Falcons win Premier Hockey League title in thrilling penalty shootout

The Central Falcons have won both the inaugural men’s and women’s Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League titles adding the men’s title in a thrilling penalty shootout in Hamilton today.

The men’s final went into a shootout after late goals from both the Falcons and the Southern Alpiners meant the teams were level at 1-1 at fulltime.

It was a day for the goalkeepers Dom Dixon and George Enerson, with only one of the five penalty shootout attempts going in (from Stephen Jenness) and a number of field goal attempts brilliantly saved.

Victorious Falcons captain Shea McAleese acknowledged the keepers’ efforts post-match.

“Both teams put on a bit of a defensive display and both keepers played really well … and credit to Dom (Dixon) who obviously saved all three which is uncommon.”

After a scoreless 58 minutes in the final, Falcons striker Sam Hiha found himself in space in the circle and nailed the first goal of the match. The Alpiners immediately took off their keeper, winning a penalty corner a minute later which Sam Lane converted with a drag flick.

The first half had featured a classy save from Enerson to block a strong Dylan Thomas shot. Dixon wasn’t to be outdone by his opposite as he made an outstanding save of a cracking Nick Ross shot after the Alpiners skipper made a clever intercept.

Black Sticks captain Blair Tarrant had one of the best chances of the final quarter as he stole the ball and one-on-one with the keeper lifted the ball wide.

The league’s Most Valuable Player Jacob Smith (Falcons) knocked it in from the spot later in the match but unfortunately he used the back of the stick.

The Hiha and Lane goals followed to send the match into a penalty shootout with the solitary Jenness goal being the match and title winner, but with the Falcons keeper Dixon –  who didn’t concede one goal in the shootout – being the key to the victory.

Central Falcons 1 (Sam Hiha 58 min)
Southern Alpiners 1 (Sam Lane 60 min)
Falcons won the penalty shootout 1-0 (Stephen Jenness)

The Hauraki Mavericks collected the bronze medal in the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League with a 4-1 victory over the Northern Tridents in Hamilton this afternoon.

Mavericks skipper Nic Woods led the way for his side collecting two goals to finish as the league’s top goal-scorer with nine goals.

In the first half there were limited goal-scoring opportunities until the final minutes when Mavericks goalkeeper Leon Hayward brilliantly saved a Cory Bennett drag flick. Boosted by Hayward’s effort, the Mavericks then went ahead with a nice touch from Matt Rees-Gibbs right on halftime.

Immediately after the break Woods put the home side 2-0 ahead with another drag flick penalty corner goal, this one in off the defender on the left goalpost.

The Northern Tridents finally got on the scoreboard with a Steven Edwards field goal to be just 2-1 down heading into the final quarter.

Late goals from Cam Hayde and another drag flick from Woods put the result beyond doubt at 4-1, handing the Mavericks the bronze medal.

Hauraki Mavericks 4 (Matt Rees-Gibbs 30 min, Nic Woods 33 min and 60 min, Cam Hayde 55 min)
Northern Tridents 1  (Steven Edwards 38 min)

Southern Alpiners continue winning ways to book final against Central Falcons

The Southern Alpiners have secured their spot in tomorrow’s final of the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League with a 3-2 victory over the Central Falcons in Hamilton this afternoon.

In the match-up that will be repeated in tomorrow’s final, the Alpiners continued on their winning ways with three from three in the second week of the competition.

Falcons skipper Stephen Jenness opened the scoring with a brilliant shot at pace after a fast break from the competition leaders.

The Southern Alpiners responded immediately with a classy goal from Hugo Inglis that went in off the keeper. The two sides went into the break level at 1-1.

With five minutes left in the second spell, Sam Lane put the Alpiners ahead with a drag flick penalty corner goal and just before the break Finn Ward made it 3-1 as he got a perfect touch on a cross.

After a stern halftime talk, the Falcons clawed one back with a well-taken Dane Lett penalty corner but couldn’t grab the equaliser despite taking their goalkeeper off in the final quarter.

The Alpiners secured a penalty stroke late in the match but Kane Russell wasn’t able to convert, leaving the Falcons to scramble for an equaliser late in the game.

Southern Alpiners 3 (Hugo Inglis 8 min, Sam Lane 25 min, Finn Ward 28 min)
Central Falcons 2 (Stephen Jenness 6 min, Dane Lett 33 min)

The Hauraki Mavericks have beaten the Northern Tridents with a come from behind 3-2 victory in the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League in Hamilton this afternoon.

After the Alpiners’ win in the early game of the day, this match was virtually a dead rubber with the Mavericks needing to win by 10 goals to overtake the Alpiners and sneak into the final.

Tridents defender Cory Bennett made that task even tougher with two first half goals, both through drag flicks at penalty corner time.

The Mavericks finally opened their account in the third quarter with a classy upright reverse shot from Jonty Keaney, who cleverly pulled down an overhead and fired it into the goal.

Late goals from the league’s top goalscorer Nic Woods from a penalty corner drag flick and from Aidan Sarikaya with a cracking reverse shot goal from the narrowest of angles gave the home side the 3-2 victory.

Hauraki Mavericks 3 (Jonty Keaney 39 min, Nic Woods 52 min, Aidan Sarikaya 58 min)
Northern Tridents 2 (Cory Bennett 8 min and 29 min)

Southern Alpiners building momentum at business end of league

The Southern Alpiners continued their efforts to secure a spot in Sunday’s final of the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League with a commanding 5-1 victory over the Northern Tridents in Hamilton this evening.

The Alpiners, with two wins from as many matches this week, looked in fine goal-scoring form against a full-strength Tridents side with the return of George Muir from injury.

The Alpiners opened the scoring with a wee tap in from the spot by Finn Ward after a lovely run from Hugo Inglis. Just before the quarter break the Tridents equalised through a Connor Greentree penalty stroke after a clumsy Alpiners tackle.

Moss Jackson put the Alpiners back in front near the end of the second quarter with a strong reverse shot.

Kane Russell showed his drag flicking prowess after the buzzer went for the end of the second quarter, putting away the penalty corner with his signature shot for a 3-1 lead.

The Alpiners saved their best for their last two goals. Just before the end of the third quarter Sam Lane controlled a lovely overhead from his Black Sticks skipper Blair Tarrant, beat the defender and fired a cracking reverse shot into the goal.

Joseph Morrison made something out of nothing for the Alpiners fifth goal, as the youngster got a magical touch on a ball flying across the circle.

Southern Alpiners 5 (Finn Ward 5 min, Moss Jackson 25 min, Kane Russell 30 min, Sam Lane 44 min, Joseph Morrison 46 min)
Northern Tridents 1 (Connor Greentree 14 min)

The Hauraki Mavericks have kept their finals hopes alive with a 3-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Central Falcons in the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League in Hamilton tonight.

A much-improved Mavericks side were on show tonight after yesterday’s disappointing effort, with Black Sticks veteran Arun Panchia returning to strengthen up their defence and skipper Nic Woods on fire at penalty corner time.

Woods opened the scoring for the home side with a well-taken penalty corner drag flick after 12 minutes. Simon Child added to the home side’s tally with a penalty stroke early in the second quarter after a penalty corner scramble was stopped by a Falcons body on the goal-line.

The Mavericks 2-0 halftime lead was quickly eclipsed in the third spell with Jacob Smith picking up the scraps in front of goal to grab the first for the Falcons, before Sam Hiha found the equaliser less than a minute later.

Woods restored the Mavericks lead minutes later with another brilliantly taken penalty corner drag flick, and the 3-2 lead remained until the final whistle.

The Mavericks and Alpiners now both have 10 points (behind the Falcons on 16) with two round-robin matches on Saturday to confirm who will meet the Falcons in Sunday’s final.

Hauraki Mavericks 3 (Nic Woods 12 min and 38 min, Simon Child 17 min)

Central Falcons 2 (Jacob Smith 36 min, Sam Hiha 36 min)