The Auckland Mako faced a challenging start to their participation in the NZIHL, with a two game series in Auckland against the West Auckland Admirals and Botany Swarm, impressing fans and team staff with their strong work ethic and success on power play.
Game one against the West Auckland Admirals saw a standout performance by Goaltender Barr Bialik, with a mammoth 54 saves from 57 shots (94.7%), earning him the 2nd Star of the game. Andrew Hay scored the only goal for the Auckland Mako at 56:48, assisted by Joseph Orr, a goal which will go down in history as the franchise’s very first.
Final score: 1:3 in favour of the West Auckland Admirals.
Game two was an equally tough matchup against the Botany Swarm, with the Auckland Mako battling it out over the 60 minutes of action. Scoring highlights for the team included a power play goal at 9:15 in the first period by Ivan Dalmatau, assisted by A.J. Spiller, and another power play goal at 6:50 in the third period by Caleb Chamberlin, assisted by Jesse Allen, showcasing the team’s ability to make use of power plays when they are on offer.
Final score 2:6 in favour of the Botany Swarm.
For the Auckland Mako, the games were the culmination of many months of hard work to develop the team, which gives under 23 aged players an opportunity and entry point in to the NZIHL. Supported by their older mentor players, the team showed their determination to excel in the 2021 season from the moment the puck dropped in each game.
A physical and hard fought two game series, the management team and fans alike were very impressed with the offering from the Auckland Mako in their very first game together as a team.