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West Auckland Admirals | New Zealand Ice Hockey League

Swarm Take Derby

The Admirals played their hardest but could not master the Swarm this weekend going down in both hotly contested matches.

Photo Credit: Mike Froger – Swarm photographer.

Below are the game reports from

Saturday 16th July – By CLAIRE ZIEGLER

The Botany Swarm came back with a monster third period to win Saturday’s Auckland derby match 7-4 over the West Auckland Admirals.

It was a rollercoaster of a game, with the lead changing several times, and some big hits and huge plays from both sides. The Swarm took an early lead, as Jamie Lawrence scored with 1s remaining on a powerplay, going bar-down with a shot that snuck past Admirals goaltender Csaba Kercso-Magos.

The Admirals were able to tie up the game five or six minutes later, as Andy Hart took a shot from just outside the crease that similarly went bar-down past Swarm goaltender Alain Giauque, in what was a remarkably even period between the two Auckland teams.

The second period saw the ice tilt decidedly in the Admirals’ favour, as they had the edge in chances, shots and possession. Both goals scored in the second were for the Admirals, the first a puck curled around Giauque’s skate by Dylan Dickson to finish off a great pass by Taylor Rooney, and the second a great tip by AJ Spiller finishing off a rush by Nick Henderson and Blake Jackson on the powerplay.

The teams went back to their respective locker rooms after 40 minutes with the Admirals holding a solid 3-1 lead, and looking confident and poised in their systems. The Swarm picked up a penalty in the waning moments of period two, and this carried over to the third, with the Swarm penalty killers doing an excellent job to defend the penalty.

This momentum and the renewed resolve from the home side paid dividends rapidly, as Jordan Challis finished off a pass from David Lindgren to get the Swarm back within one goal. An even-strength goal from Logan Fraser 40s later somehow squeaked through Kercso-Magos to tie the game, and it appeared that the ice had tilted in the other direction as the Swarm began to look more dominant, capitalising on some fumbles by the Admirals.

The go-ahead goal came from Jared Henderson about five minutes later, and while the Admirals did not stop pressing, the next goal (and eventual game-winner) was another from Challis, assisted by KC Ball. Ball’s assist marked his 100th NZIHL career assist, a huge accomplishment for the Swarm veteran.

The Admirals called a timeout at that juncture to try to slow the game down, and with the Swarm up by two, the pace and the hitting both picked up noticeably.

A minor penalty for hooking on Alex Polozov gave the Admirals a good chance to get back into the game, but despite some quality chances–and pulling Kercso-Magos for the extra attacker with a few seconds left in their powerplay–they were unable to convert on that powerplay.

The Swarm were able to force a turnover along the blueline, and Polozov had a chance at the empty net as he came out of the box. His shot went slightly wide, and was carried up the ice by the Admirals to give them another chance. A second turnover in the neutral zone was collected by Sami Saastamoinen for the Swarm, and he made no mistake it putting it past a sprawling Mario Mjelleli to put the Swarm up to 6-3.

The Admirals put their goalie back in briefly, but a poorly timed icing for the Swarm saw the Admirals get a chance off a faceoff, and Frazer Ellis put it home with 33s remaining to bring the score to 6-4. The Admirals pulled their goaltender again in the final 30s in an attempt to try and pick up another goal or two, but the Swarm were able to get possession and Polozov and Saastamoinen combined to score a second empty-netter with 13s remaining.


Sunday 17th July – By CLAIRE ZIEGLER

The Botany Swarm picked up two consecutive home wins for the first time this season, beating the West Auckland Admirals 5-3 in Sunday’s game to take the full six points from their last home weekend of the season.

As with Saturday’s game, it was a tightly-contested and close match throughout, and despite some solid scoring chances, neither team was able to tally a point in the opening 20 minutes. Both teams were picking their chances and laying the body in some big hits from the moment the first puck dropped, eager to get the edge in this critically important final Auckland derby match of the year.

The scoring got started in the second period, and the Admirals were first on the board as Nick Henderson scored unassisted to give them the lead. Just 30s later, Alex Polozov tied the game for the Swarm on a great passing play with Sami Saastamoinen.

The Swarm added to their lead with a goal from Jared Henderson who went end to end and fired the puck past Admirals goaltender Rick Parry with a couple of nice dekes.

A third goal for the Swarm–again from Henderson–gave the Swarm a two goal lead, but a turnover in the final seconds of period two saw Admirals leading scorer Mario Mjelleli get a clear shot at the net to send the puck past Swarm goaltender Alain Giauque.

The third period had all the hallmarks of a barnburner, and once more the action got started early on, as Saastamoinen scored to increase the Swarm’s lead. A minor penalty to Oliver Hay saw the Swarm penalty killers get another outing, before a powerplay tally by Mjelleli for the Admirals cut the lead back to one.

That score held through the majority of the period, and while the Swarm had three chances virtually back-to-back on the powerplay, the Admirals penalty killers did a sterling job to keep the score where it was. With just around 3 minutes remaining, the Admirals elected to pull their goaltender for the extra attacker, and got some dangerous chances as a result. A turnover near the blueline saw the Swarm move up ice with a chance on the empty net, and while their initial attempt was well blocked by some fantastic defensive positioning by the visitors, a second attempt later in the shift saw Saastamoinen ice it with his third empty-netter of the weekend.