News and information relating to the players, teams and games taking place, keeping you in the loop with regards to local SASL ice hockey
View the comprehensive SASL game schedule between the three participating teams and their games taking place in Cape Town, Gauteng and Pretoria.
Keep up to date with the top players and teams as the goals rack-up, who is your favourite team and player and where are they on the standings.
|Game no.||Date / Venue / Time||Home Team||Away Team||Score|
|Game 1||8 May 2016 - Forest Hill - 21:15 - 22:30||Gauteng Wildcats||Pretoria Capitals||3 - 4|
|Game 2||22 May 2016 - The Grove - 17:30 - 19:00||Pretoria Capitals||Gauteng Wildcats||0 - 4|
|Game 3||5 June 2016 - Festival - 17:30 - 19:00||Gauteng Wildcats||Pretoria Capitals||3 - 4|
|Game 4||12 June 2016 - The Grove - 17:30 - 19:00||Pretoria Capitals||Gauteng Wildcats||3 - 0|
|Game 5||19 June 2016 - GW Ice Station - 09:00 - 11:00||Cape Town Kings||Gauteng Wildcats||6 - 9|
|Game 6||19 June 2016 - GW Ice Station - 20:45 - 22:30||Cape Town Kings||Gauteng Wildcats||1 - 3|
|Game 7||20 June 2016 - GW Ice Station - 19:30 - 22:00||Cape Town Kings||Gauteng Wildcats||2 - 4|
|Game 8||17 July 2016 - Festival - 17:30 - 19:00||Gauteng Wildcats||Pretoria Capitals||4 - 3|
|Game 9||24 July 2016 - GW Ice Station - 09:00 - 11:00||Cape Town Kings||Pretoria Capitals||10 - 1|
|Game 10||24 July 2016 - GW Ice Station - 20:45 - 22:30||Cape Town Kings||Pretoria Capitals||3 - 6|
|Game 11||25 July 2016 - GW Ice Station - 19:30 - 22:00||Cape Town Kings||Pretoria Capitals||3 - 5|
|Game 12||6 August 2016 - Festival - 17:30 - 19:00||Gauteng Wildcats||Cape Town Kings||4 - 0|
|Game 13||7 August 2016 - The Grove - 17:30 - 19:00||Pretoria Capitals||Cape Town Kings||2 - 1|
|Game 14||8 August 2016 - Festival - 17:30 - 19:00||Gauteng Wildcats||Cape Town Kings||4 - 1|
|Game 15||9 August 2016 - The Grove - 17:30 - 19:00||Pretoria Capitals||Cape Town Kings||4 - 6|
16 August 2016
The final chapter in the 2016 season was setup for one last battle between the Capitals and the Kings. To date all the games between these two teams have been nail biters. Last season the Kings took the final game in a shootout before jetting home. The Capitals held destiny in their own hands, only having to win to secure the 2016 title. At this stage the Wildcats and the Capitals were tied on points with the head to head results deciding the tie. If the Capitals were to win they would be crowned champions. As always the Wildcats had finished strong winning both games against the Kings at home.
The Kings have had their struggles this season and to make things even harder two of their top line players, Carelse and Reeves, were both back in the mother city due to personal commitments. The game started at it’s usual high tempo. Both teams pressed hard. The two teams were clearly different in their approach with the Kings playing a more passive forecheck whilst the Capitals were always going to use their numbers and barrel in on the forecheck. The referees were quick on the draw early awarding 3 penalties in the first 10 minutes. On the eleventh minute David Jeromin got the scoreboard going with a good finish from Visser and du Buisson. The native of San Fransisco showing has shown his maturity the wholes season and has been a big player for the Capitals. Three minutes later it was Marais who won the race for a puck whilst the Kings were on the change. He managed to cut inside and shoot through traffic to make it 2-0. Just the start the Capitals were looking for and the shot count at the end of one was 14 to 6 in favour of the home team.
5 minutes gone in the second period and the veteran Mike Edwards from the Kings buried their opener off a smart play by Keane Grebe. Mike is the leading point scorer in South African Ice Hockey history and he has been a big player for the Kings this year always on hand for key goals. The Kings were mounting a charge and still dangerous even though the Capitals had the lions share of the puck. It wasn’t two minutes later than Marais was on the breakaway off a pass from Jeromin for his second goal of the night. This was followed up almost immediately by Jack Flynn to take the score to 4-1 to the Capitals. The home team was looking comfortably set to hoist the SASL trophy with one period left to play.
The third period started in similar fashion. With 4 minutes gone in play the Capitals were feeling some heat after a penalty was awarded to the Kings. After solid play by Taljaard and Magmoed, Marc Giot was on hand to finish calmly. It was now 4-2. Two minutes later Edwards again was on hand after a great give and go from Grebe it was now 4-3. The Capitals surged again but Lorenzo was looking solid in net for the Kings. The play now going back and forth between the two teams it was exciting hockey to say the least. The Kings entered once more on the attack and this time Alex Obery found some space on the wall and dished to Giot who sniped Strydom high on the blocker side. Game on 4-4. Again the Capitals pressed but the momentum was strong with the Kings outfit. The play went deep into the Kings zone and after a good reverse it was Kreisinger who fed Magmoed right up the middle for a breakaway. Magmoed wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and he finished right in the top of the glove side to give the Kings a 5-4 lead. The Capitals pressed some more but it wasn’t meant to be. Giot claimed his hat-trick off the face-off for an empty netter to finish off the Capitals.
As much as it was a bitter end for the Capitals to lose at the final hurdle the credit most definitely belongs to the Cape Town Kings outfit who really came together in a period of the game where you would not have blamed them for being worn out and a bit despondent. To the contrary they sniffed blood and went on the offensive. They were rewarded with their second over the Capitals thanks to some of the more controlled and disciplined periods of hockey any team has played this tournament. Another great spectacle for hockey in South Africa and the SA Super League continues to go from strength to strength.
16 August 2016
The second encounter against the WildCats saw the return of controversial forward and WildCats strongman/enforcer, Damian Cordosa, after a one match suspension. The game started of with very anticipated play making from both sides. The Kings attacked at every opportunity lead by their Captain, Marc Giot. And in return the WildCats also used every chance they got to try and convert it in to points. Four minutes in to the first period and Jack Valadas did what he does best...score goals from nothing. Then just before the end of the first period Chris Engelbrecth doubled the score line to 2-0 in favor of the WildCats.
The second period started with a lot of eager players trying to make a difference but this in return only resulted in penalties being handed out by the Referees. It wasnt long after things settled down that the Kings Captain took things in to his own hands and scored the opening goal for his team, albeit battered and bruised. From there on it was the usual up and down type of game with both sides plugging away and hoping for the best. Young Gareth Bremner added the WildCats 2nd goal just before the end of the second period to to give the Cats a little buffer again going in to the 3rd.
The 3rd period saw Engelbrecth add the 4th goal for the WildCats and from there on it was turning in to a tough ill fated encounter with both teams making there presence felt rather than seen. The game ended 4-1 in favor of the eventual Championship winners, WildCats. But the Kings still had a lot to prove against the Capitals for the last game of the tournament.
16 August 2016
16 August 2016
The weekend of the 6 of August saw the Kings take to the sky travelling up North to take on the WildCats and Capitals, in a weekend of hockey spread over 4 days...!
First game against The WildCats saw both teams "testing" the waters! Both teams were not wanting to give anything away until the WIldcats jumped on an early misfortune and Jack Valadas made no mistake to bury the first goal deep in to the Kings net. Which was a short handed goal for the WildCats. This was followed by another goal and this time Ruthven made it 2 to zero in favour of the WildCats. The period played out and ended with no further onslaught, Although the Kings were attacking from all angles but WildCats goalie, Bock, did what any National team keeper would do and that was to stone wall every shot in any way possible.
Third period started with a bit more fire in both teams and attacking opportunities was plenty and from both teams. And again it was Valadas who knows how to find a hole in the goalies and raised his celebratory cheer to his second of the evening. The game from there on was becoming a desperate one for the Kings and they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the WildCats netminder but with no luck of getting one past him. Valadas put his 3rd goal on the board for the evening just before close of play and this pretty much was the final nail in the coffin. The Kings stood tall throught out the game but as we say in hockey, they werent "puck-luckey".
31 July 2016
It started of at a steady pace with both teams having ample opportunity to convert their efforts. The first 5 minutes was a battle on both ends of the rink with both Goalies , Lucien for The Kings and Marcello for The Capitals, doing their jobs with relative ease. With Capitals striking first through Xander Botha. The tone was set and the Kings had to start grinding out the numbers to avoid playing catch up hockey. The KIngs opened there score sheet soon after via Harry Colvin. and from there on the hammer dropped with The Kings Captain ( Marc Giot) making the score board double up with his first of 3 goals. The Kings where relentless in their attack and converting every opportunity they got in to a scoring chance and numbers on the board. This seemed to have panicked the Capitals because the physical onslaught began via their Captain (Andre Marais) leading by example and finishing all his hits. This however was not a one man show and the King kept on coming, lead by the patient and level headed Michael Edwards. Who consistently had a hand in most of the goals and also showed why his knowledge and vision on the ice is still a valuable asset. This also earned him the prestigious MVP award. The final whistle solidified the score at 10-1 for The Kings of Cape Town.
This game in most series of sport will always be the one to remember. Both teams came out strong and fiery and Stalwart for The Kings, Michael Edwards, again showed some fine stick handling to put the first one deep in the back of the net. The second goal soon after from Christopher Reeves ( Kings Defenceman) also dampened the spirits of the Capitals, who now was on the back foot and frustration was showing on the faces. Even with their roster now complimented by young Jack Flynn, who seemed to bring the north american style of play to life here in Cape Town by putting an end to anybodies attempt at any for of game play with good solid body contact and finishing all his hits. This game started at a furious pace and it carried in to the second period with both sides dishing out a lot of hard hitting intent. Xander Botha again was rewarded for his work ethic and never die attitude with The Capitals first goal of the evening. This seemed to have inspired his team and a few more where added without any reply from The Kings. Both teams chipped away at the block and both teams had no love lost between them. The shifts on the ice where fast and very physical. Early in the 3rd period The Kings added to there score sheet through Tariq Ishmail, who showed some good speed to turn an opportunity in to a goal. The final whistle blew and the score was 6-3 in favor of the visiting Capitals.
This game was the decided and with both teams having 1 game a piece....this was the one to win at all costs. Again starting of very fast and VERY physical. The opening view minutes of the first period saw the referees earning their keep whilst controlling the game. The Capitals score first via National Team Defenceman Jason Consalves riffling a well place puck low and hard through traffic. Again Xander Botha had a hand in that score. The Capitals started strong and kept their momentum through out the first With young Delano Schuurman putting the second goal in without much protest from The Kings Defence. He added his second of the night early in the second period as well. The second period seemed quiet compared to the rest of the game and its probably due to the fact that both teams where worn out physically and just wanted to play a constructive game from there on. The Capitals finished that period with 5 unanswered goals. After a good talk in the locker room, The third period seemed to be the one that The Kings took all they can to battle and started off very strong with Dean Magmoed ( National Team Defenceman) opening The Kings score with great assist from Tariq Ishmail and Chad Williams. Magmoed added his second not long after and again Ismail and Williams had a hand in this. The score stayed this all the way to almost the end when Czech Defenceman Jiri Kriesinger pulled the trigger and sniped the 3rd Kings goal in to the net of The Capitals goalie. The game ended not long after that and the stage is set for the King tour up North in the final leg of the South African Super League.
17 July 2016
The stage was set for an important encounter for the two Highveld Super League teams. After a very successful series against the Cape Town Kings, where the Wildcats managed a 3 game sweep away from home. The Johannesburg team coming in with confidence and renewed energy. The series between the Capitals and the Wildcats stood at 3-1 in the Pretoria Teams favour This game would be crucial for both teams. Should the Wildcats win they would gain some much needed ground on the well placed Capitals, and should the Pretoria team take honours they would be in a great position to be ranked as favourites going into the last 5 games. The stage was set. Both teams were without some of their top defenceman. Ian Ashworth missing for the Wildcats and Reelan Malgas missing for the Capitals. Bock vs Strydom again would be a the crucial battle. To date Bock has been one of the mitigating factors to the wins which the Wildcats have mustered. The Capitals having outshot the Wildcats in all but one game of the 4 so far it would be up to them to find a way to put Bock on the back foot.
The game started at it’s usual pace with both teams generating early chances. Two long range efforts somehow befuddled an ill focused Strydom early and the Capitals were 2-0 down after just 5 minutes of play. Cardoso and Labaschagne the snipers from far. True to form the Capitals stuck to their task. They have shown great calm and focus this year when faced with adversity and this time their Captain, Marais, led the charge from defence. A long range low blocker effort followed by another low blocker snipe, after a dubious delayed penalty possession change, put the Capitals right back at 2-2. The Capitals had long periods of possession keeping the Wildcats pinned in their zone for minutes at a time. Denzil Verwey was playing a crucial role already for the Wildcats, playing big minutes and making strong defensive plays all over the rink. The second period started with a power play for the Cats. The Capitals lead the way in penalty killing this year with a 92.31% average over 4 games. The Wildcats with a respectable 17% Power Play efficiency. A good kill by the Capitals led to a few more good chances from the momentum but once again the Wildcats pounced with a face-off ensuing play from the veteran Chris Engelbrecht assisted by Jack Valadas. It wasn’t even one minute later that Husselman broke neatly from the neutral zone and shot through a screen beating Bock on the glove side. The scores now tied at 3-3 going into the 3rd. The Wildcats should be credited with their management of the puck and making simple plays. With a shorter bench than the other teams they exceed with the personnel that they have.
The 3rd period was nicely set up with both teams playing with good spirit and focused energy. With 10 minutes gone in the 3rd it was a tight affair with neither team budging. The Capitals were pushing hard and the Wildcats were responding with efforts of their own. The Wildcats managed to wrestle the momentum away from the Capitals after the lengthy break. With 3 minutes left to play a face-off play led to a Verwey shot from the blue line. Strydom, seemingly unsighted, misread the shot and Engelbrecht tapped in. The Capitals pulled the goalie with just over a minute to play and bombarded the Wildcats net. 3 face-offs and quite few chances but no result. Bock stood firm.
The Wildcats triumphed doing what it took to win. Callum Bremner was awarded MVP after his mature showing on defence. The Wildcats now top the league as the Capitals prepare for their trip down south. The series between the two teams ends at 3-2 to the Capitals. This series has been one full of energy and tight hockey games. Both teams have shown resolve in tough situations and with the second half of the season approaching it will no doubt be tight. The Cape Town Kings will look to bounce back against the Capitals whilst the Wildcats have a few weeks to prepare at home. At this stage it is anybody’s league to take. Wildcats possess some mighty talent in their camp and they have shown that they have character as a group. This performance being testament to that.
The South African Super League now heads into the crucial stage of the competition. It will be a fascinating few weeks ahead.
19, 20 June 2016
Game 1 against the Wildcats was a highly anticipated affair. With both teams wanting to prove there worth from the outset. The pace was very fast and physical from the first face off and continued like this all the way through to the last whistle. Our first line led by Captain Marc Giot (National Team Winger), kept pushing hard and using every opportunity to rifle the puck at the Wildcats goalie. Who is also the National team starting net minder. And at this stage of the game it was a pretty even affair of end to end attacking and defending from both team. This also showed us why Dean Magmoed is such versatile and talented Defenceman. Although he was kept busy with the Wildcats winger Damian Cardoso always forcing plays and waiting for the moment you drop your guard.
Wildcats scored 2 "soft" goals early on in the game and from there on the battles began. With the likes of Chris Reeves keeping his blue line active by stone walling any attacking forward who try to get in to his defensive zone. This gave Magmoed time to recollect and distribute the puck to the wheeling forwards heading out of the zone.... Period 2 saw the Kings turning up the gas and stringing together some passes and burning the Wildcats defencemen with shear pace.The Young Harry Colvin kept the Wildcats defencemen busy with his continued attacks and constant pressure. The goals started coming thick and fast and again this was a hockey game that saw both ends of the rink being used well. Our second line also started finding their feet and keeping the heat on their opposition. Period 3 was an even closer but we eventually fell short at the final whistle with a score tally of 9-6 in favour of the WildCats.
This was the game that was to be a very physical affair. The Kings started of very well and strong and kept chipping away at the proverbial Block( Ashleigh Bock). The big Goalie kept things together for his Wildcats team mates. The Wildcats kept on turning things over and everything was ending up with the Kings Goalie Aslam Khan also having a Superb time between the pipes. The young Khan gave his team mates the confidence they needed to play a good game of hockey. This game saw the Wildcats winger Damian Cardoso use his size and speed to disrupt a lot of plays and rattle a few players until the Kings defenceman, Jiri Kreisinger quickly put a stop to Cardosos reign.
The Big Czech defender was picking his hits carefull and this seemed to inspire the home team every time. The game had its ups and downs but this did not take anything away from the great effort that was displayed by both goalies. This game ended with the Kings going down 3-1 to the Wildcats. So all was to play for during the 3rd and last game of this leg of the tournament.
So after a good team meeting and a few line changes....The Kings were ready and chomping at the bit to put an end to The Wildcats run of luck. This also highlighted where the shortfall is and how to correct it.
First period saw the Kings opening the score with great poise and speed from deep in their own zone all the way to the opposing teams goal net! Cai Nebe finishing his team mates hard work with a goal. The gauntlet was laid down again by Cardoso with physical play but unfortunately it was short lived because the referees "had his number on speed dial". The Kings first line showed why they are also part of the National team setup, with great passing and skating but again Bock standing on his head to keep them from scoringThe veteran in the Kings line-up, Michael Edwards, kept his calm and cool throughout the period and was always there when things needed to settle down. The team talk seemed to have worked because the urgency was shown by all 3 lines and they kept the pressure up high against the Wildcats. The score sheet was updated regularly with each side adding soon after the next one had scored. Penalties where also not to obvious during the game which shows that the teams both wanted to win without giving an inch.
In to the final minutes of the third period the Wildcats were leading 3-2 and with just over 8 minutes left on the clock. The Kings were pushing hard and used every opportunity to try and turn things in to an scoring opportunity but an unfortunate own goal seemed to seal the outcome of the game. The final whistle went not long after that with the Wildcats celebrating their 3 game wining streak here in Cape Town. The Kings kept the pressure up all the way through but a little "puck luck" was not to come their way. The Kings will next be taking of the Pretoria Capitals and one thing is for sure.....there is a lot to be proved and even more to play for. "We are coming for ya...." says the Kings camp.
12 June 2016
With the Super League now in full swing the tactical manoeuvring and subsequent ascendency becomes more and more of a battle. The Wildcats are the reigning champions and last year proved that they are a formidable team no matter how long or short their bench might be. Their experience in terms player personnel is closely matched by that of the Cape Town Kings who also have a more experienced line up. This would be an important pillar on which to lean on going into the 4th encounter with the Pretoria Capitals. The previous game was a thriller and with the Capitals not looking all that comfortable at home in their last home game the Wildcats would be looking to use their experience to bring the series back.
A cagey first period brought about a few chances on both sides. The Wildcats managing 6 shots on Marcello Strydom in the first 20 minutes and the Capitals putting 12 on the net of Bock. There were few second opportunities for either team as both goalies managed their rebounds well. The first period locked at 0-0 and both teams feeling confident after their early chances. The best of the period coming from a turn over deep in the Wildcats zone. Marais and Botha doing well on the forecheck to create the chance from below the goal line and a stuff attempt by Marais had Bock scrambling on the walkout.
The second period started in the same fashion as the first with both teams being equally sloppy at times in the neutral zone. A few big hits and some kind words were also exchanged here and there which added to the battle of these rival outfits. The 4th line of the Capitals were giving them good energy breaking down many of the Wildcats breakouts. Similarly for the Wildcats, John Sethosa was proving a valuable addition to their outfit giving them some energy at crucial periods. With 35 minutes played the Capitals managed to get the puck deep again and pressure the Wildcats from the corners. Jason Gonsalves, the experienced yet young defenceman from the Capitals fed Marais below the goal line. Botha occupied net front and Marais spotted space on the opposite side. On a sublime swivel Marais picked the top right corner to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. The game was heating up!
With the Wildcats due to travel to Cape Town for their coastal match-up, the third period would be one of the more important stanzas in the competition. The third period started frenetically and the anti was upped considerably. 3 penalties by the Wildcats in quick succession saw the Capitals gain ascendancy. The Power Plays of both teams have struggled throughout the game and the series to date. Cardoso this time in the box for an ill timed trip on Schuurman saw the Capitals PP go at it again. 12 seconds in Marais received a pass from Botha and shot short side on Bock. Bock made the save but left an awkward rebound on the left post. Unable to cover the puck Marais hacked the rebound home. Bock quite clearly unhappy as he felt the puck was covered. The Capitals celebrated their second of the night.
Just over 10 minutes to play and the Wildcats surged again. Callum Bremner and Nick Graf were sharing quite a few pleasantries and the ever present Cardosa was also trying to lift the Wildcats by upping the physicality. This provided a bit of space for Valadas and Bremner to operate in and a few good scoring opportunities were well managed by the 19 year old Capitals goalie Marcello Strydom. The clock wound down and with half a minute left Marais fed Botha who found space with lightning speed. The finish on Bock, 5 hole, capped off a well earned victory for the Pretoria team 3-0.
MVP’s for the game were Gareth Bremner for the Wildcats and Marcello Strydom for the Capitals. Bremner persevered throughout the game and Strydom being rewarded for his shut-out.
Another fantastic game to watch. This weekend sees the Cape Town Kings enter the fray as the Wildcats travel to Cape Town for their 3 game series against the coastal team. The competition is now in full swing and the next few weeks will surely provide some more worthwhile entertainment.
5 June 2016
With the series level at one game a piece, this game was sure to be a fire-cracker affair. After a 4-0 scoreline two weeks ago the two teams were in two very different places. The Wildcats, invigerated by their win and playing at home seethed with confidence and the Capitals keen for revenge after copping such a tough loss on home ice.
The game began in it’s usual manner with the Wildcats mounting an early attack from shift one. Strydom for the Capitals was called into action early on. Freezing the puck after a few blue line chances from Fisher and Ashworth. The teams both settled into a healthy rhythm early on with chances being exchanged on both ends. The Capitals looked well prepared for this one and edging out the Wildcats 13-9 on the shot count. The scoreboard however remained at 0-0 with not many easy chances being recorded by either team.
The second period kicked off with a bang. A quick chance by the Wildcats and a costly mistake by the Capitals defence in front of net saw a good tick tac toe play by Verwey and Sanke finished off by the ever dangerous Kyle Labaschagne. Just the start the Wildcats needed in the second and not the start the away team was looking for in the crucial part of the game. The second period is always tougher due to the longer change for the teams to make and puck management always becomes a crucial factor. The Capitals however continued to mount pressure. Their neutral zone play and entry after the clears by the Wildcats was making it tough for them to make the changes they need. Momentum in the period began to swing to the Pretoria outfit. Late in the second the Capitals managed to keep the Wildcats in their zone for more than a shift at a time and once again Ashley Bock was under pressure to perform. There were a few great chances for the away team. David Jerome hit the post from point blank range and Bock sprawled to make save after a rebound that shot off the glass. Close calls for the Wildcats but the score was still 1-0 even though they only managed 2 shots the whole period to the Capitals 10.
With one more period to play the two teams were locked in a special encounter. The Capitals unable to convert on their chances thus far and the Wildcats playing their usual stifling game, the third was bound to be a ripper. The final 20 minutes lived up to that and more. The home team came out the blocks early and after just 33 seconds of play and a neutral zone turnover by the Capitals, it was Daniel Fisher that launched a rolling puck at the net. The ever present Jack Valadas scooped up the rebound and put the home team 2 goals ahead. As always the Wildcats take their chances and road back would be tough for the Capitals. You might remember that the Capitals were down 3-1 in their first game and came back to win, so the Wildcats would have to lock it down. Shots were now being traded as the game opened up a bit and with 13 minutes left to play the Capitals upped their forecheck and a mistake from their D presented Botha with a feed from Marais on the turnover. Botha calmly slotted home the backdoor chance, the Capitals now within one. The biggest difference at this stage was the long bench of the Pretoria team. Their energy and tails were up and with 9 minutes left it was Marais who struck this time on a 3 on 2. Botha this time giving the pass and then driving the net to create space for Marais to walk in and slot it 5 hole on Bock. Game tied at 2 all and not much time left. Ian Ashworth then took a penalty for interference behind the goals and although the Capitals couldn’t get their power play going the ensuing shift saw some great interplay between du Preez who fed Willers for the point shot through traffic. 3-2 Capitals with two and half minutes to play. The game wasn’t done however. 30 seconds later, guess who? Jack Valadas walked through the Capitals defence and slipped it elegantly passed Strydom to give to level it up at 3-3 with 2 minutes left!
With overtime on the horizon a little edgy back and forth from both teams saw the game ebb into the last minute. With 55 Seconds to play the Capitals Warwick du Preez slipped past the Wildcats defence creating a race. Bock left his net gambling on the fact that he would get there first only for du Preez to slip the puck to Du Buisson for an empty net finish and what would be the game winning goal. What a way to end the game. An absolute nail biter for the crowd and the teams alike.
MVP’s for the game were Denzil Verwey for the Wildcats and John Venter for the Capitals. Shot count at the end was 37 to 18 in favour of the Capitals.
A fantastic advertisement for hockey not only from a skills point of view but also the spirit in which it was played. Looking forward to the next one!
22 May 2016
The Grove Mall in Pretoria presented a home game for the Capitals team in the second round of the South African Super League. The nail biting first round affair meant that both teams knew this one would be no walk in the park. The short nature of the competition lends much weight to each and every result but particularly the home games where the away teams are meant to find the going tough.
The Capitals, still without their top forward Birrell, after his ankle break in April were looking to follow up their strong showing in the previous round. Wildcats on the other hand were looking to bounce back, managed to bolster their team with the additions of Labaschagne, Laine and the return of the veteran and leader Ian Ashworth.
From minute one the Wildcats team were pressing on the forecheck and keeping the Capitals pinned in their zone. It took four minutes before the Wildcats converted the pressure. Labaschagne and Cardosa combining for the opener after a defensive zone blunder from the Capitals. The period ebbed and flowed in the way the first game had but after 2 power plays went to waste the momentum shifted back to the Wildcats. Once again Cardosa and Labaschagne paired up to net the second for the Johannesburg team. This time good zone entry caught the defenceman out of position and the finish was a good effort which Strydom, the Capitals netminder, had no chance on.
On to the second period and it became a chippy affair. The Capitals seemingly not able to get into gear appeared to attempt to agitate the Wildcats into taking penalties. 38 penalty minutes ensued and a total of 21 shots recorded. This was an action packed passage of play. Marais and Cardoso both doing their bit to unsettled each other and the referees arms were up and down like yo-yo’s. Both teams held each other to a 0-0 period. The third would either be a comeback for the Capitals or a cake walk for the Wildcats.
With fresh ice the Pretoria team came out firing. Xander Botha created a few chances for himself but was constantly held at bay by an on form Bock. The pick of the players in the third period was the 16 yr old Delano Schuurman, the u18 National Team player who was competing incredibly for a player of his age and physical presence. The Capitals pressed for 5 minutes with no luck as the Wildcats played a more passive forecheck and forced their opponents into making mistakes. Daniel Fisher was instrumental in the defensive effort of the Wildcats, consistently remaining diligent in his assignment and discipline. With 15 minutes left to play the ice tilted once more. Robert Kowalenko broke through on a great heads up play from Labaschagne. As much as the Capitals tried to mount another comeback, the writing was on the wall. With the clock winding down the goal of the night came from Jack Valadas on a breakaway, after a blocked shot on the power play. The Wildcats winger went to his trusty backhand and managed to cap it off with a pin point, top shelf shot.
The game ended 4-0 and the Capitals left reeling from being shut out. The shot count in the end was 32 to 21 in favour of the Johannesburg team. MVP’s for the game were Delano Schuurman for the Capitals and Ashley Bock, the goaltender for the Wildcats. A notable performance from Cyle Labaschagne who registered a 3-point night on his return to top flight hockey after a few years out.
The stage is set for the next battle which takes place on the 5th of June at Festival Mall, home of the Wildcats. A bigger rink should set the stage for another great Super League encounter.
8 May 2016
The South African Super League kicked off in fine style last night with the opening game being played between the Johannesburg Wildcats and the Pretoria Capitals. The Forest Hill stands were filled with a good number of spectators and also junior players who had stayed on after their showcase weekend matches to watch the top level players strut their stuff.
The game was a tough encounter as usual with some good ebb and flow from the start, with chances on both goaltenders. The Capitals had good possession in the first stanza and took the lead after a well-executed odd man rush from their 4th line forwards and brothers John and Chris Venter. Chris squeezed a bottom corner forehand to the stick side of Ashley Bock. From there the Capitals continued to press but with 5 min to spare an opportunistic and ever aware Jack Valadas managed to take advantage of a lapse of concentration and score a wrap around goal in the dying seconds of the 1st Period. The teams went into the break tied at one goal a piece.
The second period started right where the first ended. Some good physicality excited the crowd and both teams pressed. Wildcats however managed to exert pressure on the forecheck and after Gareth Bremner stripped the Capitals defence man of the puck he moved it into the high slot for a sublime finish top left by ……. A few minutes later the Capitals suffered another breakdown and the Wildcats pounced in their usual fashion. This time on an odd man rush with only one Capitals player back. With the score now 3-1 it didn’t look good for the Pretoria outfit. With a few minutes to go in the period Reegan du Buisson was presented with a high point shot after some good pressure by Capitals. After fanning awkwardly on the first attempt and seemingly in trouble, du Buisson managed to gather and rip a high wrist shot, glove side, past Bock and through a mountain of traffic in front of net. A big goal by the newly capped South African National Team rookie, clearly demonstrating the strides he has made in the past few months. This ended the second period to setup a nail biting third period between the arch rivals.
So with all to play for in the third both teams started, somewhat reservedly. The Capitals by this stage were having the bulk of the shots but Bock was keeping them in the hunt. After a good save by the Caps goalie, Marcello Strydom, the puck went to the corner and the Capitals D men pursued aggressively. The chase ended up in a penalty and it put the Wildcats on the PP for 2min. It seemed like a game changer with 5 minutes to go until 20 seconds later Gareth Bremner attempted to effect a heavy check but was assessed a charging call to level the teams 4 on 4 for one minute and forty seconds. The play was expectedly cagey at this point as both teams were cautious not to give the other team too much space on the 4 on 4. As the clock wound down on the original Capitals penalty the puck was cleared up ice for a race with both teams players arriving at the same time. Xander Botha managed to knock the puck into the neutral zone after a good check as Marais was joining the rush fresh from the penalty box. Marais carried and protected the puck well but was forced to his backhand by the Wildcats D chasing down the play. With few options the Capitals Captain managed to squeeze the puck through the Bock wickets for what would be the game winning goal taking the Capitals to a 4-3 scoreline.
The Wildcats got a good last break but Marcello Strydom denied Jack Valadas with a fantastic shoulder save to keep the Pretoria team ahead.
4 May 2016
This tri-city championship tournament will take place in Cape Town, Pretoria and Kempton Park between their home teams; Kings, Capitals and Wildcats. This is definately a sporting series not to be missed.