It was an excellent end to the season for the Ulster Elks, as they have secured a place in the 2015 Irish Hockey League after a nail biting win over the Catholic Institute. The wild card play-off took place at Jordanstown yesterday, when the Elks won over a 4-2 penalty shoot-out.
The game remained goalless until both sides scored a point each to level at 1-1 on extra time. Kirsty Lammey had initially put the Elks ahead with a stunning reverse stick shot in the 63rd minute, but the Limerick team responded with Naomi Carroll scoring a penalty corner 2 minutes later.
The heroine of the game had to be the Jordanstown goalkeeper Rebecca Davidson, as she made 2 phenomenal saves on the penalty shoot-outs. After the game she said “I am so happy that we have made it through to IHL, we’ve trained harder than we have ever done – and to get through just shows our hard work has paid off”.
The Elks held their nerve in the shoot-out by scoring all 4 stokes, with Danielle Wilson scoring the final point after the successful attempts by Louise Wright, Stephanie Jamieson and Dawn Axon.
“We dominated most of the game but it was one of those days when I thought we were never going to score” said Elks coach Ricky Lee.
“But it’s great to be back in the IHL as we want to improve year on year and it’s important to be in it with changes in the format coming into effect the following season”.
The last time that the Elks had qualified for the Irish Hockey League was 4 seasons ago. They have struggled to find the same form as they had in 2010, due to a number of their key players retiring.