Ice Hockey: WA crowned national champions on home ice

WA (gold and black) in their 13-3 win against SA (red).
WA (gold and black) in their 13-3 win against SA (red).

THE WA men’s ice hockey team have been crowned national champions after a hard-fought competition on home ice.

Cockburn Ice Arena hosted the annual Jim Brown National Championship last week, which saw teams from five different states compete for the title.

WA’s tilt got off to a shaky start when they came up against reigning champions Queensland in Wednesday’s opening round.

The home team started strongly with the only goal in the first period courtesy of Chris Moffatt, but Queensland scored two quick goals in the second to go 2-1 up before WA were able to tie the game up in the final minute through Zane Cunliffe.

Despite WA’s efforts, period three belonged to Queensland who scored another two goals to take out the 4-2 win.

Thursday’s first game went more to script for WA who secured a 5-3 win against Victoria with goals to Jordan Grover, Kalin Njirich, Kieren Webster, Kaden Goulds and Cunliffe.

Needing to back up with a second game on Thursday, two important second period goals to WA’s Cunliffe and Grover had them tied 2-2 with NSW at the end of regulation time, but NSW proved to have the accuracy in front of goal late to win 3-2 in shootout.

It was Friday’s final round-robin game against South Australia where WA really shined, smashing their opponents 13-3.

In an all-around team effort, Cunliffe, Grover, Moffatt, Tomek Sak and Liam Jeffries scored two goals a piece while Goulds, Kyle MacPhail and Jaymie McDonnell also found the back of the net.

Back against the reigning premiers in the semi-final, WA came out of the blocks firing, smothering Queensland into submission to take out a comprehensive 6-0 victory.

Cunliffe, Moffatt, Webster, Grover, Alastair Punler and Brock Williams all scored for WA, propelling them into the grand final match against NSW.

Saturday’s grand final was the tightest and lowest scoring game of the competition, with regular time finishing with a scoreless draw.

It took some overtime heroics from Grover to score the game’s solitary goal to give the championship win to WA.