This Week 18th November
This week was one of upsets on the ice and surprises off it.
Devils Replacement for Next Season
The future of the Cardiff Devils looks to have become a little clearer this week. Brent Pope as interim head coach released a press statement that seemed to declare that he would be in charge of the Welsh side until the summer after which time a new head coach would in place preferably on a two year deal. It all sounds like a plan but the Devils will now be without a head coach for the best part of a month as Pope has media commitments at the Sochi games in February.
After starting the season with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL former Coventry Blaze and Braehead Clan forward Robert Farmer is back on the market. The GB international was released by the ECHL side having only play 4 times for the club. It will wet the appetite of a number of clubs in the UK as they change their sides following the start of the season.
Saturday was a shocker for the prediction experts. Still riding high after Sundays remarkable game the Edinburgh Capitals faced a red hot Belfast Giants side. The Caps faithful would have barely come back down when a Hartmann brace in the third period put the league leaders to the sword. Also in Scotland the Hull Stingrays continued to improve as player coach Sylvain Cloutier hit the winner at the start of the third to beat the in form Braehead Clan.
It wasnâ€™t just the EIHL results that were causing a stir. The sometimes much criticised Blackburn Eagles (part of the Blackburn Hawks development system) pick up their first win in longer than anyone can remember against a good Widnes side.
Blaze Ignite Old Friendships
The Blaze have had a somewhat indifferent start to the season. A poor performance in the cup has seen
them slump out in the group stage. Yet their league form has seen them with a promising record. Following a mid week defeat to the Braehead Clan old favourites Shea Guthrie and Mike Egener were brought in. Guthrie seemed to make the difference as the Matt Soderstromâ€™s team bounced back to beat the Cardiff Devils on Saturday. Egener will be in the line up for next weekâ€™s games.
Panthers Send Off in Style
The Nottingham Panthers will head to Italy for the Continental Cup on a high after third period of dominance against arch rivals the Sheffield Steelers. The second game in two nights was a tight affair after Siranni and Francis shared the goals to leave the teams tied at 1. In fact the visitors were ahead on the shot count but 4 goals in 10 minutes gave the home side the points before Francis completed his hat trick.
The Panthers will play Asiago (Italy) Toros Neftekamsk (Russia) and Yertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan) in Italy next weekend with the group winners going through to the Super Final in Rouen at the beginning of January.
New Leaders in EPL
For the first time this season there are new leaders at the top of the EPL. The Flames and the Phoenix met in Guildford on Sunday night with both teams knowing a win would take them top. After a goal a piece in the first 10 minutes the game remained level into the third. It was a defensive mix up that allowed former Phoenix forward Marcus Kristofferson to put the Flames into a commanding lead and send the Surrey side to top of the table.
The EIHL is down on games next week as the Nottingham Panthers head to Italy for Continental Cup action. At home though there is an intriguing clash between the Edinburgh Capitals and the Hull Stingrays at Murrayfield to look out for. There are also back-to-back games between the Flyers and the Clan.
In the EPL the Tigers travel to the Skydome to face the Lightning in midweek action but the games to watch are at the weekend. The Tigers will host the struggling Swindon Wildcats on Sunday in a bottom of the table clash but the highlight is at the top were Manchester host the Bison.
In the NIHL Deeside Dragons clash with the Nottingham Lions is bound to be another classic match up but a special mention must got to Streatham. Sunday night will see the Redskins return to their home in Lambert borough after a 2-year stay in Brixton. They will host the Bracknell Hornets to open the new Streatham Hub ice rink.