Empire win Super League hockey

beadottin, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 21 July 2014

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Hockey championships can come down to penalties too. That’s what happened Saturday night at the Astroturf in Wildey, as perennial powerhouses Empire earned the Super League Hockey Championship, with a 3-1 shootout win over the University of the West Indies’ Blackbirds. The two teams had fought tooth and nail, and were virtually inseparable after regulation, playing to a 3-3 tie. In the highly anticipated match, UWI were  first out of the blocks, when Shane Lewis scored in the fourth minute of the game. Jamal Graham extended the lead six minutes later, a score they defending until half-time. The Blackbirds continued their domination into the second half, extending their lead to 3-0 compliments of a blistering reverse hit by Chris Holder just two minutes into the second half. Then Empire finally woke up. The UWI side, eyeing victory seemed to slacken their grip on the game, conceding their first goal to Empire’s Che Warner. Joel Bodkin, then took charge of the game for the ‘Blues’,  striking twice to level the score just before the final whistle, and shattering UWI’s hopes of an easy victory. The shootout was slightly delayed as the referees took to the rules book to confirm decisions made regarding the first hit taken by Empire’s Akeil Craigg-Brown, who wcollided with UWI’s goalie Justin Taitt. Craigg-Brown was allowed to re-take the penalty stroke but it was also saved by Taitt. Bodkin, assuming the role of goalkeeper for Empire, continued his impressive performance, only conceding one goal to UWI’s Shane Lewis. Goals from  Akeel Trotman-Grant, Warner and Bodkin sealed the 3-1 victory. It was a tough night for the Blackbirds, as in the women’s competition, they were beaten 3-0 by another hockey powerhouse, Combermere School Old Scholars (CSOS), in the championship match. The defences of both teams were impenetrable for entire first period, despite CSOS playing with a kickerback in Maria Sealy, rather than a goalkeeper. Seemingly refreshed from the half-time interval, CSOS were able to establish a lead through two short corner goals by Sealy in the 28th and 35th minutes .   Vanessa Chewitt then served the final blow with a powerful strike past UWI goalkeeper Cara Briggs in the 37th minute. Earlier in the day, the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) won the National League competition, by blitzing Combermere School 4-1. BUT dominated the match, netting two goals in the first half from Tiffany Browne, and  Kabira Foster.  Two more strikes in the second half through Alanis Clarke and Zhane Richards completed the rout. Combermere got a consolation goal from Jada Prescod. In the men’s equivalent, CSOS challenged Massy United Insurance Empire in a fast-paced contest, winning 4-1. Jason Robinson, Shavon Goddard, Kamar Bovell and Mark Owen netted goals for the CSOS team within the first half of the game. Empire replied late in the half through Akeem Gilkes. (BA/GB)

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