Rink round up

Monday, 20th December 2004

Cardiff Devils have further entrenched themselves at the top of the Elite League with a convincing 4-1 victory over BNL team Guildford Flames on Sunday, despite Guildford notching up the first marker through Dusan Pohorelec inside of nine minutes. In the second game of a home-and-awayer, the Devils powerplay proved too strong for the Flames, with Dave Matsos and Russ Romaniuk finding the net with the man advantage before a third period brace from Nathan Rempel and Jonathan Phillips sealed the victory for the home side.

London Racers continue to put the memory of last season behind them with a last-gasp draw at the Skydome in Coventry. Russ Cowley's effort in the first had set Coventry ahead, but that was neutralised by Matt Foord's second period powerplay marker. Blaze's Adam Calder restored the lead for the home team only for Steve Moria to net on a two-man advantage 16 seconds from the final whistle, leaving the scoreline to remain unchanged through overtime, staying at 2-2.

Ever a popular fixture, Sheffield Steelers played host to Nottingham Panthers on Sunday in a five-goal thriller that needed an overtime session to settle. A brisk start saw Erik Anderson and Steve McKenna trade goals for Sheffield and Nottingham respectively, followed by an empty second period. The third saw Mark Dutiame score a marker early on, and Sheffield began to cruise towards the win, not banking on the Panthers spoiling the party with a late marker from Marek Ivan. The party was back on at the tail end of overtime when Jeff Christian netted to give the Steelers a 3-2 win at 64.41.

Saturday night's fixtures saw Guildford hosting the Devils on the first night of the home-and-awayer, with a 3-4 win for Cardiff sealed by the end of the second period thanks to goals from Jason Stone, Rob Davison and a pair from Vezio Sacratini. Playing in the second night of their home-and-awayer, the Basingstoke Bison were no match for the ever-improving London Racers, who came out on top with a 3-0 scoreline on the road. An ealy goal from ex-Manchester Phoenix forward Jason Hewitt saw the Racers on their path to victory, and markers from Jim Vickers and Dennis Maxwell sealed the deal, earning Sylvain Daigle a shut-out in the process.

Saturday also saw the first leg of the Challenge Cup Semi tie between Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers, which from all accounts was a closely fought contest. Nottingham saw Jan Magdosko take an early shower after being ejected in the first period, and Andre Payette later went the same way with a match penalty for fighting. By this time the Blaze were two goals to the good, both from former Panther Ashley Tait. A late effort from Mark Cadotte got the Panthers off the mark, but the Blaze walked away with the 2-1 win.

Friday night's action saw Belfast Giants host Hull Stingrays in interleague competition, with the Giants taking the upper hand following two goal-less periods. British hockey veteran Tony Hand found the net for the Giants, with a follow-up from Fredrik Nasvall to seal the win. Elsewhere the London Racers were held to a 1-1 draw against Basingstoke Bison in the first game of their home-and-awayer.

Rank Team Name Played Won Drawn OT Lost G GA Points Goal Difference
1 Cardiff Devils 28 19 2 1 6 89 62 41 +27
2 Coventry Blaze 27 16 3 3 5 93 59 38 +34
3 Sheffield Steelers 30 16 3 2 9 72 61 37 +11
4 Belfast Giants 26 15 4 1 6 77 47 35 +30
5 Nottingham Panthers 24 14 2 3 5 83 53 33 +30
6 London Racers 29 10 6 1 12 56 70 27 -14
7 Basingstoke Bison 28 5 5 1 17 65 103 16 -38

By Richard Allan.