The North Harbour women took home the K Cup after their 2-0 win over Central this afternoon (Sunday, September 23) at the 2018 Ford NHL, while the Capital men defeated North Harbour in a thrilling shootout (1-1, 3-2 SO) to capture the Challenge Shield at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington.
Ford NHL Womens Gold Medal Game: North Harbour vs. Central
Central entered this final searching for their first NHL championship since 2009 and only their third in tournament history, while North Harbour were searching for their first title since 2010.
The first quarter saw a wide open game with some great build up play. Both teams had chances in the opposition circle but the goalkeepers were proving up to the task early on in the game.
After an even first quarter, the game remained scoreless with both teams still trying to figure out how to break down their opposition.
In the second quarter, North Harbour looked set to score on a well set up German penalty corner; however, the Central defence scrambled well to stop the shot going in. Central had an amazing opportunity when an overhead was thrown to an unopened player at the top of the circle, but fell short when the North Harbours goalkeeper Brooke Roberts covered well.
North Harbour then broke down the other end of the field where Courtney Winterbottom touched in a great cross ball to give her team a 1-0 advantage.
The game stayed at 1-0 to North Harbour at the halftime break.
The second half saw a continuation of the arm wrestle from the first half. In the 42nd minute Kirsten Pearce slammed home a ball that had popped up off a Central defender. The second goal saw the Central speed their game up in an attempt to catch up to a strong North Harbour team
North Harbour held their nerve to secure the regions first K Cup since 2010 in a 2-0 win over Central.
Full Time: North Harbour 2, Central 0.
Harbours Kirsten Pearce and Centrals Kaitlin Cotter shared the Just Hockey Top Goal Scorer award, while Centrals young Olivia Shannon earned the Ford Most Valuable Player Trophy. Shannon recently helped the Iona College team capture the Aon Secondary Schools Federation Cup title for the first time in school history.
Ford NHL Mens Gold Medal Game: North Harbour vs. Capital
North Harbour headed into this game looking to defend their 2017 title, as well as trying to make it four from four for tournament titles with the women winning the Ford NHL in the previous game and the mens and womens North Harbour teams in the National Senior Tournament winning their respective tournaments too.
Capital started the game in the best possible fashion when Sebastian Buddle deflected a ball past Richard Joyce and into the back of the net in the 3rd minute of play giving Capital a 1-0 advantage.
From that point the game went from end to end where both teams had their chances but neither team were able to break through. The match remained 1-0 at the half.
Capital started the second half trying to play some great possession hockey where their trade mark ball speed around the back was on display. Once North Harbour got their sticks on the ball they looked threatening and at any point this game could open up.
Neither teams were able to take their opportunities in the 3rd quarter despite there being some great chances in front of goal.
With 4 minutes left on the clock North Harbour pulled their goal keeper. The move pulled off for the Harbour men as Kalyan Jeram touched home a ball that was bouncing around the far post to tie the game at 1-1. Noone was able to break the deadlock in the remaining minutes which sent the game into a shootout.
After the first round of shootouts the teams were inseperable, leaving a thrilling sudden death matchup. Benedict Van Woerkom used some silky skills to eliminate the goalie and put Capital into the drivers seat. Kalyan Jeram then stepped up for his shootout as he tried to eliminate the goalie. Kyle Pontifex then tapped the ball away and sealed the win for Capital.
The last time Capital won the Ford NHL was in 2015.
Final Score: Capital 1, North Harbour 1 (3-2 SO win to Capital)
The Ford Most Valuable Player Trophy was awarded to Capital captain Dane Lett, while the Just Hockey Top Goal Scorer award went to Cory Bennett with a total of 11 during his 2018 Ford NHL campaign.
Ford NHL Womens Bronze Medal Game: Midlands vs. Auckland
Two teams that were so close to making the gold medal match had to put aside their disappointment of missing out on the final and focus on securing the bronze medal. The last time these teams met in the round robin they couldnt be separated during regulation and ended up going to a shootout which Midlands ended up winning.
The Midlands team started the match strongly earning a penalty corner after 10 seconds in the match but couldnt convert. Aucklands defence was strong and absorbed all the early pressure that was thrown at them.
Eventually Midlands were rewarded for patience and determination up front when they got second phase play in a penalty corner and Viola Scharf swept it into the goal.
Midlands started the second quarter strongly and managed to get a few more shots off. Aucklands defence was up to the challenge and were resolute to not let the lead grow. As the quarter progressed, both teams had opportunities but neither were able to put a goal away. At the half the score remained 1-0 to Midlands.
The third quarter was a relatively even affair where both teams got the ball down into the oppositions defending zone but neither team were able to score a goal. With three minutes to go in regulation time, Auckland pulled their goal keeper to help their chances at evening the game.
Midlands responded well to this move by holding possession and frustrating the Auckland team. Midlands held their ground to keep the 1-0 lead and secure the bronze medal.
Full Time: Midlands 1, Auckland 0.
Ford NHL Mens Bronze Medal Game: Canterbury vs. Auckland
Two teams with a storied rivalry met in the bronze medal match to add another chapter to what has always been tightly fought games.
Canterbury started the game in the best possible manner when they scored a ripping field goal two minutes into the game. The opening spell then went from end to end with both teams having a number of opportunities in front of goal.
Canterbury put their second goal of the game in when Sam Lane put a drag flick off of the goalies pads and into the goal. Auckland seemed to gain their composure at this point and had some opportunities themselves to get them back into the game; however, Canterbury were reluctant to concede.
Canterbury got their third goal of the half when a cross ball was sent in and Joshua Pollard one timed a shot past the Auckland keeper. Canterbury continued to apply pressure and frustrate the Auckland team with some slick passing and well-timed leads from the strikers.
Just before the half Canterbury put their 4th goal in when Richard Bain found the back of the net to give his team a 4-0 lead.
The second half started as a much more even affair with neither team able to change the score line. At the start of the 4th quarter, Auckland got a penalty corner where they worked a beautiful German penalty corner that was finished off by Jacob Smith. That took Smiths goal total for the tournament to 5.
Canterbury regained their four-goal buffer a few minutes later when Sam Lane put in a powerful drag flick and take his tournament goal total to seven. Lane completed the hat trick with Canterburys 6th goal in what looked like a clinical performance from South Island men. The match finished with a 6-1 score to Canterbury, earning them the 2018 Ford NHL Mens Bronze Medal.
Full Time: Canterbury 6, Auckland 1.
If you missed out on the action, head over to the Hockey New Zealand Facebook page or the Black Sticks YouTube Channel for a replay of the livestream.
The 2018 Ford National Hockey League is proudly supported by Ford, Educare, Vantage, Trillian Trust, NZCT, Wellington City Council and Wellington Hockey.