Stampede to be pushed
Southern Stampede could be playing their last games of the season on their home ice as they battle for a place in the league final against the Dunedin Thunder this weekend.
The Queenstown-based team is sitting third equal on the table with only three points separating the top four teams and each team facing their final two match-ups of the season.
All are possible finalists and the right to play the final on home turf is up for grabs.
After two matches against the
Thunder, Stampede will play last year's winners, the Canterbury Red Devils, in Christchurch, for their final round of games in two weeks.
Stampede captain Simon Glass said the Dunedin team was sitting at the top of the table and Stampede had to aim for four wins to reach the final.
"We seem to do it every year to ourselves. "Last year we needed to win eight in a row. This year it's four. We want to get into the finals."
The hometown advantage would help but it was disappointing key players Matt Schneider and Braden Lee would be missing the game.
Schneider, who has been the team's top scorer this season, is flying to Canada to attend his brother's wedding.
Michael Weber has missed much of the season with a shoulder injury and won't be joining the team.
Giving the game an interesting twist was the presence of four former Stampede players lining up for Dunedin, including Connor Harrison, Aston Brookes, Mitchell Frear and Luke Pickering.
The games come on the back of a loss (6-2) and a win (6-0) against the West Auckland Admirals last weekend.
"They hadn't had a win this season and they were pretty motivated in front of their home crowd.
"Also we travelled on a game day which isn't always the best," Glass said. The Stampede players came out hard for a domineering performance in the second match.
- The Mirror