Southern Stampede vs Dunedin Thunder Weekend Preview

After splitting last weekend’s series and being upset in a shocking thriller by the West Auckland Admirals, the Southern Stampede will be looking for redemption in the form of the Dunedin Thunder.

(Photo credit: www.dunedinthunder.co.nz)
(Photo credit: http://www.dunedinthunder.co.nz)

Goaltender Kane Eastbrook backstopped the Stampede to a 6-0 shutout on the final game of the set last weekend after being trampled by the Admirals in the first game. Combined with that confidence, the Stampede are eager to cut down a notch on the Thunder. The Stamps currently sit in 4th position in the standings but only 3 points behind the tied for first Dunedin Thunder. British Columbia native, Matt Schneider picked up 4 goals in the win and will look to add to his stats in this weekend’s foray as he currently sits second in league points leaders.

On the Dunedin Thunder side, they also split their last weekend series two weeks ago against the Botany Swarm. Connor Harrison will be looking to add to his goal total as he sits second in league leaders for goals. The Dunedin Thunder will be pumped and looking to retaliate from their 8-1 loss to Botany. They will be flying right out of the gate. The key for the Thunder this weekend will be to take less penalties and stay out of the box. This is critical as it cost them much of their last game.

Both the Southern Stampede and Dunedin Thunder are tight in the standings which will make for great hockey. You know what that means. Find your way to Queenstown Ice Arena and get ready for some hard hitting and fast paced hockey. Puck drops for the first game at 7pm local time.

Q&A With Canterbury Red Devils Terry Watt

(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)
(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)

Terry Watt is one of many Canadians who are sorted throughout the world playing the game we love. A native of Ajax, Ontario, he has spent most of his career in the Federal Hockey League while winning a championship with my close to home Akwesasne Warriors. He is currently down under playing for the Canterbury Red Devils of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.

March Hockey: You’ve played with numerous teams in the FHL including winning a championship with the Akwesasne Warriors. What was that experience like and how would you compare that league to the NZIHL where you are now?

Terry Watt: Playing for Akwesasne was a great experience. It was my first year playing pro and I was lucky enough to win a championship. The best part was playing on the same team with NHL players and my D partner was an Olympian. Winning a championship is great but being able to learn from these types of players is something you will carry on with you forever. The big difference between the NZIHL and hockey in North America is time and space. The hockey here is more European influenced. The game is less physical and you seem to have a bit more time and space with the puck, it’s more of a controlled game where each team is trying to run up the score board.

 

(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)
(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)

MH: How does the talent in the NZIHL stack up in general??

TW: The hockey talent in the NZIHL is a lot better than people in North America even know. I have seen some Kiwi’s that would defiantly compete for some jobs back home; Chris Eden, Brett Speirs, K.C ball and Gino Heyd, just to name a few.
MH:  Growing up, who was your biggest influence on your style of play??

TW: Growing up a Toronto Maple Leafs fan I would have to say Mats Sundin was my favorite player growing up. I played forward my whole life until i turned pro; my coach tried me on D because I play a physical game and can make a good first pass. I don’t like comparing myself to NHL players because they are in a NHL for a reason and I can only inspire to be as good as they are at what they do.

MH: If you could play against anybody past or present, who would it be and why??

 

(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)
(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)

TW: Mats Sundin, no question in my mind. Sundin is one of the reasons I wanted to become a hockey player. I would just want to thank him for giving me hope that one day I could be a pro like him. I know I didn’t make it to the NHL, but I’m still playing the game and get to travel all over the world because of it, not many people in their life time have had a chance to do the same things I have.
MH: Where do you hope your hockey career will take you next??

TW: Right now I just want to play in as many countries as possible. I want to play for a new team in a new country for the next couple of years. Travel the world! And when it’s all said and done, I want to coach. I would love to coach when I’m done with hockey.

Admirals Stun Stampede; Notch First Win Of The Season

It was all business down at the ParadIce Avondale for the West Auckland Admirals and boy did they mean it.

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(Photo credit: Jo McCarthy)

On wear your old jersey night, Chris Belanger opened up the scoring 4 minutes into the first period but the Admirals were far from done. Nick Henderson and Robert Chamberlain added a power play goal each to take them into the second period with a 3-0 lead.

Goaltender Anders Jespersen was stunning in net as the Admirals capitalized on their lead. Henderson and Chamberlain (another PP goal for Chamberlain) added their seconds of the game along with George Scott to put the Admirals out front by an astonishing 6 goal lead. The Stampede were trying to make a game of it though as they cut the lead down to 4 by the end of the second period.

The third period started out even as both teams fought for possession of the puck. Jespersen was brilliant in net during the third period stopping all Stampede shots. The Stampede though became depleted with tens minutes ago and seemed a bit lifeless. Although trying to spur the team with a few fights, it proved to be nothing of significance. The Admirals pulled off their first win of the season!

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(Photo credit: Jo McCarthy)

The West Auckland Admirals will try their hand at repeating this remarkable performance tomorrow as they play game 2 of their home and home set with the Southern Stampede. Will the Stamps be able to round-up some strength and mount a comeback to split the series?? Only one way to find out! Get down to the ParadIce Avondale for hard-hitting NZIHL action!

Jersday: NZIHL’s Southern Stampede

Alright, this week I’m a little bias because I’ve been following a lot of the action in the NZIHL. Although the Stamps didn’t play this week, I felt the need to honour them with their logo and jersey.

1017081_669753176374429_1597393920_nFirst off, I am a huge fan of blue. And in particular this version of blue. Blue might be used an awful lot in hockey threads but this one is bright enough to catch your attention and not end up dull. The contrasting yellow makes it even easier on the eyes. Yellow in general, I don’t like as a team colour but the Stampede make it work. (Hello Sweden, I know you proudly make it work too.)

I don’t know if it’s just being used to North American hockey (besides the LNAH) but I’m glad there’s not a lot of advertising all over this. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the important of advertising and why it’s needed. But when I see some Russian teams starting to look like a walking billboard in Times Square, it’s a little much. STAMPEDE

The logo itself is spot on. Hell, it gives the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders a run for its money. Could even replace it in my opinion. There are some very talented people down in New Zealand and the rest of the world needs to start taking notice.

Southern Stampede vs. West Auckland Admirals Preview

In the only series being played this weekend in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League,  the Southern Stampede travel down to Avondale to take on the West Auckland Admirals.

1075574_10151972421292345_1949605134_oThe Admirals are coming off of a 2 game loss (including a confrontation with the TKRT Tropthy) to the Canterbury Red Devils on their last weekend set in Christchurch. They will hope to be ready to play against the opposing Stamps. Nick Henderson will be looking to add to his team leading goals as he enters this weekend’s showdown.

img_teamThe Southern Stampede however have not played since June 29th. On that date they fell to the Botany Swarm by a score of 10-6 in front of a hometown crowd. Will the time off prepare them for their clash with the Admirals or will it have turned into a disadvantage? Only time will tell. Matt Schneider who sits second in the league with goals scored and 4th in the league in points will try to add to his streak to sit on top. Mike McRae will also look to add to his point total to move up a notch with the league leaders.

The Stampede and Admirals both sit at the bottom of the standings in 4th and 5th place respectively. With that being said, don’t count out the Stampede. They’re very much still in the running as spots 1 through 3 are in a tight race. With two wins this weekend, the Stampede could very well see themselves tied for 3rd place.

Get down to the Paradice Avondale this weekend for some sure to be hard-hitting and talented hockey. Puck drops at 5pm local time.

Swarm Upset Dunedin; Split Series

The Botany Swarm pulled off a shocker Sunday afternoon as they toppled off first place leaders Dunedin Thunder in a thriller at ParadIce arena.

9273268597_87bd2ec06a_bComing off of an overtime loss to the Thunder the previous day, the Swarm were bound and determined to knock them off their feet. Jumping off of the momentum of the extra overtime point, from the first period on the Swarm kept the “Hive” on their feet and their heads in the game. Two goals coming from  Mickey Rhodes brought them into the second period.

It was a game of doubles after that. Doubling the first period’s score were KC Ball and Evan MackIntosh. By the time the third period rolled around the game had ended at 8-1.

Got to hand it to Dunedin though as they stuck through it to the very end as a hard fought battle played out. Dunedin still sits a top of the standings as they are now tied with the Canterbury Red Devils.

Botany’s next home game is July 27th and 28th when the Red Devils come to town. Dunedin will square off with the Southern Stampede July 26th and 27th in Queenstown.

Red Devils Take 2 In Championship Fashion

The Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio Trophy is staying in Canterbury. The Red Devils put on two powerhouse performances to retain the crown and left the West Auckland Admirals alone in the dust.

adm_rdSaturday afternoon’s match up seen both teams meetup after a bye week and time off. Fresh off the injured reserve from a minor concussion, Terry Watt came off the bench and bagged a hat trick showing he was still in fine form. The Red Devils doubled that lead with goals from Martin Lee, Jamie Lawrence and Brett Spiers finishing with a 6-2 win. Spiers came out with a two point night as he added an assist. Rookie goaltender Daniel Lee was stellar in net proving himself early and stopping 18 shots.

 

1075574_10151972421292345_1949605134_oSunday afternoon’s game of defending the TKRT Trophy proved to be more of a walk in the park for the Red Devils. With the final score at 12-2, Canterbury stepped out of the gate in that first period with both gears burning. Goals came from every line and proved to be too much for the Admirals. Longtime goaltender Justin Findlay made his impressive first start of the season, keeping the Red Devils in tight.

The Canterbury Red Devils are now tied for first with the Dunedin Thunder as Dunedin split their weekend series with the Botany Swarm. Catch the Red Devils on July 27th and 28th down at the ParadIce arena as they face the Swarm.

Dunedin Thunder vs Botany Swarm Weekend Preview

Dunedin_Thunder_logoThe Dunedin Thunder will be looking to keep the ball rolling and remain in top spot as they visit the Botany Paradice and take on the Swarm.

In their last weekend set before the bye week, the Thunder earned two wins against the Canterbury Red Devils and reclaimed their top spot. Both games were tight until the end while the Sunday match was a close one as the game headed to overtime. It only took 18 seconds before Mathew Enright scored on an assist from Matt Canaday. (Check out more of Dunedin’s import talent.)

Botany_Swarm_logoThe Botany Swarm are currently in a three way tie for second place. That will all change this weekend however depending on the outcome of the games. The Swarm split their last weekend set to the Southern Stampede. League points leader Brandon Contratto will be in the lineup looking to add to more to his impressive stats.

The Swarm are eager to knock off the first place Dunedin Thunder. Will Contratto and the gang be enough to do it? Find out this weekend at the Botany ParadIce.

Canterbury Red Devils vs West Auckland Admirals Weekend Preview

The Canterbury Red Devils are hoping to jump into second place as they face the West Auckland Admirals in a two game set at home in Christchurch.

RED_DEVILSThe Alpine Ice rink will be lined in a sea of red of support as the Devils came off their last weekend set with losing both games to the now first place Dunedin Thunder. Scoring leader Chris Eaden will still be out with an upper body injury and there’s no word yet on strong defenceman Terry Watt’s return as he is still injured from a concussion. (EDIT: I have heard from the man himself, Watt will be in the lineup this weekend!)

The West Auckland Admirals are also coming off a 2 game loss to the Dunedin Thunder from their last weekend set on June 22. Jani Lehtinen scored twice to keep the Admirals close but it wasn’t enough as the Thunder rallied back and capped it off. (Check out some of the imported talent the Dunedin Thunder has on their roster)

ADMIRALSBoth teams are coming off of a bye week and should be well rested and ready to play. The Admirals however haven’t played since the weekend of June 23rd. Will they be top notch heading into Christchurch? They better be as the Red Devils are defending their Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio trophy on Sunday.

Only time will tell this weekend.

The Teams Of The New Zealand Ice Hockey League

I’ve been very intrigued lately by the game of hockey being played in non traditional hockey markets. I’m sure you’ve noticed that by now. I love giving these teams and leagues more exposure on this side of the pond because lord knows their hard work deserves it. With that, let’s take a look at the 5 teams in the NZIHL.

Botany_Swarm_logo1. Botany Swarm – Auckland, New Zealand

The Botany Swarm were one of the first inaugaral teams in the NZIHL. First named the South Auckland Swarm, they made the switch to Botany to better reflect their origins. The Swarm are 4 time NZIHL champions and currently sit tied for second in this year’s standings.

ADMIRALS2. West Auckland Admirals – Auckland, New Zealand

Another team that was apart of the inguaral beginnings of the NZIHL, the West Auckland Admirals are also, you guessed it, based out of Auckland. The team has improved leaps and bounds over the years despite winning zero championships. They currently sit last place.

RED_DEVILS3. Canterbury Red Devils – Christchurch, New Zealand

The Red Devils are currently your NZIHL reigning champions hoping to make a repeat this year. Based out of Christchurch, they have 2 championships under their belt and are one of the stronger teams in the league. I’ve personally taking a liking to the Red Devils so be on the look out for game recaps. They currently sit tied for second.

Dunedin_Thunder_logo4. Dunedin Thunder – Dunedin, New Zealand

Found in 2008 the Dunedin Thunder are currently the first place holders in this year’s season. After struggling like most expansion teams do, the Thunder have bolted their way through the ranks and are stronger as ever. I have a feeling they will give the championship a good run this season. They currently are in the midst of a 4 game win streak.

STAMPEDE5. Southern Stampede – Queenstown, New Zealand

The Stampede are 2 time NZIHL champs and are a force to be reckoned with. A physical team, they bring a new style to the New Zealand game. Every year they also hold an exhibition game with the New Zeland Ice Blacks, the country’s national team. They currently sit tied for second.

The games in NZ get as tight as you can get making for great hockey. This league thoroughly excites me and I am glad to be vocal about the league in North America and my side of the globe.