Local derby’s between Thunder and Stampede are always games fought with passion. Tonight’s game was no exception. - 1st Aug 2015

Local derby’s between Thunder and Stampede are always games fought with passion. Tonight’s game was no exception. There was a feeling that Thunder would be on the back foot tonight. This season has been a perfect storm for the boys from the South. They have been hit hard with some key players like Connor Harrison and Ben Roth out for the season with injuries.

This week has also been one for the legal eagles at the league. Several teams have played to the letter of the league regulations by bringing in players at the last minute before the 31st July cut off for player transfers.

Thunder have taken advantage of this by bringing in New Zealand goal tender Jayden Pine-Murphy. Jayden who is currently playing in Melbourne was brought in to fill a gap created by a succession of goalie issues. The Thunder has an import goalie in Jakub Pyrochta. Unfortunately the league has a rule that only allows import goalies to play 66% of the season. Thunders 2nd string goalie Toby Shuck has been injured and is unavailable. Barrett Wilson did a fantastic job against Botany Swarm last week but openly admitted that against the leagues leader, Stampede he would struggle.

The first period started at a frantic pace and much to the pleasure of the local Dunedin crowd Paris Heyd started the scoring with a stunning one on one goal against Stampedes goalie Matt Swirtz.

Eight minutes later Gareth Lloyd equalised. This was quickly followed by another Paris Heyd goal to make it 2-1. With 13 seconds left in the first period Stampedes import Jade Portland slotted a goal to head into the changing rooms tied up 2 all.

The second period started and ended with Stampede pulling out their signature weapon. Thunder coach Janos Kaszala made the call before the game that this would happen. Stampede has a troop of very good imports this year. The second period has traditionally been when American coach Adam Blanchette unleashes them. Plan is to play the imports till a goal is scored. They then play them again and again rotating briefly into the second line to enable them to draw breathes. This proved very effective again this week.

Four goals by imports Frey (USA), Portland (Canada) and 2 from McRae (USA) within ten minutes, in affect put the game out of reach for the Dunedin team.

The teams hit the changing rooms at the end of the second period with Stampede leading 6-2.

The third period began with five rapid fire goals within ten minutes. Thunders Jacob Hurring, Arthur Konchar and Hannu Harju took the spoils for Thunder while USA import Greg Collins took 2 by himself for the Stampede. With Thunder bringing the score back to 8-5, Stampede reverted once again to their very effective 2 line system to take control of the game again.

Gareth Lloyd turned the tide with his second goal of the night with just over 3 minutes to go on the clock. Not to be out done Paris Heyd nailed his hat trick 2 minutes later with a stunning backhand goal that snuck between the post and defender Lucas Frey’s pads.

Final score 9-6 to Stampede. The crowd can be well pleased with getting to see 15 goals. Thunder can be well pleased to score 6 goals with an injury ravaged team. Stampede can be pleased to survive another game with no injuries leading into the finals.

Report written by Pete Wallis
Photo Aitken Photographic

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