Rink round-up

Thursday, 22nd September 2005
The Challenge Cup groups are starting to take shape after the second weekend of cup competition, with the Sheffield Steelers sitting on the bottom of Group B despite having played more games than any other team, notching up two points from four games.  The two points came from a 4-2 win on Saturday night at home against Newcastle Vipers, with veteran Steeler Ron Shudra opening the scoring early in the first period.  A late first period power play marker from Mark Dutiame gave a 2-0 lead, and Warren Tait made it 3-0 before the Vipers hit back through Eric Beaudoin.  Midway through the third the Vipers clawed back to 3-2 with a marker from Matus Petricko, but Mark Dutaime sealed the deal for the Steelers with an empty netter.
Sheffield were on the road the following night with a visit to the Edinburgh Capitals, with the league newcomers recording a 2-0 win over the Steelers.  The goals came from Neil Stevenson-Moore and Patric Lochi.
Going into this weekend's fixtures against Newcastle in the Challenge Cup on Saturday and Cardiff Devils in the Elite League on Sunday, Sheffield have acquired the services of defenceman Regan Kelly, signing him from the St John Maple Leafs in the AHL.  Whether Kelly will arrive in time for the fixtures is unknown at present.
Newcastle followed their away loss with a home fixture on Sunday against the Nottingham Panthers, and a scoreless first period saw the visitors limited to only four shots on goal thanks to the Newcastle defence.  It was the Vipers who opened the scoring in the second period, David Longstaff deflecting a Jonathan Weaver shot past Curtis Cruickshank.  At the halfway point of the game Matus Petricko put in a pass to the unmarked Matt Beveridge, who duly put the biscuit in the basket for a 2-0 lead.  Andre Payette rounded up the scoring for the Vipers, and a late marker from Matt Myers saved a little face for the Panthers, the game ending 3-1.  Panthers Coach Mike Blaisdell was philosophical about the defeat, saying "The second period was a poor one for us, a bad first period saw the scoreboard still nil-nil but three goals without reply in the second sealed the win for Newcastle and some of our guys looked tired out there straight off the bat.  We'll rest on Monday and I'll take it from there."
Nottingham had gone to Newcastle on the back of an Elite League home win against Cardiff Devils on the Saturday night, with the Devils being shut out by the Panthers, who found the net through Calle Carlsson and Blaz Emersic to take the game 2-0. 
Cardiff fared better in their League match against Belfast Giants the following night, with the two coaches notching goals - Ed Patterson finding the net for the Devils, and Ed Courtenay scoring for the Giants.  But the decider had come from Kirk DeWaele, the Devils taking the match 2-1 after taking a 2-0 lead before Courtenay's marker.  Devils Coach Patterson was delighted with the win which came under difficult circumstances.  "Win or lose it was a great game because we have a lot of injuries.  Jeff Burgoyne has an infection, Mark Richardson went down with an injury and Gerad Adams played through the whole weekend with an injury and he probably should be out for two or three weeks but that's why the game meant so much to the guys," said Coach Patterson.
The loss against the Devils was the second League defeat in as many days for the Belfast Giants, who had found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline in London against the Racers on Saturday.  A scoreless first period was the result of some netminding heroics from Mike Minard in the Giants goal and Ladislav Kudrna in the Racers goal, but the deadlock was broken when Mike Reid gave the visitors the lead soon after a Scott Wray goal was washed out for the Racers.  Wray responded by putting the puck in the net again and this time it was counted, levelling the scores at one apiece.  Nathan Rempel was next to post a goal for the Racers, and Matt Foord added a marker to put the scoreline at 3-1.  Mark Levers brought one back for the Giants in the third period, taking the scoreline to 3-2 with five minutes to go, but when Mike Minard was pulled to give Belfast the extra attacker, the Racers' Player-Coach Dennis Maxwell capitalised on the empty net, settling the scoreline at 4-2 with thirty seconds to go.
Basingstoke Bison had mixed fortunes over the weekend, recording a win in the League competition but conceding a whumping in the Challenge Cup.  Saturday's League match saw the Bison play host to Edinburgh Capitals, and a narrow 5-4 win for the Bison.  The following night's journey to Coventry gave much less cause for celebration, with Paul Thompson's Coventry Blaze coming out on the smiling side of an 8-3 scoreline.  Evan Cheverie opened the scoring for the Blaze early in the first period, a period which saw the Bison change netminder twice, once after a Neal Martin goal and again after ex-Manchester Storm forward Barrie Moore opened his Blaze scoring account.  The period ended with a second marker from Evan Cheverie, the scoreline sitting at 4-0.  Ex-Stormer Shawn Maltby finally got Basingstoke on the scoreboard early in the second, and followed the goal up with a fight with Coventry's David Kaczowka following a late hit.  As soon as the fight was broken up, Kaczowka found himself involved in a second fight, this time with Brad Cruickshank who reportedly left the Bison sin bin to take on the Blaze enforcer.  Both Cruickshank and Kaczowka were ejected from the game.  Jeff Hutchins put another marker on the board for the Blaze, but this was answered by Doug Sheppard.  The second period also saw the third fight of the night, with Hutchins taking on Maltby following an altercation between Maltby and Neal Martin.  Barrie Moore opened the scoring in the third period, pushing the scoreline to 6-2, and Russ Cowley made it 7-2 moments later.  Edijis Brahmanis netted for the Bison to push their score up to three, but a late marker from Mark LeFebvre ended the scoring at 8-3.
This coming weekend Basingstoke will be hosting London on Saturday before travelling to Belfast on Sunday.  Newcastle will host Sheffield, Nottingham will host Edinburgh and Cardiff will host Coventry, all on Saturday.  Sunday's fixtures see Sheffield hosting Cardiff, Coventry hosting Nottingham, and London hosting Newcastle.
by Richard Allan