It has been a season to forget and it just got worse for the Canterbury Red Devils national ice hockey league team after two giant losses to the Dunedin Thunder in the weekend.
Saturday night’s match was won 15-2 by the Thunder and on Sunday was toned back to a less embarrassing defeat for the Red Devils, 7-1.
A surprisingly positive Red Devils coach Matthew Sandford said he was proud of the way his side handled themselves in what was essentially a dead rubber match, as the season was already over.
The Red Devils finished last on the National Ice Hockey League table, a far cry from previous seasons’ results when they made the final for five seasons running.
“I’m proud of the boys’ efforts over the weekend especially Sunday when we only had 12 players. It was always going to be a tough round with half the squad unavailable due to the games being rescheduled.”
The match was a catchup round after the Red Devils were unable to make a trip to Dunedin earlier in the season due to road closures.
Sandford remained upbeat about the 2018 season, although he would have to reapply for his coaching role.
He hoped to know by October and to begin preparation for the season ahead.
“The young team have found out what it was going to take to compete at this level. the team will work hard over the offseason and we will be more competitive next year and not finish last again.”
Meanwhile, the Southern Stampede and the Auckland Admirals will play a three-match final starting this weekend in Auckland.
RED DEVILS’ 2017 SEASON
Lost 1-6, 4-7 vs Southern Stampede
Won 6-5, lost 0-7 vs Botany Swarm
Lost 2-16, 2-8 vs West Auckland Admirals
Lost 4-5, won 6-4 vs Dunedin Thunder
Lost 2-9, 2-10 vs West Auckland Admirals
Won 10-3, lost 4-6 vs Botany Swarm
Lost 2-8, 3-11 vs Southern Stampede
Lost 2-15, 1-7 vs Dunedin Thunder