Fight fin­ishes off big Stam­pede win

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - DEB­BIE JAMIESON Stam­pede pho­tos, page 39.

Two Stam­pede play­ers could be fac­ing sus­pen­sions af­ter a fight that broke out with only one minute on the clock dur­ing the team’s com­mand­ing win at the Queen­stown Ice Arena on Satur­day night.

The two-time New Zealand Ice Hockey League ti­tle holder, Queen­stown-based Skyc­ity Stam­pede, were al­most half­way through the 2017 sea­son, with only one loss when they met the Botany Swarm for two games dur­ing Queen­stown Win­ter Fes­ti­val.

Stam­pede con­clu­sively won the Fri­day night fix­ture 6-2 but started slowly on Satur­day, notch­ing up only one goal in the first pe­riod.

How­ever, home crowd sup­port saw the trickle turn into an avalanche of goals for the lo­cal team, who were sit­ting at 8-0 with only a minute left of play when the fight broke out.

Stam­pede coach Adam Blanchette said Stam­pede player Con­nor Har­ri­son made ‘‘a good, clean, hard hit’’ against An­drew Hay.

As Hay lay on the ground his brother and team­mate Oliver yanked off his hel­met and took to Har­ri­son, lead­ing Stam­pede play­ers to de­fend Har­ri­son.

‘‘You ei­ther take 20 punches to the head or your team mate comes in to help...I stand by my team,’’ Blanchette said.

Af­ter sev­eral min­utes of dis- cus­sion ref­er­ees gave Har­ri­son and Oliver Hay match­ing penal­ties for fight­ing. Stam­pede player Mitchell Frear was also pe­nalised as third man on - a player en­ter­ing a fight al­ready un­der­way.

How­ever, while the two Stam­pede play­ers were forced to leave the rink for the fi­nal minute, the Swarm player did not.

Blanchette said he was con­fused by the de­ci­sion.

Botany Swarm coach Jeff Boehme de­clined to com­ment on the fight and sub­se­quent de­ci­sions.

‘‘There was an of­fi­cial on the ice. It’s up to them to make the call and keep the game un­der con­trol,’’ he said.

Blanchette said it was dis­ap­point­ing the fight de­tracted from the good work of goalie As­ton Brookes whose work rate kept the Swarm score­less.

He was pre­par­ing an ap­peal against the sus­pen­sions.

The game was also no­table for the two sets of three sib­lings on the ice: Oliver, Josh and An­drew Hay, play­ing for the Botany Swarm, and Cameron, Mitchell and Lach­lan Frear, play­ing for the Stam­pede.

‘‘You ei­ther take 20 punches to the head or your team mate comes in to help.’’

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