This Week 30th September
It was a week of the big results and big decisions. Teams got of the mark, teams signalled their intent and there was another big decision for the disciplinary panel again.
Discipline Rears Its Head
Yet again ice hockey was in the spotlight for its discipline as on Saturday night Chris Frank of the Nottingham Panthers received 5+ game for head butting. That is of cause the second incident this season. The first controversially came in a preseason game and Andrew Conboy on that incident was only given 1 match ban with head of discipline Moray Hanson wanting more. Hanson stuck by his word and handing out a 5 game ban but with ill discipline become a theme of the start of the season will it be enough.
In need of Giant Performance
The Belfast Giants head coach Paul Adey headed back to Nottingham for the first time since tenor behind the bench of the Panthers. It was not the happiest return as the Giants lost by a single goal. The Giants nearly throw away 2 league points on Sunday as well as they conceded an equalising goal against the Stingrays on a 5 on 3 powerplay with 7 minutes to go. A Elfring winner with 4 minutes to go saved the Giants blushes but it was a weekend of underperfomance from them and will look to improve against the struggling Cardiff Devils. But the Devils did win in Sheffield in challenge cup action on Sunday.Â
The Dundee Stars heading to the Erhart Conference for the second time this season. For second time this season the Stars came out second best as they lost 6-2 at the Coventry Blaze. With the Stars top of league and only one defeat in league play they were signalling a challenge for the top half but with this defeat the Stars still have a question mark over their top 5 potential this season. Winning at home is one thing but to gain a top half finish will require wins at the more established teams rinks.Â
Telford Off the Mark
The Tigers are off the mark in the EPL this season as they picked up an away win at the Slough Jets on Saturday. The Tigers may be the minnows of the EPL as the club look to complete with the big spending Guildford and Manchester but this season is a big one. After the renovation of their rink last season and their return from hiatus before that the Tigers will be looking to improve on their basement status. A win in Slough will help this. However worryingly for the Jets that defeat meant they slump to just 1 win in their opening 5. But they have played league favourites Guildford and Manchester 3 times in those games.
Stars Sky High
Before the Dundee Stars travelled to Coventry on Saturday they faced a cup clash with the Edinburgh Capitals. The table topping Stars came out 5 â€“ 2 winners after a delayed start. The delay caused by a queue to get in. It would appear the Stars who top the EIHL table and are all but assured of their challenge cup quarter final spot are also proving a hit with the fans.
Phoenix Roll On
The Manchester Phoenix sent a massive signal to the rest of the EPL that they mean business. A shut out win on Saturday at fancied Swindon was backed up with another 11 goal win at home. The Phoenix are now 8 â€“ 0 so far this season and have a goal difference of plus 31 almost double that of second place Guildford.
Next weekends fixtures have thrown up some great match ups across the leagues. It is another weekend of the challenge cup and league matches in the EIHL but the Giants travel to Cardiff with both teams needing a moral boosting performance and win.
In the EPL there is a home and home series between the Basingstoke Bison and the Guildford Flames to look forward with both sides having only lost once. But perhaps big action is in the NIHL Laidler Conference as Coventry host undefeated Deeside whilst Solihull take on Nottingham. If that wasnâ€™t enough the Solway Sharks and the Billingham Stars clash in the Moralee Conference.