The NZ Men's U19 team played a two game qualifier against the Australian Men's U19 team on 10th and 11th October 2014, in Sydney. Japan, the only other Men's U19 team entered in the Asia Oceania region, qualified directly for the 8th Men's U19 World Floorball Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden in April 2015.
Both teams started slowly, trying to keep up a strong defence and not conceed. Australia was first to score, however New Zealand equalised through Jared Solomon and it was 1:1 after the first period. The second period continued in a similar way, with Australia scoring first before Ethan Harper squared it up again at 2:2. This made for an exciting last period where both teams tried to find the back of the net. New Zealand managed to take the lead for the first time through a goal by Musa Olatunji, only for Australia to score again soon after with only 5min to play. In the 57th minute Australia had one player in the sin bin and New Zealand took advantage, scoring through captain Matthew Bertschinger to take the lead again. But the game was not yet decided and soon after, New Zealand had a player sent off. In the power play that followed, Australia was pressing very hard and managed to find the equaliser with 16 seconds remaining. After an absolute nail biter the game ended with a 4:4 tie, meaning the second game would be the decider.
NZ 4 Australia 4 (by period 1st 1:1, 2nd 1:1, 3rd 2:2)
Match Report - Stats
Jared Solomon (assist Ethan Harper)
Ethan Harper (assist Lucas Earley)
Musa Olatunji (assist Ethan Harper)
Matthew Bertschinger (assist Ethan Harper)
Best Player for NZ - Musa Olatunji
New Zealand was determined to come out strong again and continue the solid performance from the day before. However Australia managed to get the better start and score two early goals to take the lead. New Zealand couldn't get the opposition players under control and Australia extended the lead to 5:0 after the first period. The break provided an opportunity for NZ to re-focus and they come out strong and they scored early through Oli McLaren. Individual mistakes and penalties cost the team and Australia extended the lead to 7:1 after two periods. The final period saw Australia again score first but Ethan Harper managed to score his second personal goal for the tournament and become top scorer for New Zealand.
NZ 2 Australia 8 (by period 1st 0:5, 2nd 1:2, 3rd 1:1)
Match Report - Stats
Ethan Harper (assist Jared Solomon)
Best Player for NZ - Matthew Bertschinger
Final Tournament Placings
1. Australia 2. New Zealand
Congratulations to Tom Kibblewhite who was selected as a defender in the All Star team.
Through these games the NZ Men's U19 team gained confidence and a lot of motivation to keep up the development. The squad was very young and played at an international level for the very first time. After a draw in the first game, it was only the first period of the second game where Australia was clearly the better team. These performances show some great potential for the future as most of the players will be eligible again to play U19's in two years time, when NZ will enter the next World Floorball Championship Qualifier.
The team would like to thank all their supporters and sponsors for their great contribution: Pub Charity, Eastern Suburbs Sports Trust, BECA & Salming.
Photos - Wellington Storm Floorball Club
Photos - Northern Beaches Floorball Club
NZM U19 Team
2 - Lucas Earley
3 - Trent Lim
7 - Tom Kibblewhite
10 - Brendan Patrick
11 - Musa Olatunji
12 - James Matheson
14 - Oscar McLaren
16 - Ethan Harper
17 - Oli McLaren
18 - Jared Solomon
21 - Matthew Bertschinger (captain)
22 - Benjamin McKibbin
27 - Oliver Sundin
64 - Oliver Scott
98 - Alex Pride
Coach - Christian Bertschinger
Coach - Sven Sundin
Manager - Anna Kibblewhite