This Week 7th April
Well that is that. The 2014 EIHL and EPL seasons are over and all eyes are concentrating on the up coming World champions but before that last weekend saw the Elite and Premier league playoffs.
Sheffield Steel EIHL Crown
Saturdays semi-finals could not have been closer. The champions Belfast were left frustrated by the seventh seed Fife Flyers. Kevin Sauretteâ€™s third period goal was the only one of tie as both goaltenders stood on their heads. Even the post was against the Giants as they hit it in the last minute with Regan pulled from the Flyers goal.
The later semi-final was equally as tight. The Steelers started strong with first period goals from DiCasmiro and Kohn before a late Trimm goal left it at 2-1 after twenty minutes. Ash Goldieâ€™s goal early in the second period looked to have been enough to send the game to overtime but with 6 minute to play Rob Dowd scored to give the Steelers the second place in the final.
For some reason the EIHL has continued with its 3rd/4th place playoff and as it turned it this was as entertaining as the semi-finals. An end to end game with goals galore the Clan winning 7-6 in overtime after 62 shots on target.
The final was a thriller. With 4 goals shared in the second period neither team could find the break through. Overtime beckoned and it fell to veteran Drew Fata to fire the Steelers to their 10th playoff title.
Bison Hit The Double
It was equally as close in Coventry. The early semi-final between the league champions and the in form Swindon Wildcats was edge of the seat as the Cats took the game to overtime. It was a Frankie Bakrlik strike that sealed it for the Champions.
The cup winners and league runners up had a slightly easier game of it with a 5-2 victory over the Guildford Flames.
Sundayâ€™s final was a highlight for Phoenix netminder Steven Fone. Foneâ€™s saves denied the Bison offense keeping the scores level at 3-3. However with 6 minutes to play the Bison got the break through before adding an empty net marker inside the last 30 seconds to take it 5-3.
EIHL Award Winners
This seasons Elite League award winners were announced ahead of the playoff final and there was big recognition for surprise package Dundee. Goaltender Dan Bakala was rewarded with goaltender, player and fans player of the year whilst Belfast was represented with British player for Stephen Murphy, defenseman of the year for Calvin Elfring and coach of the year for Paul Adey. Adey marking his return to the UK with the league championship.
The NIHL is nearing its conclusion and newcomers Widnes Wild marked the end of their regular season with a big win in Hull. Thanks to Deesideâ€™s withdrawal from the playoffs that win meant the Wild will go to the playoff finals in their first season.
With most teams in the NIHL south 2 having 2 games to play there are still 3 teams in the hunt and it will be between Slough, Oxford and Swindon for the final league title.
Elite League eyes will now turn to the World Championships, which get underway after next weekends training camp which includes two games against the Netherlands.