February 5, 2012

Cardiff Devils @ the Center of UK Hockey News ( UK Round Up 3rd – 5th February)

The big news of the ice in the UK was literally big as the Cardiff Devil’s forward and character and tough guy Brad Voth hung up his skates for the last time. The 6ft5 forward from Calgary has been out with a nerve injury since late December and has decided that in order to protect his future health he could not continue his playing career.

It is a big blow for the Cardiff Devils who now cannot sign another import player due to the end of the IIHF transfer window and a big blow for the sport. Voth had a proven record for the physical play and had provided plenty of talking points both good and bad during his time in the Welsh Capital.

There was more positive news however as the Edinburgh Capitals captured the signing of their free scoring forward Rene Jarolin for next season.

Elite League
Friday 3rd January

Hull and Coventry started the weekends on ice action at the Hull Arena. It turned out to be a very bad start for the Hull Stingrays as the Blaze turned on the style. Goals from Owen, Fussey and new signing Nylander ended the game as a contest by the end of the first period.

Fussey completed his hat trick and Nylander and Kralj added a brace to complete the rout before the game was over. Cloutier and MacKinney did add 2 consolation goals but it was poor night at the office for the Stingrays.

Saturday 4th January

The weekend then got worse for the Stingrays as they faced the Steelers in the Yorkshire derby at the Motorpoint. Despite putting up some good shot numbers the Stingrays could not make a break through. The Steelers however without the suspended spare import Neil Clark did take their chances and goals from Stephenson, Legue and Fulgham ensured the 2 points stayed in Sheffield.

Coventry on the other hand showed no signs of fatigue from their game the night before as they continued their free scoring in Fife. However the Blaze had to come from behind as Hartmanis put the Flyers ahead. It was goals from Cowley and Weaver who put the Blaze back in front before Owen Fussey added another 2 to his tally for the weekend to seal the win.

The Flyers though remain above the Stars at the foot of the table as the Stars lost in the NIC. The Panthers found their game legs early and the back of the net, as they did not look back. A David Clarke hat trick was the highlight of the game.

The nights other game was at the Odyssey as the Giants and the Devils faced off in the league and Challenge Cup second leg. The Devils had enjoyed a one-goal lead in the cup tie and that was doubled inside the first minute as MacRae put the Devils one up. However that was as good as it got for the Welsh side. The Giants were ahead on the night and level on aggregate by the end of the first period thanks to former Devils forward Jon Pelle and Craig Peacok. Dowd and Aaron Clarke added to that lead as the Giants progress to face the Panthers in the final and take 2 more league points.

Sunday 5th February

The weather caused some chaos to start times in the EIHL and to the Belfast Giants in particular. The Giants arrived late for their top of table clash with the champions and their bus legs showed as the Steelers took a first period lead.

Former Steeler Robert Dowd then levelled the scores in the second before King put the Steelers ahead again. The Giants then got into their stride as Mason levelled the scores going into the third before Pelle and new signing Hoffman sealed an important victory for the Giants.

At the bottom of table the Stars leap frogged the Flyers as the two sides faced off in Dundee. 2 goals in the first minute but the Stars up but a brace from former Stars player coach Dan Ceman kept the Flyers in the tie. However it was a brace from Ceman’s successor in Dundee Brent Hughes and goals from Kolanos and McIntosh that sealed a key 2 points for the Stars.

Cardiff and Braehead met in the nights final game and the Devils difficult trip home from Belfast seemed to have hurt them as the Clan took a first period 3 goal lead. A second period goal from Pierce gave the Devils hope however and 3 third period goals from the Devils seemed to sealed the victory but Jade Galbraith completed his hat trick with 30 seconds left to take the game to overtime.
There were no goals in the extra period but the Clan salvaged the win on penalties.

English Premier League
Saturday 4th February

It was a big weekend of action in the EPL as the top-sides face off against each other. On Saturday night the joint second placed Manchester Phoenix travelled to Milton Keynes and got one up on the Lightning to leave the hosts adrift of the rest of the title chasers in fifth place. Slough had the opportunity to close the gap at the top but the Flames stole the game in overtime to move another point ahead of the Jets.
Fellow title contenders Sheffield had easer game against the Phantoms as they ran out 3 – 0 winners to move level on points with the Jets. Whilst Bracknell moved 2 points further ahead of the Phantoms in the playoff race with 1 – 0 victory over Telford.

Sunday 5th February
On Sunday the title race probably ended for the Lightning as they lost to the Flames at the Spectrum. Manchester kept up their challenge though as they beat the Wildcats in an icey Altrincham. The Jets also kept their title hopes alive with a 3 goal win over Basingstoke. Whilst Peterborough took the 2 points in a 15 goal thriller at Telford to move within 4 points of the playoffs.

Friday 4th February
Elite League
Coventry Blaze 8 Hull Stingrays 2

Saturday 5th February
Elite League
Dundee Stars 2 Nottingham Panthers 6
Hull Stingrays 0 Sheffield Steelers 3
Coventry Blaze 5 Fife Flyers 1

Elite League/ Challenge Cup
Cardiff Devils (3) 1 Belfast Giants 4 (5)

Manchester Phoenix 3 Milton Keynes Lightning 1
Guildford Flames 5 Slough Jets 4 (AOT)
Swindon Wildcats 4 Basingstoke 5
Telford Tigers 0 Bracknell Bees 1
Peterborough Phantoms 0 Sheffield Steeldogs 3

Sunday 5th February
Elite League
Breahead Clan 5 Cardiff Devils 4 (APS)
Belfast Giants 4 Sheffield Steelers 2
Fife Flyers 2 Dundee Stars 6

Swindon Wildcats 3 Manchester Phoenix 6
Milton Keynes Lightning 2 Guildford Flames 4
Basingstoke Bison 0 Slough Jets 3
Peterborough Phantoms 6 Telford Tigers 8

Neil Tucker

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