This Week 11th April

This week playoff fever has continued as the NIHL playoff weekend hit ice Sheffield, SNL playoff final went to Kirkcaldy and NIHL south reached the semifinal phase. There was also GB warm ups and more retirees.

NIHL Weekend

For the first time both conferences held their playoffs at the same venue and it was a sold out Ice Sheffield. The major surprise were the Solihull Barons who defeat the Whitley Warriors on Saturday to cap a fantastic return to Division 1 for the midlands club by reaching the final.

Blackburn were the better side in the final and the 7-3 score line reflected that but the Barons were running them tight for the game and the Hawks needed to be on fine form.

On paper the Deeside Dragons should win the Laidler playoffs and they did but it was a close affair. The Blackburn Eagles hung in with run away leaders whilst Widnes who edged the Lions in the first game kept in close in the final.

GB v Poland

Great Britain warmed up for the World Championships with a duo of games against Poland. Saturday night the GB squad were defeated by a Poland goal with 10 seconds remaining in overtime.

On Sunday night the situation was reserved with GB winning in OT.

It is a promising warm up from the GB side given Poland’s impressive campaign last season that saw them come within a whisker of promotion to the top group.

Elsewhere

Its congratulations to Aberdeen Lynx who beat the Dundee Comets on Sunday evening to lift the SNL playoff title. Meanwhile the Chelmsford Chieftains will meet the Wightlink Raiders in the NIHL south playoff final; a fantastic effort for the Raiders who last season looked to be going out of business and then had to deal with storm damage to their Ryde Arena home.

Chelmsford Warriors also picked up the South 2 Cup after a win over the Peterborough Islanders.

EIHL to Swap More Officials

Following from EIHL partnership with the Swedish leagues to help develop referees the EIHL has signed another agreement with the Danish league to exchange officials.

Transfer News

Following the playoff finals there are more signings and retirements. Matt Towe joins the retirement list along with goalies Stephen Wall and Greg Rockford. Jordan Cownie has signed on at the MK Lightning for another season whilst James Archer makes the move from the Manchester Phoenix to the Peterborough Phantoms.

Scottish youngster Josh Grieveson has signed with the Dundee Stars for next season after spending some time in the US high school system and he is joined by under 20 international Cameron McGriffin.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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