There were scenes of euphoria tonight when the Ice Blacks made history at the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games with their first ever win against Australia beating them in the second test of the Trans Tasman Ice Hockey Series at the Dunedin Ice Stadium and then they went on to win the penalty shoot out to take out the series.
Following their 8-2 loss to Australia last night the Ice Blacks went onto the ice as the underdogs but from the outset struck with fire to score the first goal. Australia came back and led 2-1 at the end of the first period. In the second period Ice Blacks goalie, Zac Nothling, defended out of his skin and New Zealand scored two more goals to lead 3-2 going into the third period.
The 2,000 strong crowd were on their feet throughout the last period when New Zealand and Australia fought it out goal for goal and when the fulltime siren sounded at 5-4 to the Ice Blacks the stadium erupted in jubilation.
With the double header series at 1-1 a penalty shoot out required the Ice Blacks to refocus. Then came double elation for the Ice Blacks when both Chris Eaden and Brett Speirs slotted their goals and Ice Black super goalie Zac Nothling outplayed Australia’s two attacking penalty shooters. It was game and series to the Ice Blacks.
For Veteran Ice Blacks player and Captain, Cory Down, tonight was his last game for the national side and he said, for him, the win had been ten years in the making. “I’m ecstatic. It’s fantastic for New Zealand hockey to show that we can play at Divisional 2 Level. Tonight some of the young guys stepped up to the mark and showed their maturity. We played to our game plan and we pulled it off.”
Rob Starke the Australian Ice Hockey Captain gave full credit to the Ice Blacks saying tonight they deserved the win as they were the better team.
Goal scorers for New Zealand were Braden Lee, Stacey Rout, Adam Soffer, Chris Eaden and Paris Heyd.
Goal scorers for Australia were Eric LaFreniere, Rob Starke, Casey Minson and Ray Sheffield.