January 29, 2012

UK Round Up on EIHL and EPL Action (28th – 29th January)

It was a case of who would blink first in the title races and in the EIHL it was also a case of who would make one of the top three blink.

Elite League
Friday 27th January

Belfast avoided the first slip up of the weekend as they went into the Braehead Arena to face the Clan. It was a ding-dong battle as the Giants first took the lead but then fell behind to goals from Bannister and Wrill before Paul Deniset’s goal sent the game to overtime and penalties. It was GB international Robert Dowd who added the deciding penalty to keep the Giants on track. Belfast 3 Braehead 2 (APS)

Saturday 28th January

The top 3 were in action on Saturday night and each team knew that they could not be the one missing out on a point.

Belfast especially knew this as they endured a tormenting night in the Fife Ice Arena. Despite outshooting the Flyers 40 – 14 the game wasn’t decided until the third period when George Awada and Aarron Clarke scored followed by the empty night from Robert Dowd. Belfast 3 Fife 0

It was an easier night in the NIC for the Panthers as they took advantage of every chance they got to put up 6 against the Blaze. A brace from Frances and goal’s from Myers, Clarke, Fox and Beauregard assisting the Panthers to a win that looks more comfortable on the scoreboard than in reality. Griffin did get a late consolation for the Blaze. Coventry 1 Nottingham 6

Back up in Scotland the Steelers produced a solid team display to cruise to victory over the Capitals at Murrayfield. Ramsay, Hewitt, King and Jonathan Philips all got on the score sheet, as did a brace from Zembergs to make the score look respectable. Sheffield 4 Edinburgh 2

In Glasgow the Clan’s double-header continued as they hosted the Stars. It was a rapid first period as McPherson got the scoring underway in less then two minutes. The scores looked to be even at 2 a piece at the end of the first but Jorgensen’s goal in the last 60 seconds of the period ensured the home side had the lead and the momentum going into the second. It was that momentum that looked to have given the Clan a commanding lead when Bayrack completed his hat trick. However there was a grandstand finish as the Stars scored through Konkle and with the extra attacker to bring them to within 1 at the finish. Dundee 4 Braehead 5

The final game of the night was a goal fest in the Cardiff Bay Arena between the Devils and the Stingrays. After a slow first period that saw the Devils take 1 goal first period lead the floodgates opened. The second period saw the Devils hit Hull for 5 goals to 1 as they looked to have a commanding lead. However the Devils were left grateful for 2 more goals from Pierce and Adams as first Tendler got his second then Osman hit his hat trick. Hull 5 Cardiff 8.

Sunday 29th January

With the Belfast Giants not in action the Panthers and Steelers knew they had to take advantage. The Panthers faced the Blaze once again but this time in the Skydome Arena. However the outcome was exactly the same. The Panthers hit the Blaze for 6 goals through 6 different scorers after Owen Fussey had given the home team a lead. Nottingham 6 Coventry 1

Sheffield also didn’t falter in the their second game of the weekend in Edinburgh. The Steelers also posted 6 including a hat trick for Birnstill. The Capitals though did not make it easy for the 2011 Champions as the Jarolin, Hartmann and Holecko kept it a contest till the end. Sheffield 6 Edinburgh 3

Hull and Cardiff also faced each other for the second time this weekend. However it was a tighter cagey affair with both sides struggling to hit the net. There were two goals though in the second period as Kenton Smith gave the visitors the lead before Jason Silverthorn replied just over a minute later. The game ended a tie and it was left to Rodin to score the winning penalty and lift the Stingrays into 7th place ahead of the Capitals. Cardiff 1 Hull 2 (APS)

The big game of the night however as the bottom of the table as the bottom two played each other with winner moving clear of the other at bottom. Garrett Zemlak was again on inspired form for the Flyers as the Stars threw everything at him in a tight game. At the other end through Bakrlik, Stewart, Samuel and the returning Cohen proved to be difference as the Flyers move off the bottom of the table for the first time this season. Fife 4 Stars 1

So at the end of the weekend the top three are as they were. Belfast, Nottingham and Sheffield whilst it is all change at the bottom as it is now the Flyers who are chasing the Capitals for the last playoff spot.

English Premier League

Saturday 28th January

Like their Elite League counterparts the EPL title chasers were all watching each other and waiting to see who would blink first. Whilst the league leading Flames were running up a massive win against the Tigers it was a more challenging affair for the rest.

The Lightning were the first to crack as they came away from Basingstoke pointless whilst the Phoenix travelled to Bracknell but missed out on the 2 points thanks to a Smital overtime winner for the Bees. The Steeldogs however did pick up the two points but did need penalties to do so against the Wildcats whilst the Jets returned to action with a regulation victory over the Phantoms.

Sunday 29th January

The Phoenix and the Lightning were both not in action so it left a good opportunity for the other title chasers to make up some ground. However it did not all go their way.

The Jets faced a quickly improving Bison side that showed they could be the spoiler in the title race for the second night in a row. The Bison taking the win on penalties. The Flames had to battle back from 2 down in Telford to salvage a point as the Tigers took the win on penalties. It was to prove to be a vital point for the Flames though who do now have a 7 point game over the 5th place Lightning. The Steeldogs though did pick up another two points against the Swindon Wildcats to keep their hopes on track and move up to 4th in the table level on points with Manchester and Slough 6 behind the Flames.

At the bottom there was a big win for the Phantoms who beat the Bees on penalties to move just 4 points behind them in the hunt for the final playoff spot.

Neil Tucker

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