Wednesday night saw the IIHL Development Division clash between the Dundalk Bulls Ladies and the DkIT Ravens. Face-off was Ravens v Bulls Ladies at the usual time on a Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. and both teams brought supporters. 85 people came to support 2 of Dundalk’s local teams and 2 of the teams known to play the game for fun. The Ladies had a full compliment of players including recent all-stars Seanna Conway and Dagmar Palascakova. The Ravens on the other hand were fairly short benched and were missing some of their key players. One of their all-stars was there in the shape of Andrew Guest but their other representative in the all-star game, Michael Rogan, was absent. They were also missing 2 defenders in the shape of Robert Flanagan and Patrick Jarratt, who is also the team’s head coach. They still had 2 fairly strong lines and this was going to be an excellent game.
The action got underway and the majority of the play was spent in either the neutral zone or the Ladies defensive zone. The Ravens dominated proceedings and they did their best get the puck past Conway either individually or as a team. They failed to do so and despite having 14 shots on target, the score remained 0-0 after the 1st period. The play was fairly clean too with each team only receiving a minor penalty. First up was Paul Hughes who sat in the box for 2 minutes hooking after 7 minutes of play. The only other penalty in that period was for high sticking against Elaine McCann after 11 minutes.
The second period started in much the same way with the Ravens again dominating but the Ladies were finding their feet a bit more. Ravens v Bulls LadiesAs the Ravens were growing more and more frustrated from not scoring, the Ladies were getting more and more opportunities to catch them on the break. However, first blood came to the Ravens at 4:30 into the 2nd period. Stephen Hayes made a pass from just behind his own goal line out to the right wing were Andrew Guest was skating. There was some slight miscommunication as Guest made his way toward centre and the pass was slightly behind him. However, the puck bounced fortunately off the boards and the loose puck was picked up by Guest who skated into the Ladies defensive zone with speed. He went behind their defence and skated in front of the goal and coolly finished on the backhand. An excellent goal and the Ravens must have been relieved as they were probably starting to think they’d never score. The 2nd period finished 1-0 to the Ravens.
Ravens v Bulls LadiesThe Ladies did an excellent job of keeping the shots down in the 2nd period. The Ravens had 7 shots on goal in the 2nd period. This was half of their total in the 1st. The Ravens then went on to add 2 more goals in the 3rd period with Andrew Guest getting his second of the night and Stephen Hayes picking up his second assist. They then got a 3rd through Jason Monahan at 43:25. The game finished 3-0 and it was a thoroughly enjoyable game with both teams having fun.
For the Ladies, it can be seen that they are getting better every week and their coaches, Vytautas Lukosevicous and Sean Gibson, are doing tremendous work with them. Vytautas and Sean were recently announced as Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Women’s National Team. I am told that they are off to Latvia this week for a training camp and for games in order to gain experience and I’m sure everyone wishes them good luck. For the Ravens on the other hand, the points were what mattered most and they are right back in the playoff hunt. It will also improve moral as they suffered some harsh defeats in recent weeks. They’ll be looking to get back on track now. The IIHL Development Division continues this weekend with 3 games taking place. The Latvian Hawks ‘B’ take on the Kilkenny City Storm on Saturday night. On Sunday, there will be a double header as its Whalers v Latvian Hawks ‘B’ followed by Dublin Wolves v Dundalk Bulls ‘B’. All games are of course at the Dundalk Ice Dome and are free.