This Week 4th November
It has been a busy week in the UK. There were mid games and yet more movement off the ice with the Cardiff Devils. The Rose game between the Phoenix and the Steeldogs also hit the headlines.
The Cardiff Devils look to be nearing an end of their coaching saga. A month after speculation circulated that Adamsâ€™ job maybe underthreat he has finally been sacked. Brent Pope took over the coaching duties at the Devils on the Wednesday with the side in 9th place. Also sacked was assistant coach Neil Francis after 6 years with the team whilst Adams will resume playing only duties. Pope has not been confirmed as the full time coach though which asks whether Pope and owner Paul Ragan have had a plan this month. The Devils picked up 2 points in a shootout win in Belfast Saturday but lost 2-1 in regulation on Sunday.
Roses Game Marred by Racism Allegations
The Steeldogs hosted the Manchester Phoenix on Saturday night in the last roses derby. The Phoenix overcame an early goal deficit to run out 5-3 winners but the game was marred with accusations of racist remarks being levelled at the Steeldogs side. In a statement on Sunday the Manchester Phoenix said that they and the Sheffield Steeldogs had reached a resolution on the incident to the satisfaction of all parties. There was no comment from the EIHA though.
Doucet Hero and Villan for Stingrays
The Hull Stingrays went to Cardiff on Thursday night looking to get their first Challenge Cup victory of the season. It was a second period come back lead by Guillaume Doucet forced penalties with game tied at 5-5. After the first round the penalties were even. Doucet the hero of regulation with 4 goals already had a goal in the shootout when he stepped up and missed leaving Jake Morrisette to win it for the Devils.
Owner Wayne Scholes had promised changes for the Tigers and this week the reinforcements arrived. The Tigers signed former Braehead Clan and Manchester Phoenix centre Adam Walker alongside Finnish forward Timo Kuuluvainen and Coventry Blaze stalwart James Pease. Walker had his only 100-point season in his last spell in the EPL with the Manchester Phoenix and was the man of the match on his debut in Tigers 5-2 loss to Swindon Wildcats.
The Nottingham Panthers managed to safe face on Friday night at the NIC as they faced the Dundee Stars. The Panthers were in a strong position go into the third period with a 2 goal lead but the Stars levelled with 4 minutes to go. A Leigh Salters strike in over time gave the Panthers the 2 point but it was the third game in a row the Panthers gave up a third period lead. There was no such stumble on Sunday as they came out of the blocks fast to win 7-1 over the Flyers.
Clan Do Double
After winning on penalties on their last visit to the Motorpoint the Clan made it a double on trips to Sheffield. It was Towe and Champagne that set up the win with 2 first period markers to cancel out Jason Hewittâ€™s early strike. Rob Dowd brought it back to 3-2 with 10 to go but Neil Trimmâ€™s empty net made it another happy return to his former stomping ground for Ryan Finnerty.
There is a mid week Challenge Cup clash this week with the Hull Stingrays needing a regulation win against the Coventry Blaze to keep any hope of qualifying for the knockout phase alive. But with only 3 games in the Elite League on Saturday the interesting action takes place on Sunday. The Sheffield Steelers entertain the Belfast Giants whilst the Fife Flyers head to Dundee in our games to watch.
In the EPL our pick comes from the Telford ice rink as the new look Tigers take on the Peterborough Phantoms in a game that both sides need to win. Sunday sees the Steeldogs head over the Pennines to face the Manchester Phoenix looking for revenge for Saturdayâ€™s defeat.
In the NIHL there are some mouth watering clashes. On Saturday the Cardiff Devils host the Isle of Wight in South 1 action whilst Sunday has a northwest derby between the Blackburn Hawks and the Manchester Minotaurs. Sunday also sees the Solihull Barons host the Coventry Blaze in a midlands derby game in the Laidler Conference and we will be at Widnes as the Wild play their first league game in their completed ice rink with the seats having now being installed.