Thunder trampled by Stampede

Stampede player Stefan Amston (left) gets a pass away despite the attentions of the Dunedin...
Stampede player Stefan Amston (left) gets a pass away despite the attentions of the Dunedin Thunder’s Max Hurring during an ice hockey match at the Dunedin Ice Stadium last night. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
It was not the homecoming the Dunedin Thunder hoped for.

But it was a certainly an exhibition of the Stampede's class.

The Queenstown side claimed an 8-2 win over the Thunder on the opening night of their double-header at the Dunedin Ice Stadium last night.

It was a classy display which left the Stampede unbeaten three matches into its revamped National Ice Hockey League season.

It was perhaps also a reminder of why this team has been so hard to beat in recent years.

The Thunder fought well through the opening period, but three goals early in the second period took the game away.

Callum Burns scored twice to give the Stampede a 2-0 buffer.

His first came early, capitalising on his side's early pressure.

The Thunder defence locked in and it began creating opportunities of its own as the period progressed.

But after an Adam Stitely breakaway was defended, the Stampede switched quickly to attack and Burns added a second late in the quarter.

Matt Enright hit back nearly straight away for the Thunder, pulling it within one before the break.

But the Stampede ensured the reprieve was short-lived.

It took advantage of a powerplay as ill-discipline left the Thunder short-handed.

Three quick goals to Colin McIntosh, Noah Gregory and Cameron Frear put the Stampede in firm control.

The Thunder defence again locked in, while it started creating a handful of opportunities of its own.

Paris Heyd in particularly threatened on breakaways, but the Stampede defence was solid and prevented the Thunder making a dent in the margin.

The Stampede added two more goals early in the third period.

Matthew Schneider made it 6-1 five minutes after the break, before Stefan Amston scored two minutes later, having been well set up by McIntosh.

The Thunder was finally able to fire a shot back late as it capitalised on a powerplay of its own.

Heyd made a break up the right, before Dylan Devlin got on the end of a pass to score with less than four minutes to play.

Frear added his second not long after to cap a quality night for the Stampede.

It leaves the Thunder with one win from its first three games.

The two teams play again tonight at 6.30pm.

It will once again be played in an empty stadium, due to Covid-19 Alert Level 2 gathering limits.

However, the game will be livestreamed on YouTube.

 

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