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)

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