This Week 30th September
This week it has been back to business for UK ice hockey. The talk of the Board of Player Safety still rumbles on it is in quiet corners but there were CHL games, homecomings and the usual league and cup matches not to mention a number of upsets over the weekend.
Steelers Return to the Arena
After starting the season on the road and at Ice Sheffield after a leak forced the closure of the Motorpoint Arena the Sheffield Steelers finally took to home ice. It was a special occasion as they raised their playoff banner but it was the away fans making the headlines as the Devils following read newspapers during the ceremony.
There was though a rather embarasing moment for the Steelers as their scoreboard suffered a malfunction displaying this subtly different message;
Panthers of the Mark
The Nottingham Panthers got there Champions League campaign off the zero mark on Tuesday with a win over the Hamburg Freezers at the NIC. It was a victory that delighted British ice hockey and continued the Freezers (last years DEL regular season winners) winless start to the season. The Nottingham Panthers will be known in years to come in pub quizzes in Hamburg as the team that cost Freezers coach Benoit Laporte his job.
Steeldogs Showcase Cup Potential
The British Challenge Cup was earmarked as a way to give British players more ice time. The Steeldogs on Saturday took full advantage of that and their new link up with the Widnes Wild by icing 16 year old George Crawshaw and son of Sheffield ice hockey legend Ron Shudra, 17 year old Cole as well as GB Womens international Nicole Jackson. The Steeldogs beat the Sharks 5-1 in Dumfries.
Saturday night saw many surprises in the results. The excitement of Tuesday nights victory was short lived as the Panthers crashed to a 6-1 defeat to the Hull Stingrays at the NIC.
The Steelers homecoming too was gate crashed by the Cardiff Devils came away with a penalty shot win. It was a game in which the Steelers also welcomed Tyler Mosienko to the line up after his suspension and had led twice.
There was another upset of sorts in Kirkcaldy. The Clan were the guests and had a great start to the season. Whilst Flyers victory may not have surprised everyone a 4-0 dominate display will have raised some eyebrows.
The final 100% record in the EIHL also went on Saturday as the Coventry Blaze lost 4-2 in Belfast ending their 4-0 start to the season. Whilst Edinburgh remained without a cup victory as Dundee took their first regulation win of the season in Murrayfield.
The results on Sunday continued to shock as the Fife Flyers continued where they left off on Saturday with a 6-1 victory in the Odyssey over the Belfast Giants. The Panthers weekend couldnâ€™t have been more a contrast with a Sunday visit to Cardiff ending with Clarke, Lachowicz and Benedict missing from the bench and a defeat to the Devils.
The Blaze could not manage to return to winning ways against the Sheffield Steelers on Sunday. 2 third period goals did level it up at 2-2 but Steelers blushes were saved with 5 seconds remaining as Tyler Mosienko made his mark in his second start.
Late on Sunday thought the Belfast Giants secured their place in the Challenge Cup quarter finals. Edinburghâ€™s loss to the Stars means the Murrayfield team has lost its opening 4 Cup games.
The Manchester Phoenix returned to winning ways on Saturday with an injury hit roster taking 2 points over the Lightning in Coventry with a 4-1 victory however the Guildford Flames struggles continued with a 2-1 loss to the Phantoms.
The two early pacesetters played on Saturday with the Basingstoke Bison edging the Telford Tigers 2-1 to increase the Bisons start to 4-0-0.
Sunday night saw the Phoenix further depleted by an injury to James Archer who had scored 2 goals to help his side to a 3-2 win. The Steeldogs also made it two wins as they continued their good start with a 3-1 win over Swindon.
The Solihull Barons went to Bradford on Saturday night in the NIHL N2 clash. As if the Barons needed to prove their credentials they came away with a 27-1 victory. It was perhaps proof that EIHA bodged the league set up by not promoting last seasonâ€™s champions to replace the Telford Titans.