The New Zealand Ice Blacks played Australia’s Mighty Roos in a 3-game Trans-Tasman Challenge over the weekend.
As the first time the two teams have met since 2019, it was sure to be a spectacle of what the Australian and Zealand rivalry is all about.
The Mighty Roos came out swinging, with a dominant performance in game one, winning the series opener 4-0.
Game two saw an adjustment to the Ice Blacks playstyle, looking to shut down the strong Mighty Roos offensive plays. The game ended 4-1 to the Mighty Roos, with the Ice Blacks goal scored by Chris Eaden.
The third and final game would be the closest yet, with the buzzer ending the game 2-1 in favour of the Mighty Roos. The Ice Blacks goal was again scored by Canterbury Red Devils player, Chris Eaden.
Ice Blacks Captain, Andrew Cox, admitted that while the series was a tough one, it was invaluable for the team’s experience and training in the lead up to the 2023 IIHF World Championships. “As the three games went on, we got progressively better which was great to see.” “Australia are ranked one division higher than New Zealand, so it was always bound to be a challenge, especially with the Aussie’s on home turf”.
Work is underway to bring more frequent match ups between New Zealand and Australia’s national teams to both countries, as both the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation and Ice Hockey Australia look to make the series an annual event.
Featured image courtesy of Phil Taylor.