Ice Blacks lose battle but win transtasman war

The Ice Blacks had plenty of reasons to celebrate despite losing the final test to Australia 6-3,...
The Ice Blacks had plenty of reasons to celebrate despite losing the final test to Australia 6-3, as they were successful in claiming their first ever series victory over their transtasman rivals. Photo: James Allan/Winter Games NZ
A powerful comeback from the Australian Mighty Roos  thwarted the Ice Blacks’ hopes of a series sweep, but the men in black still had plenty of reasons to celebrate after securing their first ever series win against their transtasman rivals.

The third and final test in Queenstown, as part of the Winter Games, began in much the same fashion as the first two, with the home side dominating proceedings.

Goals from Matt Schneider and Ryan Strayer inside the opening 10 minutes seemed to spell nothing but victory for the Ice Blacks, although a goal from Australian captain Lliam Webster late in the first period got the visitors back into the game.

The second period remained quiet until a breakaway from Strayer led to an easy finish for Chris Eaden and restored the two-goal advantage.

But that was as good as it got for the Kiwis, as the Roos suddenly found their feet and proceeded to fire in shots on goal, and had tied  the score up at 3-3 by the end of the period through goals from Bert Malloy and Jamie Woodman.

The Roos took that momentum into the third period, remarkably scoring twice in the first two minutes, through Tyler Kubara and Vadim Virjassov, before Virjassov added another in the dying stages for good measure.

Despite the loss, the crowd erupted at the final buzzer, as they and the Ice Blacks celebrated making history.

For his brilliant performances in games one and two, Ice Blacks forward Alex Polosov was named most valuable player for the series.

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