset.
Catch all the action at ww.nzihl.tv as you’ll be in for some of the best hockey played this season.