This Week: 4th February
This week in the UK has had a bit of everything. There was the drama of the cup, strange results in the league and a bit of hockey film reminiscing courtesy of the Coventry Blaze.
Putting on the Foil â€“ We all know the scene in Slapshot were the Hanson brothers start a brawl during the warm up but that is fiction. The Coventry Blaze on the other hand were perhaps not so sure as they mimicked the Charlestown Cheifs at the end of their quarter final tie with the Braehead Clan. Derek Campbell and Benn Olson jumping on Clan players to spark a brawl before walking off before the presentations could take place. Non of us like to lose but this is going too far.
Campbell received a 1 game ban whilst Olson despite his ongoing poor disciplinary record and leaving the bench to enter the melee was only award a 2 game ban. Olson was back in the line up to be at the centre of the physicality in time for the Blazeâ€™s win over the Stingrays on Sunday night.
Challenge Cup â€“ The EIHLâ€™s quarter final stage was completed this week. Belfast who have already qualified will face the Nottingham Panthers in a repeat of last years final whilst the Braehead Clan will meet the Sheffield Steelers. The Clan are reward their comeback last minute victory over the Coventry Blaze whilst the Steelers put on a master class to overturn their 2 goal deficit and defeat the Dundee Stars.
League Standings Mean What? â€“ Sunday night in the EPL produced a bizarre set of results. You would have to brave at the best of times to put money on any EPL game but if you had on Sunday you probably would have lost it. League leaders Basingstoke were downed by bottom side Telford who record a 4 point weekend. A result that is a shock on its own but when you consider title contenders Guildford who have for the best 2 seasons picked up points when others have not failed to win at home you have to wonder about the league.
The title race would appear to be a 2 horse race with Manchester losing in Swindon and suffering with injuries but after Sundayâ€™s results you just never know.
Comeback Kings â€“ The Belfast Giants are quickly getting a reputation in the EIHL for being the side you can not write off. After trailing in Coventry a few weeks ago to win the Giants were behind in both of their games this week only to pick up the two points. Whilst perhaps not Doug Christiansenâ€™s game plan that ability has closed the gap on the Nottingham Panthers to 2 points.
It is international week so not only will there be league action to contend with the final Olympic qualifiers take place. There are 3 groups and 3 places at Sochi up for grabs. We will have a dedicated page up to keep to date with all developments on the road to Sochi 2014.