It was time for the revived Belfast Eagles to take on the Dundalk Bulls Ladies in the Dome, and as the girls were searching for their second win, the Eagles still had an outside chance of catching The DkIT Ravens for the elusive fourth playoff spot. Last time the teams met, the Ladies won the game in what has been the only win this season for the Ladies.
The start of the game the ladies threatened for the first few minutes, but the Eagles responded with some chances of their own. But it was the Eagles who took the lead with a goal from talisman Mike McGrath 4:50 into the first. From the rebound off a shot from Gareth Savage, the puck spilled to McGrath who made no mistake. The rest of the first was mostly played in neutral ice, neither team with any clear cut chances bar Seanna Conway making a few impressive saves late on.
Early in the second, the Eagles had some good opportunities, but Conway was equal to them again. She could do nothing for the Eagles second goal though, as Rob Greene was on hand to double the Eagles advantage. Taking a low shot from the point, Conway was screened as the puck slid in 1:38 into the second. It took an amazing desperation save to keep the score at 2-0, after lunging to her left to make an excellent save. Lorna Hoey for the Bulls Ladies had a chance stopped by the Eagles goalie, John Arnold and the Eagles went down the other end and but denied a goal after an infringement on the crease. The referee, William Fay, was alert enough to make the call, and is definitely in with a shout for top referee of the IIHL Development Division.
The girls were unable to put any pressure on the Eagles net, and were punished after Greene scored his second goal and the Eagles third on the night. He took a shot with it deflecting twice past Conway. The Girls deservedly got one back, thanks to a low shot from Keira Keenan, making the score 3-1 with eight minutes to play. After the goal, Alan Hamilton took misconduct and the Eagles’ indiscipline kept them shorthanded. Another misconduct was given to Gareth Savage, who assisted on the first goal. The Girls had another chance but were unable to score another goal.
The score ended 3-1, and had the Bulls Ladies been at full strength, it may have been a different story. They can keep their heads high, the improvement over the course of the season is something for coach Vytautas Lukosevcious to be proud of, especially their positioning and skating, both of which have come along since the creation of the team. They can look to improve their composure and attacking ability in the off-season. The Eagles soar on hoping to finish strong and also building for next season.