Central in slow NHL start

Manawatu Standard - - SPORT - GE­ORGE HEAGNEY

Nei­ther of Central’s re­in­forced teams had much of an im­pact at the open­ing week­end of the Na­tional Hockey League in Welling­ton.

The Central Mav­er­icks men and My­sticks women both have all their Black sticks avail­able this sea­son, fringe New Zealand play­ers, a host of re­turn­ing play­ers, and the women have a hand­ful of for­mer Black Sticks.

The My­sticks lost their games on Satur­day and Sun­day and the Mav­er­icks men were beaten in their only game on Satur­day.

The My­sticks would have been gut­ted to start with a 3-1 shootout loss to North Har­bour, hav­ing been drawn 1-all at full­time.

Emma Rainey scored for Central in the first quar­ter, but Manawatu¯ ex­pat Steph Dick­ins an­swered back for North Har­bour in the 18th minute.

In their sec­ond game, Central were beaten 4-1 by Mid­lands when Natasha Fitzsi­mons scored a hat­trick. Fitzsi­mons scored first, be­fore Holly Pear­son lev­elled for Central, both goals com­ing from penalty cor­ners in the first quar­ter.

Gemma Mc­caw scored in the sec­ond quar­ter for Mid­lands, then Fitzsi­mons grabbed two more goals in the sec­ond half.

In the other women’s games on Satur­day, de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Can­ter­bury started with a 3-0 vic­tory against South­ern, North­land snatched a 3-2 win over Mid­lands and Auck­land held on for a 2-0 win against Cap­i­tal.

In Sun­day’s round of games, Auck­land beat South­ern 2-1 and Can­ter­bury beat Cap­i­tal 1-0. North­land and North Har­bour played on Sun­day night.

The Central Mav­er­icks men were on the re­ceiv­ing end of a 3-0 loss against an im­pres­sive Auck­land team, who put in a dis­play of struc­tured at­tack­ing hockey.

Auck­land scored two goals from penalty cor­ners through broth­ers Arun and Jared Panchia, while Michael Ritchie net­ted from the field 10 min­utes from full­time.

In the other men’s games, North Har­bour snatched a thrilling 4-3 come­back win over Cap­i­tal, Can­ter­bury se­cured an em­phatic 10-1 thump­ing of North­land, and South­ern downed Mid­lands 2-1.

The Central men play North­land on Mon­day, while the women have Mon­day off and play North­land on Tues­day.

PHOTO: PHOTOSPORT

Central’s Han­nah Wil­liamson, centre left, takes eva­sive ac­tion as goal­keeper Ge­or­gia Bar­nett, saves a shot at goal.

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