Team rise to chal­lenge

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

Out of sea­son and in a team put to­gether at the last minute, the South­ern Knights Pee Wee ice hockey team re­turned with a third plac­ing at their first in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment in Ade­laide last week. Coach Nick Flight said the team of un­der-14s played out of their skins to move through to the semi­fi­nals with­out a loss against the five older Aus­tralian teams, be­fore los­ing the semi but win­ning the play-off for third. ‘‘The Aus­tralian level of hockey is quite a bit higher than ours. We went hop­ing to win a game and it turns out we beat all the teams in the com­pe­ti­tion be­fore los­ing in the semi­fi­nal,’’ he said. The team was put to­gether over a week once it was con­firmed the tour­na­ment would be held and in­cluded Queen­stown mem­bers Jack­son Flight, Heath Pankhurst and Har­ri­son Mills while Taz Hall, Ben and Lachie Miller rep­re­sented Alexan­dra. The re­main­der of the team were from Gore, Dunedin and two in­vited play­ers from Auck­land. Ben Miller was named most val­ued player. The team op­er­ated on New Zealand time while there with some games start­ing at 6.30am each day. The strat­egy worked with huge im­prove­ments made in the first few days, Mr Flight said. Their first warm-up game against the team which ul­ti­mately won the tour­na­ment, the South Aus­tralian Sharks, saw them lose 10-1. It was the first time on the ice for any of the mem­bers since midOc­to­ber and their first game to­gether as a team. They won against the same team the next day in a shoot-out and ul­ti­mately beat them dur­ing the tour­na­ment 4-3. ‘‘They only lost one game in the whole tour­na­ment and it hap­pened to be the semi­fi­nals. We were ab­so­lutely stoked with that.’’

Photo: SUPERSPORTIMAGES

Ac­tion man: Wanaka multi-sports­man Braden Cur­rie led the pack from start to fin­ish dur­ing the Au­gusta Ad­ven­ture Fes­ti­val race while de­fend­ing his ti­tle in Aus­tralia ear­lier this month.

Photo: EMMADAWE

Pad­dling: Queen­stown ath­letes com­pet­ing in the kayak sec­tion of the Cen­tral Otago 24-hour ad­ven­ture race in Cromwell on Satur­day. From front: Brent Heard­son, Karl John­son and Marty McDon­ald.

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