9 September 2017

Final game in ice hockey’s Trans-Tasman Challenge set to be an epic face off

Press Release September 9 2017

A thrilling final and deciding game of ice hockey in the Trans-Tasman Challenge has been set up with Australia’s Mighty Roos winning game two of the three game series over New Zealand’s Ice Blacks.

With the three test match series levelled at one game apiece, the final to be played in Queenstown  on Saturday 9 September the night will be a heart breaker for the fans of one nation.

The Ice Blacks’ win against the Mighty Roos in game one was only the second time in thirty years of games between the two countries that New Zealand had prevailed.  The Australians have now won 15 times, New Zealand twice.

“Tonight we witnessed another extremely close game that could have gone either way,” said Günther Birgel, President, New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation (NZIHF).

“Australia’s goaltender had a tremendous game and kept our forwards from scoring. Tomorrow will be one mighty game.”

“The Trans-Tasman games are everything that we hoped for,” said Andy McDowell, Vice President Ice Hockey Australia (IHA).

“The intensity with which New Zealand are playing is as fierce as anything we have faced.  It’s all we hoped for and with the score at one all, it’s game on for tomorrow’s final match.”

The Trans-Tasman Challenge three game series comes at the end of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ which hasn’t seen ice hockey as part of the elite winter sport gathering since 2011. A sell out Queenstown Ice Arena crowd roared in appreciation as they witnessed another night of top level ice hockey.

The game began straight from where it was left in game one – intense and fast. There were seven minutes before the first penalty went to the Ice Blacks. Under intense pressure the Ice Black’s held the Mighty Roos out to see them back to five on five. The Mighty Roos forced a hooking call and another penalty to them gave the Ice Black’s a 5 on 3 advantage. However, it was a strong first period for the Mighty Roos goaltender who made some crucial saves. At 7.30 the Ice Blacks were called for tripping and Mighty Roos capitalised with a power play goal by Per Daniel Goransson.

Period two opened with an air of intensity as the teams were evenly balanced. As the physicality increased, both teams put in some monster hits. At 8.39 the Mighty Roos were called for a trip and the Ice Blacks got the first power play of the period. The intensity from both sides right down to the wire saw the period out 1-0 to the Mighty Roos.

Period three the pressure was intense and a tussle in front of net created a penalty against the Mighty Roos and a power play to the Ice Blacks. Once again the Mighty Roos were up to the challenge. Pressure and penalties mounted, bodies were put on the line. With seconds to go the Ice Blacks pulled their goalie to create a last ditch effort to equalise game.  The Mighty Roos defence held and Captain Tommy Powell scored an open net goal, taking the final score to 2-0 to the Mighty Roos with three seconds on the clock.

Puck drop for the final game of Audi quattro Winter Games NZ Trans-Tasman Challenge three test match series is at 7pm tomorrow night. Live stream of the game can be found on the Winter Gams NZ Facebook page