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