This Week 20th January

As temperatures plummeted outside the action on the ice was heating up.

All Change At Braehead – The big news this week was that Jordan Krestanovich has been replaced at the Clan by former NHL and KHL coach Paul Gardner. Krestanovich who took over the helm in the summer has enjoyed a somewhat up and down season with the Clan but with GM Kirsty Longmuir deciding to make the swap Krestanovich has took his leave. It now seems his linked move with to the Sheffield Steelers from the summer will go a head after all.

It is a rare move for a club to bring in a coach rather than opt for a player but it is one that will be welcomed. Gardner arrived on Friday in time for the Clan’s weekend games.

Murph Out – The Belfast Giants title hopes have been dealt a major blow as the starting netminder Stephen Murphy will be out for a ‘significant length of time’. The GB international was injured during Saturdays comeback win over the Coventry Blaze. The Giants moved quickly to bring in former Fife and Braehead number one Garrett Zemlack but GB head coach Tony Hand will not have that luxury for next months Olympic qualifiers should the Scottish goalie still be unavailable.

Another netminder making the move this week was Cardiff’s Phil Osaer who has decided to move back to the Norwegian league. Osaer’s exit sparked rumours that the Welsh side would opt to bring back Basingstoke’s Stevie Lyle but it now seems that an import goalie will be on his way to the Big Blue Tent. Backup goalie Joe Myers got the start in their game with Edinburgh on Saturday.

Weather Choas – Several games in the National League and the English Premier League where cancelled due to travel problems over the weekend as Britain was hit by blizzards. One source did hint that some teams may be playing the system to avoid playing games whilst injured or short benched however.

One of Edinburgh's magnificant seven goal scores from Sunday Night

One of Edinburgh’s magnificant seven goal scores from Sunday Night

Edinburgh in Seventh Heaven – After grabbing the overtime winner in Cardiff on Saturday night the Edinburgh Capitals returned to Murrayfield to face a Hull side that had struggling offensively. But in a game started with a bang and kept going all of that went of the window. The Edinburgh Capitals outscored the Stingrays 6 to 1 in the opening 15 minutes with each goal coming from a different scorer. It was a calmer second period as Jerome Tendler pulled another back for the visitors before a manic third period. Rene Jarolin getting the Caps seventh by a seventh goal scorer before he and Portwood got their braces to ratching the home scoreboard up to 9. A Silverthorn brace, a Tendler second and a Cloutier marker took the ‘Rays tally to 5.

Title Races Heat Up – There were lots of movement on the title race front. A win for the Belfast Giants in Nottingham and in Coventry kept them well in the hunt for the EIHL title. The Panthers though remain on top thanks as well to a win in Sheffield on Sunday.

In the EPL Manchester suffered a huge blow by losing in Basingstoke and then dropping a point in their home game against Peterborough. Guildford returned to the summit by winning their only game over the weekend against the Sheffield Steeldogs and thanks to the Bison going down at spoilers Bracknell.

In the National League too there are plenty of close races. In South 1 Romford unexpectedly dropped points so that there is only 1 point between the top 3 and in North 2 Nottingham Lions scored 2 late goals to beat second place Deeside and open up a 3 point gap.

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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