Stampede cast out Devils

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STAMPEDE coach Adam Blanchette says he’s hopeful about their chances of keeping the Birgel Cup in Queenstown this season after two big away wins.

The reigning champions took on Canterbury Red Devils in Christchurch last weekend, comfortably winning both matches.

The wins follow two losses against West Auckland Admirals in the first round of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League season the previous weekend.

On Saturday, Stampede won the match 14-2 and Sunday’s result was 10-3 at the Alpine Ice Sports Centre.

Ten of the team’s goals in the first match were scored in the final period, with Stampede storming ahead and scoring five goals during the first period on Sunday.

“It was really good to see that sort of response from the boys,” Blanchette says.

“The season started off pretty quick for us in terms of getting together the team.

“We knew we were going to pull through. We are a strong team this year.”

Stampede’s Patrick Volpe and Mike McRae both scored two goals in the first game of the weekend, followed by another great performance from McRae on Sunday, when he sent another two pucks into the back of the net.

Captain Matt Schneider and Stephen Johnston also scored two goals each in the second match.

Canadian imports Volpe and Johnston have now both made their mark on the ice since joining the squad as new recruits.

The team has won the Birgel Cup for the past three years in a row.

“We always look at the title as a big goal for us,” Blanchette says.

“I think we can contend for it.

“We should have at least a good chance to keep the cup in Queenstown.”

He says the team is going to get “better and better” as the season continues. Stampede take on Dunedin Thunder, whom they beat twice pre-season, tonight and on Saturday at Queenstown Ice Arena.

joshua.walton@scene.co.nz