Southern takes fifth spot at end of National Hockey League after shootout seals win in exciting game against Central

There was consolation waiting for Southern at the end of the National Hockey League.

The Dogs finished in a respectable fifth place after prevailing in a shootout with Central in Tauranga yesterday.

It was a cracking final game. Central made the early running, slapping in goals in the second and fifth minute.

Jordan Ward pulled one back for Southern in the 20th mi-
nute. And in a dramatic final quarter, Nathan Gilbert secured an equaliser in the 49th minute.

But Central responded immediately through Koji Yamasaki.

The game looked lost until striker Kieran O'Connor scored from a penalty corner with six minutes remaining to tie the score 3-3.

Southern iced three of its first four attempts to win the shootout 3-2.

Coach Clive Daniels could not be reached for comment. But his side did well to finish the tournament strongly.

It missed out on a spot in the top four earlier in the week but beat Midlands 2-1 on Saturday to slip into the playoff for fifth and sixth.

The Southern women's team also finished on a high note of sorts. While the Storm extended its losing streak to 33 games, it did score three goals in its last two matches.

It lost 3-2 to Auckland on Saturday and was defeated 3-1 in the playoff for seventh and eighth by Capital.

Storm coach Matt Ling could not be reached for comment.

North Harbour claimed the women's title with a 2-0 win against Northland, while North Harbour won the final 2-1.

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