This Week 15th September
With the new season only a week a old there is already lots to talk about on the ice and off it. This week also saw the start of the EPL campaign and more English Challenge Cup matches as well as more NIHL matches up.
EIHL Department of Player Safety Already Tested
It took just 1.29 of the Edinburgh Capitals season to test the newly created EIHL department of player safety. The boarding call against Riley Emmerson was upgraded to a 10 game ban and Â£1000 fine for the Capitals was the first decision. In an interesting not though the Capitals failed to produce video of the incident in their defence.
Steelers Forum Announces More
This week saw the Sheffield Steelers forum with owner Tony Smith and head coach Gerard Adams in the hottest. Amongst the Steelers news and usual niceties was news that the Steelers will have to do with the Sheffield Arena for more time as the leek in the cooling system is in the pipe work creating a potential meaning a fixture crises with games being played at Ice Sheffield for the time being including Sundays match against Fife but other options may be explored.
Wembley Return A Step Closer
More big news from the Steelers Forum was that the EIHL has approved 1 of 2 applications for expansion franchises. Whilst few details were announced league spokesman and Steelers owner Tony Smith did reveal that the 2 applications were for a team in the North which was reject and a Southern team that would probably be based at Wembley however would not start play for at least another couple of seasons.
This weeks fixtures got underway with Fridayâ€™s game in Belfast between the Giants and the Capitals and it was comfortable win for the Champions. It was not comfortable on Saturday though as the Giants were 3 goals down to the Clan before staging a comeback to be beaten in extras as they were a week ago. They was more comeback drama on Saturday as the Fife Flyers overturned a 3-1 deficit to lead 4-3 until the last 4 seconds on home ice against the Steelers. The Steelers equalised and took the extra point on penalties. Nottingham also got their domestic season off to a winning start as they beat Cardiff.
On Sunday Cardiff bounced back with a 4-3 victory over Coventry to get their Challenge Cup campaign started. Sheffield got their home season off to a flying start albeit at Ice Sheffield and not the arena with a 5-1 victory. Braehead meanwhile continued their strong start with a 3-0 win in Edinburgh. The game of Sunday though was in Dundee where the Dundee Stars were holding onto a 4-3 lead only for the visiting Hull Stingrays to score 2 goals in just over 30 seconds. The first of which came with 15 seconds left in regulation leaving Dundee with something to think about after 2 weekends of the season.
The last of the domestic seasons to get under was the EPL and it is fair to say it started with a bang. Or rather it was a punch from the bench as Basingstoke fought out a 6-4 win over Peterborough that included a bench clearance brawl and a lengthy delay with the teams being sent to the dressing rooms. Reigning champions Manchester got off to a winning start with a win in Bracknell and Telford beat the Steeldogs 4-3 at Ice Sheffield.
Sunday saw a number of comeback victories in the EPL. Reigning champion Manchester Phoenix had looked comfortable against the Wildcats but a strong comeback saw the Wiltshire side take a penalty shot victory in Altrincham. Peterborough also came back to collect 2 points over the Steeldogs and Guildford started their season with a 5-3 win over Guildford. Telford also showed some of their preseason talk was not hype as they picked up a 6-1 win over Bracknell.
Elsewhere there was a nasty incident as the Bradford Bulldogs returned to NIHL action with an ejected player racking up a further 100 penalty minutes after returning to the ice during the handshakes. Also the first cross league English Challenge Cup match took place with Basingstoke winning 5-1 in Chelmsford.