Sunday, September 23 will see North Harbour and Central women go head-to-head in the 2018 Ford NHL final, while the men’s competition will see reigning champions North Harbour and Capital battle it out for the national title.
Women’s Final Round Robin Games Recap
Mark Cromie Holden Northland vs John Turkington Forestry Central Mysticks
Central started the game as the aggressors, dominating the majority of possession and territory throughout the first quarter. They were rewarded with a well-placed, low drag flick from Pippa Norman to put themselves up 1-0. Central continued to build that momentum and scored again off a deflected ball from Nicole Welraven from another penalty corner.
That second Central goal seemed to get the Northland team fired up, which saw them start to play much more aggressively. Despite a few opportunities, Northland were unable to get a goal back before the half time break.
Central started the second spell with great build up play and determination to extend their lead. They were rewarded in the 6th minute of the second half when a cross ball was touched home by Kaitlin Cotter, her 7th goal of the campaign to put Central ahead by three, 3-0. The win was sealed in the 57th minute when another one of Central’s young star players, Olivia Shannon, shot home a great forehand shot on the counter attack.
The win pushed Central to 16 points on the table, while Northland remained on 9 points where they will come up against Southern tomorrow in the 7th and 8th playoff game.
Final Time: Mark Cromie Holden Northland 0, John Turkington Forestry Central Mysticks 4
Canterbury vs Auckland
This match was going to play a huge role in the seedings for Sunday’s finals. Going into the game, with an outright win either team would qualify for the final, however, a shootout would allow Central to qualify for the final.
The match started at a high pace with both teams playing some creative and attacking hockey. This showed when both teams had one-on-one opportunities where the goalkeepers pulled off some incredible saves to keep the match locked at 0-0.
Canterbury broke the deadlock after 10 minutes into the second quarter when a slick penalty corner was fired into the corner of the goal by Leah Butt. Auckland immediately went on the attack searching to get the goal back. At the half, Canterbury was still in the lead 1-0.
Auckland continued to push to get the equaliser in the early parts of the second half. Eventually Belinda Smith scored a penalty corner goal in the 43rd minute. With 8 minutes to go both teams decided to pull their goalkeepers as a draw wouldn’t get either team through.
A number of opportunities arose but neither team was able to break the deadlock and the match went to a shootout, ending both teams hopes of winning the 2018 Ford NHL.
Canterbury took the early charge in the shootout going up 2-0 before Auckland eventually pulled one back through Deanna Ritchie. Canterbury managed to hold their nerve and eventually won the shootout 3-1. The result left both teams waiting to see how the rest of Saturday’s games would play out to determine the bronze medal match for Sunday.
Full Time: Canterbury 2, Auckland 2. Shootout 3:1
Bayleys Midlands vs Ricoh Capital Women
The Midlands women came into the match still with a mathematical chance to make the final and defend their 2017 title. For this to happen they needed the win and the Southern women to stun the North Harbour team in their match directly after this one.
Midlands started the game strongly and put the Capital women under a lot of pressure. They were rewarded for their positive attacking in the 13th minute when Georgia Morton scored a goal from a penalty corner. Midlands continued to apply pressure and scored their second goal in the 17th minute of the match to Kim Tanner. Just before the half time hooter, Midlands put their third of the match in when Natasha Fitzsimons converted a penalty stroke.
The second half saw no change to the score, giving Midlands the 3-0 win and the 4 points. The Capital women will take on Canterbury in the 5th and 6th playoff match.
Full Time: Bayleys Midlands 3, Ricoh Capital Women 0.
Tiger Turf North Harbour vs Southern
The Southern team was the only thing standing in the way of the Tiger Turf North Harbour team playing in tomorrow’s final against the Central. Heading into the game, a win or draw would qualify them for the final match.
The match started perfectly for North Harbour when Ella Hyatt-Brown scored a field goal. Southern then defended stoutly for the remainder of the first half to keep the score to 1-0 at the half-time break. Starting the second spell, Southern managed to level the game when Tinesha Carey scored a goal from a penalty corner to tie the game at 1-1.
The goal seemed to wake North Harbour up as the following attacks creating several scoring opportunities. Stephanie Dickins scored in the 36th minute from a penalty corner. That was followed by field goals to Holly Pearson, Petrea Webster and Courtney Winterbottom to make the score 5-1. The 6th and final goal was scored by Stephanie Dickins, her second of the evening, and ensured North Harbour a place in the 2018 Ford NHL final. The loss leaves Southern searching for their first win of the campaign tomorrow against Northland.
Full Time: Southern 1, Tiger Turf North Harbour 6.
Coming up for the women
The bronze medal match between Midlands and Auckland will take place at 9:45am followed by the Central-North Harbour gold medal match scheduled to begin at 1:45am. Both of these games will be livestreamed via the Hockey New Zealand Facebook page and Black Sticks YouTube channel.
Men’s Semifinal Games Recap
Bayleys Midlands vs Southern
This match would determine who finishes the tournament 7th and who gets to take on Central in tomorrow’s match for 5th place. Southern had shown great improvement over the week and managed to upset Midlands in round robin play. Midlands were coming off of a massive win over the Central and were looking to build on that impressive performance.
Southern started the game strongly but Midlands were able to absorb the pressure and apply the counter attack to earn themselves a penalty corner. Mark Weber drag flicked from the penalty corner which hit a Southern player on the line. This resulted in a penalty stroke which Mark Weber converted.
Southern continued to play the fast attacking style of hockey that they had been playing all week and were eventually rewarded with a goal to Jack Gilbert from a well-worked attacking play. The match turned into a bit of an arm wrestle from that point forward until in the 42nd minute when Midlands went back-to-back in quick succession with 2 powerfully struck goals to Connor Herewini and Stirling Milicich.
Southern then pulled their keeper to give themselves momentum and were rewarded with a penalty corner goal to Jordan Ward to make the game 3-2. Southern weren’t able to break the Midlands defensive line and the game ended in a 3-2 Midlands win.
Full Time: Bayleys Midlands 3, Southern 2.
Ford NHL Semifinal 1: Canterbury vs Tiger Turf North Harbour
After these two sides couldn’t be separated 2 days ago, this game was set to be an attacking, fast paced match. North Harbour possesses the competitions leading goal scorer, Cory Bennett, while both teams featured current Black Sticks.
North Harbour started the game strong and had some early opportunities. However, it was Canterbury who scored the first goal for the day when they drew the runners on a penalty corner to the top of the circle and then passed to the left side of the turf where they slotted the ball past the goal keeper.
North Harbour was able to even the game up, 1-1, through a Robbie Capizzi field goal which he was able to shoot past the keeper from close range. North Harbour then hit the front when a ball put across the face of the goal was touched in by an unmarked Kalyan Jeram, 2-1.
North Harbour extended their lead when the competitions leading goal scorer, Cory Bennett, flicked home a goal in the 3rd quarter. Canterbury came out in the 4th quarter needing to score to keep their title chances alive. They eventually captured their second goal when a well-run baseline play led to Joshua Pollard finding the back of the net, marking his second goal of the game. This set up an exciting last few minutes where Canterbury applied a lot of pressure. In the end, North Harbour held on and secured a spot in the final and a chance to go back-to-back.
Final Score: Tiger Turf North Harbour 3, Canterbury 2.
Ford NHL Semifinal 2: Auckland vs Ricoh Capital Cobras
These two teams met three days ago in round robin play where Auckland came out on top, 2-0. Needless to say, it was bound to be a highly contested battle for that final spot in the gold medal match.
The game started out at high speed where neither team were able to create any significant chances. Despite this the match was played at an incredibly high level where Auckland played with some real attacking flair and some great passing sequences in their attacking zone, while Ricoh Capital Cobras constructed play with some great long passes coming through from Dane Lett.
With 7 minutes to go Auckland’s Jacob Smith scored a great field goal. This looked to be sending Auckland through to the final, but Capital had a little extra up their sleeves in the last moments of the game.
With an extra field player, Capital grabbed a penalty corner which Dane Lett drag flicked past Devon Manchester to tie the game up at 1-1 in the final 60 seconds, sending the home crowd to their feet. Just 20 seconds later, Capital sent a ball through the circle to an unmarked Daan Jongejan on the back post who touched it into the net to make the game 2-1 to Capital. With 40 seconds remaining, Auckland tried to dribble the ball up but couldn’t get through the resolute defence. Capital took the win and advanced to the final.
Full Time: Auckland 1, Ricoh Capital Cobras 2.
Coming up for the men
The men’s bronze medal match between Canterbury and Auckland will begin at 11:45am. At 4:00pm, North Harbour will be looking for back-to-back Ford NHL Champions when they come up against Capital in the gold medal match. Like the women’s gold and bronze medal matches, these too will be live streamed on the Hockey New Zealand Facebook page and Black Sticks YouTube channel.