December 21, 2011

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree: Movers and Shakers in the EIHL and EPL as Teams Strength Going into the Festive Break

UK Round Up Tuesday 20th December

It was a busy night Tuesday in the UK as there was news of some movers off the ice. In the EPL the Basingstoke Bison made a change to its goalie situation by releasing starting netminder Dean Skinns and signing former Peterborough Phantoms number one Stephen Wall. The move comes with the Bison currently sixth in the EPL table and suffering from a lack of consistency in their performances.

The other big news was that the Nottingham Panthers have lost the services of forward Scott Champagne. Champagne had scored 37 points so far this season in 29 games for the Panthers but has signed for a team in Germany after asking for his release. The Panthers however have signed a replacement in Finnish forward Sami Ryhanen. It is hoped Ryhanen, who began the season with Danish side Aalborg, will be in the side in time for Friday’s trip to Dundee and will be available for the sell out Boxing Day game at Sheffield.

It also understood that the Nottingham side are in talks with former favourite Sean McAslan who coach Corey Neilson is hoping to bring in as an extra import forward for the run in to the end of the season. This move follows similar moves by fellow title chasers Sheffield and Belfast.

Fife too were busy by adding Canadian defenseman Tim Maxwell. The 27 year old have who had been playing Norway after a spell in the ECHL will be in their line up for trip to Cardiff on Boxing Day.

Braehead Clan 1 Nottingham Panthers 3

There was also one game on Tuesday as the Clan headed to the NIC to face the home town Panthers looking to get back on winning ways after a slow start on Saturday cost them against the Coventry Blaze.

It was the Panthers who got the early lead through Jeff Heerema in the first period but then game then turned in the second period. Former Panthers favourite and current EIHL leading scorer Jade Galbraith showed his former old club what they missing. However a solid performance from Panthers goalie Craig Kowalski denied the Canadian time again until Galbraith’s persistence paid of with the equaliser.

Chances game at both ends in the third period but David Clarke put the Panthers ahead before Matthew Myers missed a penalty shot to add the insurance marker. With time running out and the Clan on the powerplay, Suomalainen was pulled for the extra attacker only for Brandon Benedict to cap the Panthers win with an empty netter on with 6 seconds to play.

This was an important win for the Panthers after they only got a solitary point at the weekend. The win though puts the Panthers level on points in the table with Steelers but are now 5 behind the Belfast Giants. The Clan though will be disappointed not to come away with anything but will pleased with the spirited performance.

Neil Tucker

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