If you could predict how this year's NHL will finish up, I'd say you should get a job predicting the future because after a cracking weekend of hockey both sides of the tournament are jam packed.
The talented hockey folk have the day off today to kick back, enjoy the sights and sounds of the North Shore possibly even venture out in to the greater Auckland area. Who knows, but we know that they'll be making the most of their day off as 3 days of intense hockey can take it's toll and with both the ladies and gents competitions looking to be pretty competitive, there'll be ice baths all round.
It's a fast moving comp, so here's some thoughts from the past 3 days.
- Northland, the Northland lads will be resting their hopes on their female counterparts who are playing super duper hockey. They grabbed 3 wins from 3 games as they dispatched of Capital, Central and Southern (a tight shoot out win) to secure a finals spot. As predicted, Stacey Michelsen is in fine form and is leading this hard working crew of Northlanders, giving them a bit of class.
- Midlands stopped the Canterbury Cats win streak as they beat them 2-1 in a shootout following a 2-2 draw at full time. Midlands also got up over Capital to ensure they stay in the hunt with Sam Charlton proving to be the key figure.
- Auckland are benefiting greatly from having Julia King in fine form and with Liz Thompson playing a great anchoring role in D, Auckland have some great young talent to go along with their usual cast of stars. Expect them to only get better as they spend more time figuring this hockey thing out together.
- It will be interesting to see if Canterbury can keep up their good work as they play a lovely attacking brand of hockey, but the new quarters system could provide competitive teams with a chance to pounce on any fatigue. They suffered a 2-1 loss to the jaffas yesterday which wouldn't have helped the cause either.
- The men's side is equally congested with Midlands, Auckland, North Harbour, Southern and Canterbury all with a chance of making the finals.
- Over the weekend the lads from Midlands were impressive as they defeated Canterbury and Northland to make a strong case as a threat. This threat was only enhanced with a 3-0 over Capital yesterday, can anyone stop Richard Petherick from scoring?
- In fact it was a rough weekend for the Cantabs who also lost to Auckland as Jonny Bilkey slotted home the winner. The work of Jamie Dwyer and Ryan Archibald was massive for the Aucklanders in their 3-2 win over Central. Like the ladies, expect to see these lads get better as they play a bit more hockey together and get used to Dwyer's awesomeness.
- With Dwyer in the action, Simon Orchard in fine form and Tim Deavin's Midlands also going alright, we could see the Aussies be key figures late in the tourny. As it's uber competitive, you'd imagine the teams with experienced campaigners will be successful. My team's to beat are Canterbury, Auckland and North Harbour with Southern sniffing around.