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Ready for battle: Heading for the ice before their game against the Canterbury Devilettes last weekend are Wakatipu Wild players, from front, Kimberley Helmersson, Minna Ruski-Jones, Lova Holmqvist, Jordan Wichman, Inge Kemp (obscured), and Alexandra Laframboise. PICTURE: YVONNE KEMP

By GUY WILLIAMS

Queenstown’s women’s ice hockey team got off to a strong start in its season-opening round in Dunedin last weekend.

Wakatipu Wild pummelled Dunedin Thunder 8-0 on Saturday before pipping the Canterbury Devilettes 4-3 the same day.

They then lost 5-3 to Auckland Steel the next day, but sit atop the table, above their northern rivals, due to a superior goal differential.

‘‘It’s a good start, and now we know what we need to work towards,’’ captain Kellye Nelson says.

‘‘I think the passing was good, but we’ll work on just being first to that puck and winning those races.’’

The biggest lesson from the narrow loss to Auckland was staying focused for the full 60 minutes — Nelson says they lost it during eight minutes ‘‘when we kind of broke down’’.

But, she says, the 17-strong squad meshed together well in its first outing on the ice ‘‘with no egos and a great attitude’’.

‘‘It’s a really good group of ladies.’’

The second round, on September 4-5, will also be played in Dunedin, while the semis, final, and a playoff for third and fourth will be held in the resort on September 25-26.

Meantime, SkyCity Stampede play Auckland Mako tomorrow and Saturday nights at the Queenstown Ice Arena.

It’s the men’s league’s new team, comprising league veterans and future superstars

guy.williams@scene.co.nz