The Central Falcons hit the lead early against the Northern Tridents and would hold firm throughout the contest to see off the challenge of the Tridents as they went on to take the game 3-1.
The Falcons entered the match full of confidence following their last-second win over the Southern Alpiners on Thursday night. They came out of the blocks as the aggressor as they were pressing the Northern Tridents defence and forcing them into several turnovers. Midway through the first quarter Jacob Smith found some space in the attacking 25 and drove with speed into the circle. Smith would then flick the ball over the goalkeeper’s shoulder to put the Falcons in the lead 1-0.
The Tridents started to gain some confidence as the quarter wore on, and with moments left in the quarter, they earned themselves the first penalty corner of the match. Falcons goalkeeper Dominic Dixon would bring out the big right glove to deny the Tridents the equalizing goal.
Entering the second quarter the speed of the match went up a notch as both sides looked to shift the opposition defence and construct opportunities to get themselves on the front foot. The Tridents would have the first penalty corner of the second quarter, once more Dominic Dixon would pull off a strong reaching save.
The second half would start with the Falcons holding a narrow lead. They started the half looking to stretch out the game and overload down the flanks. Midway through the third quarter, the Falcons earned themselves a penalty corner, Jacob Smith would convert on his drag-flick for his second goal of the contest.
Early in the final quarter, the Falcons would get several opportunities to extend their lead. Some outstanding goalkeeping denied the Falcons on several scoring opportunities. With seven minutes to go the Tridents would get themselves back into the contest when Robbie Capizzi rocketed a shot into the top of the net to bring the Tridents within a goal of the Falcons.
Desperately searching for the equalizing goal, with five minutes to go in the match the Northern Tridents pulled their goalkeeper. The Falcons would take their opportunity and sealed the game when Sam Hiha put the ball into the open goal.
Central Falcons 3 (Jacob Smith 8, 39 min, Sam Hiha 59 min)
Northern Tridents 1 (Robbie Capizzi 54 min)
The Hauraki Mavericks have equalized in the dying moments of their match against the Southern Apliners to send the game to a penalty shootout. It was one-way traffic in the shootout as Leon Hayward would pull off some big saves to seal the bonus point for the home side.
The Alpiners and Mavericks are two sides littered with Vantage Black Sticks players, and the contest promised to be a tight encounter with plenty of attacking hockey on display. Early on it was the Mavericks who had the better of the game and were rewarded early on when they got themselves a penalty corner. Nic Woods would put a low drag-flick into the goal that would put the Mavericks in front 1-0.
Hugo Inglis is continuing to work his way back from injury and was showing some excellent touches while on the ball, he would put a great overhead through to Sam Lane at the top of the circle who rolled around the goalkeeper and would lay the ball off to Finn Ward to touch into the goal and tie the match up.
Inglis would be back in the thick of things just before the half time break when he weaved through several defenders in the circle on his way to putting the ball in the net. The Alpiners went into the sheds with a one-goal lead and looking for a big second half to get their first win of the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League.
Needing a goal, it was the Mavericks who were pushing forward early in the second half as they played with increased focus and discipline on the attacking end. They were continuing to be denied by the Alpiners all-star defensive unit.
With thirty seconds left on the clock and the Alpiners looking to close the Mavericks out, they conceded a penalty corner. Nic Woods would step up and put in his second drag-flick of the day to tie the match up and send the contest to a penalty shootout.
It was the Mavericks who would dominate the shootout 2-1 behind goals to Nic Woods and Simon Child as they claimed the bonus point for the shootout win and solidified second place on the Sentinel Homes Premier Hockey League table.
Southern Alpiners 1 (Finn Ward 9 min, Hugo Inglis 29 min)
Hauraki Mavericks 1 (Nic Woods 6 min, 60 min)
*Mavericks won shootout 2-1