December 3, 2011

Uk Hockey Round Up Saturday 3rd December -Steelers Keep Up the Chase as The Blaze Ease their Pressure

With all the personnel changes in sides up and down the UK this week this weekend was going to be key in the race for the title in both the Elite League and the EPL.

Belfast Giants 5 Hull Stingrays 1
Belfast faced their first game without highest point scorer Benoit Doucet and started their game in Hull in an uncharacteristically sluggish way. The irishmen fell behind to a Sylvian Cloutier goal but got their rhythm back almost immediately as McBride levelled the scores two minutes later. The Giants then took the lead themselves on the midway make as Rebek scored on the powerplay and the win was confirmed in the third as Clarke extended the lead and Roberts added the fifth. Belfast got through tonight's game despite the upheaval to their forward line but will need to show more prowess in front of goal in next weekend's big game with fellow title chasers Sheffield.

Cardiff Devils 2 Sheffield Steelers 4
The Sheffield Steelers had the most changed side following the weeks transfer chaos. Gone was Flath and with Rod Sarich out injured the Steelers reintroduced Great Britain international Jonathan Phillips to the side for the first time this season. The Steelers also welcomed former Coventry forward Luke Fulgham into the side. The changes seemed to be paying off as the Steelers took a 3 goal lead by the midway point in the second but almost as soon as that happened Scott Matzka fired the Devils back into the game and when Kenton Smith pulled the visitors back to within one it was game well and truly on in the third period. Despite the pressure that saw the Devils hit the 50 shot marker it was Sheffield forward Jeff Legue who hit the only goal of the game to extend the Steelers lead back to two goals. With a win tonight the Steelers despite the changes to their lines and another defensemen due to be added to the squad in time for the trip to Belfast on Friday the Steelers are showing they are still in this title hunt.

Dundee Stars 2 Coventry Blaze 7
Coventry had found themselves a man down after releasing Luke Fulgham on Thursday also found themselves a goal down early on as Dolan put the Stars ahead. That was a about as good as it got for the visitors as a quartet of goals by the Blaze before the first break left well behind. The goals didn't stop there as the Blaze added two more in the second effectively seal the victory and settle the nerves of the home side. With game all but sealed the third period was rather even affair as Park added Coventry's seventh before Turner added a late consolation for the Stars. It was a big win for the Blaze tonight will help to ease the pressure on the team and Paul Thompson from some sections of the Blaze fans but if Coventry are to turn things around they will need to put in performances like tonights against the top sides. Dundee meanwhile will be buoyed by the 25 shots they managed but after missing 7 powerplay chances it is the offense that will need to shape up if they are to make a push for the play offs.

Edinburgh Capitals 0 Braehead Clan 2
24 hours after taking sixth spot off the Clan the Capitals lost it. Last night's winning performance deserted the Capitals as the Clan dominated. The home team took the lead through Campbell in the first and kept the pressure there after but didn't find a way through until the third period when Jorgensen doubled the advantage. The highlight again for the Capitals was the goaltending performance of Nathan Craze who for the second night in a row gave the Capitals a chance of winning but ultimately they were let down by the attacking lines. The Clan on the other hand will look to this performance to press on into the second half of season and the play offs.

English Premier League

In the EPL title chase Guildford and Slough continued to their head to head as both picked up vital wins against potential banana sink teams. Whilst Telford produced a stunning come back against the Basingstoke Bison to take the two points on offer after penalties at the Basingstoke Ice Arena. The win was enough to lift the Tigers of the bottom as the Phantoms lost the extra point in their game on penalties to the Milton Keynes Lightning.

The EPL's final game was in Bracknell as Manchester paid visit to the John Nike Leisure Centre. Manchester where still missing player coach Tony Hand and centre Stephen Wallace but did produce a performance akin to their title winning form of last season. The win putting some daylight between the top 5 and the rest of the field.

Manchester Phoenix 6 Bracknell Bees 2
Telford Tigers 6 Basingstoke Bison 5 (APS)
Guildford Flames 5 Swindon Wildcats 3
Sheffield Steeldogs 3 Slough Jets 5
Peterborough Phantoms 2 Milton Keynes Lightning 3 (APS)

Neil Tucker

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