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Planet Ice 2013 British Sledge Hockey League

Thursday, 30th May 2013

Over the past few weeks we have been promoting the sport of Sledge Hockey both by speaking to those involved and taking part ourselves. The sport is one that is looking to grow and with the pipeline of prospective new teams it may just well be able to do that. Take into account their imminent qualifiers for Sochi 2014 and things are looking good.

One of the vital components of any successful nation team is as strong domestic league and this weekend saw the opening fixtures of the Planet Ice British Sledge Hockey League at the Silver Blades ice rink in Altrincham. The league has three dates in which all of the fixtures will be played before the playoffs are held at Widnes Ice Rink.

Two points for a win, one for a draw and as always losers get nothing. The first game saw hosts Manchester Phoenix take on the defending Champions Kingston Kestrels from whom they signed GB star Karl Nicholson.

The game finished 1-0 thanks to a first half goal from the Kestrel’s Mark Briggs on 6:08, his wrist shot arrowing into the top corner above GB netminder Steven Midgehall’s right shoulder and that seemed to give the Kestrels more impetus with them ringing the puck off the pipes on three occasions in the first half alone.

In the second Manchester came out with more energy but were unable to create any clear cut chances with the Kestrels managing to get back and cover whenever the Phoenix did manufacture any breaks.

This was only the second competitive game Pete Hagan’s men have had so to hold the defending Champions to one goal was hugely encouraging.

Game Two pitted the Kestrels against Peterborough Phantoms and with two evenly matched teams the first half was end to end with neither managing to gain any established possession.

On 3:25 the Kestrels took the lead through Clarkson, a powerful shots from the blue line finding it’s mark.

There were penalties exchanged with both teams visiting the box once but neither was able to take advantage.

The second half was very much the same with both sides creating chances and Kingston again notched early with Warner scoring on 3:47, Assisted by Briggs to add to his GWG from their first game. One thing both teams will be looking to improve upon before Match Day Two is the powerplay. Neither side succeeded with each having one opportunity at a man advantage.

The game finished 2-0 and it was an impressive start to the campaign for Kingston. Particularly their netminder, Hackworth, whom stood tall for his .100 SV%.

The final game of the day saw the Kestrels finally get a rest as they sat back and watched the Phoenix face off against the Phantoms.

Both teams were looking for their first points and first goals so something had to give. It did so just forty two seconds into the game as Gary Farmer notched to seemingly jolt the Phoenix into life and they sustained a period of pressure which resulted in Captain Karl Nicholson hitting back on 5:01 with a well taken effort.

The back and forth continued though and Tyler Christopher put the Phantoms back in front fourteen seconds later and it went from bad to worse for Manchester soon after when they found themselves down to three men. The resulting PP for the Phantoms was fruitless but they did notch again shortly after its expiration when Gary Farmer claimed his second.

After half time the goals continued to come; Anthony Booth brought the arrears to one when he scored 4:43 into the half before Tyler Christopher scored again just seventeen seconds later. Farmer then clinched his hat trick on 11:54 before Christopher did the same one minute and two seconds after.

The Phantoms pinned Manchester into their own half for much of the last five minutes and they found time to add a seventh just thirteen thirteen seconds from the end when Farmer hit his fourth.

It was a harsh scoreline on the Manchester Phoenix but one they will learn from too. The Phantoms were just that bit more clinical when they created their opportunities.

The next round of fixtures will be held June 22nd again at the Phoenix’ home rink due to issues with Kingston’s venue and entry will be FREE. Hopefully the day will be as successful as this opener and with the venue being consistent with today’s there is a hope that some traction will be gained in the area with an even bigger crowd attending.

By Adam Eckersley - originally posted on http://www.thepuckburger.com/sledge-hockey-league-match-day-one/

thePuckBurger can be found on twitter @thePuckBurger

Steven Midghall in net

Steven Midghall in net
(Image: 98 Yetiiis Photography)

Phoenix Vs Kingston

Phoenix Vs Kingston
(Image: 98 Yetiiis Photography)

The Phoenix Sledge Team

The Phoenix Sledge Team
(Image: 98 Yetiiis Photography)


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