Rampant Stampede clinches NIHL title

Last weekend, in Auckland, their collective foot went on the accelerator.

In Queenstown last night, the SkyCity Stampede went full throttle, skating away with the 2019 National Ice Hockey League title and locking up the Birgel Cup for the sixth time in the league's 14-year-history.

The home side, for the first time under the guidance of new coach Cam Frear, convincingly beat the West Auckland Admirals, 6-2.

The capacity crowd at the Queenstown Ice Rink included star Stampede player Callum Burns, who has missed the entire season due to injury, but was back on the ice with his team for the first time on Thursday night.

The parochial home crowd got louder with every goal scored by the home-town heroes, who shut last year's champions out completely from the start.

Stampede was first on the board, courtesy of captain Matt Schneider about 11 minutes into the game, followed soon after by Brian Dunford.

It took just over a minute of the second period for Connor Harrison to hit the back of the net.

The Admirals retaliated - captain Justin Daigle scored for the visitors about four minutes later but the Stampede, showing non-stop intensity, upped the ante.

Lachlan Frear and Liam Stewart took the score to 5-1 going into the final period.

With 12 minutes left on the clock, Stampede's Ryan Strayer took the champion to 6-1 and while the Admirals managed to score a few seconds later, the Stampede held them out until the final whistle - delayed by several minutes after the second of two all-in brawls in the game.


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