The Central Falcons have put together a clinical performance in the final of the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League as they dispatched of the Northern Tridents 3-1 in the gold medal match.
The Central Falcons finished the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League Round Robin phase in first place after going through pool play undefeated. They entered the final full of confidence and started the match playing with plenty of go forward as they looked to get on the board early.
The Falcons would take one of their early chances from their second penalty corner. Megan Hull would sweep the ball to the post where Jenna-Rae McIntyre would calmly deflect the ball into the goal.
After being forced to absorb early pressure, the Northern Tridents started working their way into the contest and led by the inspired play of their captain Stacey Michelsen began creating several opportunities themselves.
Kirsten Pearce tied the match up early in the second quarter when a crash ball into the circle lobbed up, and she would then shot the ball over her shoulder into the top of the goal.
The Falcons regained their lead late in the second half when the ball struck the Tridents player on the foot resulting in a penalty stroke. Falcons captain Kayla Whitelock stepped forward and slotted the goal.
Minutes later a great Falcons screen would force the Tridents into a turnover in their half. Two long fast passes found Michaela Curtis in the circle. Her shot would rocket into the top of the net to give the Falcons a two-goal buffer in the second half.
The Tridents were aggressive early in the second half and went agonizingly close to getting their second goal following a Step Dickins drag-flick. The Falcons post defender would stop the ball on the line before clearing it out of the circle.
With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and in desperate need of finding goals to bring themselves back into the match, the Northern Tridents pulled their goalkeeper. While the move gave them momentum, they were unable to crack the Falcons defence who closed out the game and the inaugural Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League title.
Central Falcons 3 (Jenna-Rae McIntyre 7 min, Kayla Whitelock 24 min, Michaela Curtis 27 min)
Northern Tridents 1 (Kirsten Pearce 18 min)
The Hauraki Mavericks have left it late scoring a goal in the dying moments against the Southern Alpiners to seal a 1-0 win and secure the Bronze Medal in the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League.
The Alpiners continued their fine play to start the match as they would swing the ball around with great confidence as they looked to gain some early ascendancy against a determined Mavericks team.
The two sides couldn’t be separated early in the match as both teams constructed plenty of opportunities. Despite the treacherous playing conditions, both teams were playing with great speed and aggression on the pitch.
There was no troubling the scorers in the first half as neither side was able to take their opportunities in an open and entertaining second quarter.
The chess match continued in the second half as the Alpiners continued their aggressive press that was making life difficult for the Mavericks to clear their half. At the start of the fourth quarter, Olivia Merry would go close to breaking the deadlock when she got two shots off. However, the Mavericks defenders applied enough pressure to minimize the power in her shots.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Southern Alpiners would break down the field. Margot Willis would have a one on one with Grace O’Hanlon. Her reverse stick shot would be expertly saved by O’Hanlon as the scores remained locked at 0-0.
With three minutes to go in the match, the Hauraki Mavericks got the opening goal when Kirsty Nation couldn’t clear the rebound out of the circle. Lulu Tuilotolava would smash the loose ball into the goal as the Mavericks took the lead late.
Southern Alpiners 0
Hauraki Mavericks 1 (Lulu Tuilotolava 58 min)