This Week: 8th October 2013

This week was one were the teams at the bottom of the leagues were very much in spot light. As usual though there were upsets and many players getting upset.

Vote of Confidence For Adams
Gerard Adams has either been loved or hated as the coach of the Cardiff Devils. The player coach has been talked about for his teams physical and often over the top aggressive style. Now with results note going the way of the Devils rumours of Director of Operations and former Devil Brent Pope have hit the headlines. Adams was this week given the vote of confidence by owner Paul Ragan. Ragan released a statement saying there is no ultimatum that we must be in 4th place by the end of October or Gerad will be dismissed. This is simply a benchmark that we highlighted with Gerad during our meeting Monday afternoon that needed to be our end of October focus to maintain being realistic about winning the League Championship.

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Under Pressure Gerard Adams

 

Over the weekend the Devils were once again beaten at home as the Belfast Giants ran out comfortable winners but the Devils did win in Edinburgh. However a 3-1 v

EIHL or WWE?ictory of the also struggling Capitals is not enough to prove the doubters wrong.

The league leaders were in Hull on Saturday night. After a 2 goal lead into the third period a Jerome Tendler goal halved that before a scene more akin to wrestling took over. Following a boarding incident by Dundee Nico Sacchetti there was the expected medley that followed. However Hull Stingrays forward Derek Campbell did not think his unnecessary roughness misconduct was sufficient pay back as Campbell continued his recompense of the ice eventually being restrained by arena officials. Campbell missed the return game in Dundee (a 3-2 lose for the Stingrays) and will face the discipline panel following yet another serious incident review.

Panthers Make the Quarter Final
The Nottingham Panthers are seasonal favourites for the challenge cup and Sunday’s performance shows this season is no different. A dominating second period by the holders in Coventry saw them add 3 goals in ten minutes to Salters first period strike. Two more from Clarke and Anderson sealed a comfortable 6-1 victory at the Skydome to put the Panthers into the quarterfinal. Coventry, Sheffield and Cardiff remain on course to join the Panthers out of group B with the Hull Stingrays still without a point at the foot of the group.

Record Breaking Phoenix
The Manchester Phoenix steamroller start to the season continued as they increased their start to 8-0. Sunday’s game in the ice dome saw the Phoenix host the struggling Jets. After racking up an 11-0 win last week the Phoenix went one better as they hit 12 to 2 against. It was the biggest win for the Phoenix club who are entering their 11th season. It will be a tighter affair this coming week as the Phoenix play second place Guildford in a home and home series.

Pressure On
With the pressure on Gerard Adams in Cardiff other sides too are feeling the poor starts. The expection seems to the Telford Tigers though. After a pointless first 4 games to the season the Shropshire side responded with a 4 point weekend to make it 3 wins in a row picking up back to back wins over struggling Peterborough.

Gone Wild
Saturday night saw a moment of history as the Widnes Wild recorded their first ever victory. The Wild came out 4-1 winners in Ice Sheffield over the Sheffield Senators. The Senators had beaten the Wild in a preseason match at the Widnes Ice Rink but revenge came as the Wild recorded their first 2 points. Also after going pointless for almost 2 years the Lee Valley Lions are now unbeaten in their last 2 games picking up a win on Saturday over the Wightlink Tigers in NIHL2.

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Doug Christiansen returns to Belfast this weekend

A look ahead
There is midweek action this week in Sheffield as the Dundee Stars take on the Steelers at Ice Sheffield. Ice Sheffield has not be favourable over the years to the Steelers but they did beat the Stars 7-0 there last season. However this is a new Stars line up who are still top of the league.

The Steelers have a date in Belfast on Saturday too as Doug Christiansen returns to the Odyssey Arena for the first time. Watch out on Sunday too for the Giants and the Blaze. Both of these games could show who is a championship contender in the EIHL.

In the EPL the big games are the home and home match up between the Guildford Flames and the Manchester Phoenix. The Phoenix are on a perfect 8-0 record whereas last seasons champions the Flames have lost twice both times on penalties. Remember with the head to head records taken into account if teams are tied at the end of the season this makes the win all the more important.

The NIHL fixtures have thrown up 2 games to keep an eye on. The Chelmsford Chieftains take on the Isle of Wight in a 1 versus 2 clash and both defending an unbeaten record. In the Laidler Conference meanwhile the Deeside Dragons lost their unbeaten record on Sunday night in Coventry but can still prove their championship credentials as they take on Solihull on Sunday.

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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