Stampede keep Queenstown final hopes alive

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Queenstown ice hockey team Southern Stampede has continued their push for the finals with impressive weekend wins.
 
Stampede destroyed Botany Swarm 9-3 on Friday night and then came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 on Saturday, at Queenstown Ice Arena. 

The wins mean Stampede can again reach the finals of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League by winning three of their remaining four games. 

Captain Simon Glass says: “We didn’t really change our game plan but they adjusted for the second game to deal with our attacking. 

“On Friday, we capitalised on every attacking opportunity we got and then on Saturday they were just a little bit tougher to play against because they knew what to expect. 

“Our game plan was to get in and be quite physical in the offensive zone, make their defence make errors, and create turnovers and scoring opportunities from that. 

“That’s our style now – our forwards are quite big so there’s a benefit we can get in there and knock them round a wee bit. 

“That seems to have been going pretty well. It’s one of several plans, but I guess a key at the weekend. 

“On Saturday, we weren’t as accurate with our shooting and their goalie also played extremely well. We outshot them 2:1 – 40 to 20, so he really stood on his head. 

“It was quite tense. We were down 2-0 and then we scored three in the last 25 minutes of the game, including the game winner with five minutes to go. 

“The crowd were fantastic all weekend.” 

Stampede were written off after the Trans-Tasman Champions League in Melbourne but seem to be on for a repeat of last second’s second-half comeback. Stampede won their last six games to make the 2011 final but lost to Swarm. 

“We’ve had a big change since we came back from Melbourne,” Glass says. 

“We weren’t overly satisfied with how it went there and had a pretty good change around and then from then we’ve just been building on it. 

“We’ve got that confidence and momentum which will hopefully keep us going for the next four games.” 

Stampede play Admirals in Auckland on Saturday and Sunday.