Wednesday night saw the third game of the IIHL Development Division take place as two more teams got their first taste of competitive action. The Latvian Hawks B took on the Dundalk Bulls Ladies at the Dundalk Ice Dome. The game finished 13-2 in favour of the Hawks B but a great night was had by all. A large number of spectators came to watch and cheer on both teams. As was expected, the Latvians brought the larger and noisier fans on the night. They always do. The Bulls Ladies were supported by their friends and families as well as their fellow club members. It was a very nice touch to see the many different members of the Dundalk Bulls club cheer on their fellow members. They ranged all the way from the junior players to some of the senior team players.
The game started on schedule with the Hawks B taking an early advantage. After a minute of playing time, they were rewarded a goal through No. 2 Alexanders Staselevks. The Hawks dominated throughout the 1st period and were winning 7-0 at the end of the 1st stanza. They passed the puck really well and gained the Ladies zone extremely well. Simple play in the neutral zone allowed them to pass the puck across the ice to the open winger who was stationed on the opposing blue line. From there, they got the puck deep and passed in and around the goal and left the Bulls Ladies goaltender with very little chance on the majority of the goals. It has to be said the Latvians moved the puck really well and played as a team.
In the 1st period, it looked as thought the Bulls Ladies were nervous and who could blame them. After all, for the majority of their players, it is the first time they have ever played a competitive ice hockey match. Also, they were playing in front of their families and friends. However, in the 2nd period they looked more confident on the ice and they had found their feet. The 2nd period finished 4-0 in favour of the Hawks B. As the scoreline reflects, the Bulls Ladies had improved on their 1st period performance. They played more aggressive in their own zone and were more adventurous offensively. In the first period they rarely gained the Hawks B’s zone but they did it regularly in the 2nd and 3rd periods. They received their reward in the 3rd period as the girls recorded their first goal 5 minutes into the period. After a goal mouth scramble in front of the Hawks goaltender, Donna Byrne put the puck in the back of the net for the Bulls Ladies. Hard work rewarded.
The 3rd period actually finished 2-2. The Hawks scored through Guntars Bleikss and Ingars Renkis. The Bulls Ladies got their first through Donna Byrne and then through Celia Robillard. Robillard was probably the Bulls Ladies best player through out the game. She was constantly threatening the Hawks B’s goal. Her goal was one of the highlights of the night. After gaining a breakaway, she scored top corner on the Latvian goaltender. The other highlight of the night was probably the lovely passing play of the Latvian team. They could have had more goals if it wasn’t for some impressive saves by the Bulls Ladies goaltender, Hanna Laatio.
All in all, it was a fantastic night and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Both teams should also be commended on what was an extremely fair and clean game. There was only one penalty assessed for the entire game. It was awarded to the Bulls Ladies’ captain Sonya McEneaney for roughing late in the 1st period. Both teams played in the spirit of things and were delighted with the result. The next IIHL Development Division game takes place on Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. The Blackrock Whalers take on the Kilkenny Storm. For more information contact the Dundalk Ice Dome via www.dundalkicedome.com or Tel: 042 933 7256.