Queenstown’s Stampede have one hand on ice hockey’s Birgel Cup.
After winning their first finals game against West Auckland Admirals last weekend, a win at Queenstown Ice Arena tonight will clinch their third straight New Zealand Ice Hockey League title.
Stampede coach Adam Blanchette reckons home advantage puts them in the driving seat.
He hopes they can wrap up the series with a confident win.
“You just have to find that killer instinct.”
The SkyCity-sponsored team won game one 5-3 at Admirals’ Paradice ice rink last Saturday.
Stampede captain Matt Schneider expected them to come out hard. He says: “It was really tight.
“[Goalie] Aston Brookes played really well for us, that was key in the first period.
“He’d some big saves that kept the score at 0-0 until halfway through the second period.”
Schneider says despite Admirals scoring first there was no panic.
“We knew we had to respond and were able to get a couple at the end of the second [period] which put them on their back heels.”
He was the first to get Stampede on the scoreboard with a penalty shot.
The Canadian realises expectations are high ahead of game two.
He also knows Admirals have game.
“They are a team with a lot of skill. They can hurt us on the power play – our plan is to play a clean game and not give them too many opportunities.”
“They [Admirals] are playing for their lives. We need to replicate what we did last week and play with that urgency. If we lose this game on Friday then we lose all that momentum, everything then switches to Auckland’s favour on Saturday.”
Blanchette and his coaching team will review video footage this week to help with team selection – and game tactics.
Stampede play West Auckland Admirals tonight at Queenstown Ice Arena, puck drop 7pm. Tickets for game three, if needed, will go on sale after Friday’s game