November 27, 2011

While the Steelers Away the Cats Need to Play - Belfast Giants Lead the Winners

UK Round Up 26th November

Elite League

With the champion Sheffield Steelers away in Denmark in their Continental Cup the rest of the Elite League looked to make some ground over them in the title race.

Braehead Clan 4 Belfast 6
With the Steelers missing from the Elite League this weekend the Belfast Giants knew that a 4 point weekend would pile the pressure on the reigning championships. It almost did not go to plan early on  Saturday. After an even first period in the Odyssey the Giants took control in the second through Doucet and Pelle and with a 4-2 lead at the second break Belfast looked in control. But third period goals from McPherson and Bayrack levelled it up with 8 minutes to go. But Craig Peacock put the home side back on track with the winner with 2 minutes to go and Mike Garside’s empty netter sealed the victory.

Belfast’s win means they keep the pressure up on the rest of the Elite League and stay in control at the top. Whilst the loss for Braehead means they lose ground on Cardiff in the table.

Hull Stingrays 1 Nottingham Panthers 6
Nottingham like Belfast knew that this weekend was crucial in their title hopes. With Sheffield away the Panthers knew they had the chance to consolidate second sport. With first period goals from Fox and Beauregard the Panthers never looked like they would miss this opportunity. Even when the Stingrays tied the second period the Panthers didn’t look back with third period goals from Beauregard and Benedict and a final nail in the Hull coffin from youngster Robert Lachowic. The win for the Panthers means they put some daylight over the Sheffield Steelers in third place but with the Steelers having 5 games in hand the Panthers need to continue their winning ways to maintain second and keep the pressure on the Giants at the top.

Coventry Blaze 3 Dundee Stars 0
With no win in four games the Stars needed a victory to put their playoff hopes back on track. Whilst a pointless weekend last week for Coventry meant a win tonight was just as important. It was the visitors that looked the more confident as Dustin Wood gave them the advantage within the first 5 minutes. Despite matching the Blaze for shots the Stars couldn’t break through and a second period goal from Park doubled the Blaze advantage. The game was put beyond the hosts in the third period through Great Britain forward Robert Farmer. The win puts the Coventry Blaze back on track but the wins need to keep coming after an up and down start to the season. The loss for the Dundee Stars though puts them six points behind the Stingrays in the race for the playoffs but they do have 3 games in hand.

Edinburgh Capitals 4 Fife Flyers 2
The final game on Saturday night was the Forth derby at the Kirkcaldy ice rink with Fife seeking their second victory and in form Capitals side. It was the Capitals that got off to the flying start though as they took two goals in seven minutes though Zembergs and Mackenzie. A third goal for the visitors from Menton sparked a comeback from the home team as Gunn made it a 2 goal game going into the third.But the three goal lead was restored soon after the interval as Menton got his second of the game. Gunn’s second did reduce the deficit back to 2 for the Fife Flyers but was not enough. Edinburgh keep in control of a playoff spot by winning their third game in four whilst Fife’s spirited performances cannot seek out a second victory.

Premier League
Manchester Phoenix’s injury woes continued as they travelled south to Basingstoke with the news that player coach Tony Hand would need further X-rays on his injured foot. However the return of defenseman Jarek Spelda was a welcomed boost and the Phoenix came home with 2 points after a dominating second and third period saw them win 5-1. 

Slough failed last weekend to get a point and lost top spot but returned to winning ways with a solid performance against Bracknell; running out 7-2 winners at the Hanger. With those 2 points the Jets move level at the top with Guildford.

Milton Keynes rise up the table continued with a hard fought victory over the high flying Steeldogs at Planet Ice. Whilst Swindon keep in touch with the pack by winning at home against a Peterborough team that only one point of the foot of the table.

Manchester Phoenix 5 Basingstoke Bison 1
Sheffield Steeldogs 2 Milton Keynes Lightning 3
Bracknell Bees 2 Slough Jets 7
Peterborough Panthers 2 Swindon Wildcats 5

Neil Tucker

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