Hockey: North Harbour goes clear at NHL

North Harbour's Cory Bennett scores for North Harbour. Photo / Photosport
North Harbour's Cory Bennett scores for North Harbour. Photo / Photosport

The North Harbour Men have gone clear at the top of the standings after a high energy battle against the Canterbury Cavaliers in Round 5 of the Ford National Hockey League.

In a match between the one and two ranked sides, Canterbury opened the scoring two minutes from halftime with Sam Lane slipping a shot past Harbour goalkeeper Richard Joyce.

A 49th minute penalty corner saw Harbour draw level when Cory Bennett put a powerful drag flick into the backboard.

With the game heading for a shoot-out, Harbour's leading goal scorer Robbie Capizzi delivered the winning blow from a goal mouth scramble just one minute from fulltime.

The result puts North Harbour clear at the top on 16 points, while Canterbury remain second on 12 points although they have a game in hand over Harbour and Central who are yet to have their bye.

The Central Mavericks kept their finals hopes alive with a 10-0 demolition of hosts Northland, fuelled by a hat-trick from Martin Atkinson and doubles to Matt Young, Brennan Alexander-Parker and Dylan Thomas.

Central were in dominant form right from the opening whistle, scoring four goals in the first half before pouring on another six after halftime. The result keeps the Mavericks in the race for a top two finish just behind Canterbury on 11 points with one pool game still to play.

Midlands downed defending champions Capital Cobras 2-1 thanks to a strong opening quarter which saw Leo Mitai-Wells and Zac Woods find the back of the net.

Capital responded through a Stephen Jenness field goal in the 15th minute but couldn't find an equaliser as Midlands defended strongly for the remainder of the match.

In Women's results, the Canterbury Cats jumped to the top of the table on 13 points after a tight 1-0 win over North Harbour.

It was a match which saw both sides perform well defensively with Hannah Hill's 14th minute field goal proving the crucial blow.

The Cats are sitting pretty in number one spot with two round robin games still to play, while North Harbour are nipping at their heels but face a bye in Round 7 on Friday.

Midlands consolidated fourth place on 10 points following a straightforward 4-0 victory against Capital thanks to a commanding second half.

Capital struggled to build any momentum and couldn't contain the attacking game of Midlands, with Kate Kernaghan and Amy Robinson both scoring doubles.

Northland came away with their first win at the tournament after defeating the Central Mysticks 3-2.

Samantha Polovnikoff stole the show with two quality goals while Neve McLean added a third for the hosts. Captain Michaela Curtis and Pippa Norman netted for Central.

With the tournament nearing the business end, Round 6 gets underway from 1:30pm Wednesday at the Whangarei ITM Hockey Centre.

- NZ Herald

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