Rink round-up

Monday, 24th October 2005
Nottingham Panthers have signed forward Shaun Sutter, a former team-mate of Dan Tessier and a member of the famous Sutter hockey family.  Panthers Coach Mike Blaisdell is very happy with the signing, saying "He will add something to our firepower.   Results so far have been okay and we enjoyed a very satisfying win at the weekend but you have always got to be on the look-out for new blood and if you think you can improve things then you have to grab those opportunities with both hands."
The signing of Sutter doesn't come without cost to the team, however.  To make space for the new arrival, Nottingham decided to let go of forward Dan Welch, who was immediately snatched up by Coventry Blaze.  The decision to let go of Welch was a tough one, according to Coach Blaisdell.  "We are losing a good player in Dan Welch and we wish him all the best," he says.  "The combination of work permits and wage cap dictated that we had to lose one of our best players to take Shaun Sutter on board."
Nottingham's loss is Coventry's gain, according to Blaze Coach Paul Thompson.  “For some time I have felt that our side has been unbalanced and I’ve been looking for a player who can link with Cheverie and Hutchins on the first line They have been scoring goals but the line has looked awkward at times and I need a quality player who is comfortable on the right wing.  I couldn’t believe it when Nottingham released Dan. I thought he looked very good when he came to the Skydome last month and had it not been for Martin Klempa he could have scored two or three goals."
“Former Nottingham players have a good tradition of rejuvenating their careers in Coventry and we look forward to welcoming Dan to the side, he added.
Panthers defenceman Dion Darling will be out for six to eight weeks having picked up an injury during Saturday night's clash with London Racers at the National Ice Centre, a match which Nottingham won 3-1.  Former Manchester Phoenix defenceman Jeff Sebastian opened the scoring for the Panthers on the powerplay in the first period, and the lead was extended through former Storm forward Joe Cardarelli.  London player-coach Dennis Maxwell put the Racers on the scoreboard in the second to bring the game back to 2-1, and renewed pressure kept the scores level until towards the end of the third period, when the Racers pulled netminder Ladislav Kudrna and Nottingham capitalised on the empty net to restore the two goal lead.  With the game out of reach of the Racers, events degenerated.  Shaun Sutter and Trevor Baker received their skating orders for fighting, then Dennis Maxwell was ejected with a game misconduct and Jeremy Cornish picked up a match misconduct for their part in an altercation which reportedly left Dion Darling requiring surgery on a shoulder injury.
A Nottingham club spokesman is quoted on the Panthers website as saying "Our management team are feeling physically sick over what happened to Dion. They can't say too much because of the disciplinary enquiry but our thoughts are with Dion for a speedy recovery. He is in hospital and will undergo a quick-fire operation tonight. He is sure to be out for six to eight weeks."   Coach Mike Blaisdell has confirmed that the club are looking to recuit a player to stand in for Darling until he is fit to return to action.
London's fortunes were reversed on Sunday when they played host to Edinburgh Capitals, despite having to play without the suspended Dennis Maxwell and Jeremy Cornish.  Edinburgh opened the scoring through Jaroslav Prosvic, with an assist from ex-Racer Jim Vickers, and netminder Martin Kucera stepped up in the Caps net to keep the Racers at bay for the rest of the first period, with the scoreline at 0-1 going into the first interval.  Matt Foord put the biscuit in the basket in the second period to put London on the scoreboard, and then a powerplay marker from Jason Norrie gave the home team the lead going into the second interval.  Norrie netted for his second goal in the forty fourth minute, and this opened the floodgates for Troy Smith, Paul Berrington and Nathan Rempel to put the game at 6-1.  A Neil McCann marker late in the third gave some consolation to the Caps, who travelled back to Scotland on the wrong end of a 6-2 scoreline.
The Caps had fared better the previous night with their visit to Basingstoke to take on the Bison, despite being without the services of Martin Cingel who is sidelined for a month with a knee injury.  Edinburgh player-coach Tony Hand opened the scoring for the visitors, and the Bison were kept at bay for the rest of the first period, the interval arriving with a 1-0 scoreline.  John Wheaton brought the home team back into it at the halfway point, but Travis Lisabeth and Neil Stevenson-Moore netted to give the Caps a 3-1 lead going into the second interval.  Shaun Thompson brought the scoreline back to within one only for Jim Vickers to restore the two-goal cushion.  Shawn Maltby found the net for the Bison with five minutes remaining, and in the closing minute the netminder was pulled to give the Bison the attacking advantage.  But Dino Bauba pounced on the empty net to take the points for the Capitals, recording their first win of the season, the scoreline finishing 3-5.
Coventry Blaze's Jeff Hutchins was nursing an injury following a first period incident with Mel Angelstad during Saturday night's game in Newcastle, according to the Panthers website.  Angelstad received a two minute roughing penalty and a match penalty for slashing at nine minutes thirty seconds, and this set the pace for a bad-tempered game which saw Coventry Coach Paul Thompson ejected in the second period, picking up a twenty minute penalty for throwing a water bottle onto the ice and a twenty five minute game penalty for abuse of an official following an altercation between Coventry's Graham Belak and Newcastle's Paul Ferone.  Andreas Moborg had opened the scoring for the Blaze in the first period, only for Pavel Gomenyuk to tie the game before the first interval.  Three Newcastle goals in the second period from David Longstaff (penalty shot), Paul Ferone and Jan Krajicek put the scoreline at 4-1, and in the third period David Longstaff and Jonathan Weaver had made it 6-1 before Barrie Moore posted a short-hander to finish the game at 6-2.
Coventry fared a little better on Sunday at home to Sheffield Steelers, but still came away with no points from the weekend.  Andrew Luciuk opened the scoring for Sheffield at six minutes only for Neal Martin to bring the Blaze right back in it thirty five seconds later.  Evan Cheverie put the home team ahead in the fourteenth minute only for Andrew Luciuk to post his second of the game less than a minute later.  Jeff Hutchins and Martin Masa traded goals early in the second to put the game at three goals piece, until Masa found the net for a second time at the end of the period.  A scoreless third period saw the clock run out on Coventry, with the visiting Steelers taking the game 3-4.
Belfast Giants had a mixed weekend, starting off at home on Saturday to Welsh outfit Cardiff Devils.  Ed Patterson opened the scoring for Cardiff after ten minutes and a short-handed marker from Jonathan Phillips just before the first interval gave the visitors a two goal lead.  Theo Fleury put the cookie jar on the top shelf early in the second to bring Belfast back into the game, and an equaliser from Curtis Huppe saw an increase in pressure on the Cardiff net.  A scoreless third period gave way to overtime, and it was in the final second that Vezio Sacratini put away a powerplay marker to take the game 2-3 (OT).
Sunday saw Belfast take a trip to Tyneside to take on the Vipers, fresh from their 6-2 win over Coventry, but it was the Giants' night as they went home on the happy end of a 2-8 scoreline.  Steve O'Brien opened the scoring for Belfast with a powerplay marker after five minutes, and Shawn Skeihar extended the lead with a powerplay marker of his own after nine minutes.  Rob Wilson pulled one back for the Vipers only for ex-Phoenix captain George Awada to give the Giants a 1-3 lead going into the first interval.  Curtis Huppe posted two goals in the second to put the scoreline at 1-5, and Jason Ruff and Rob Stewart netted in the third to make it 1-7.  Matt Beveridge netted a consolation goal halfway through the third, just before Andre Payette was ejected for fighting.  Graeme Walton added insult to injury with a goal in the fifty eighth minute to seal the win at 2-8.  Vipers Assistant Coach Glenn Mulvenna was philosophical about the loss, saying "We are a pretty banged up hockey team tonight, with two hard games back to back.  We are down three imports, and that showed tonight.  If you added three imports to our current line-up we'd have matched Belfast, I've no doubt.  Credit to the Giants, they are a skillful club, and once they got two goals up we were chasing the game. We'll rest a few guys for some time this week, and then concentrate on getting back to business at the weekend."
Cardiff Devils rounded off their weekend with a win over Basingstoke Bison in the Challenge Cup, putting the Devils at the top of Group A.  Veteran Devil Vezio Sacratini opened the scoring after six minutes, and Mike Garrow made it two nil before the first interval.  Brad Voth and Gerad Adams made it four nil in the second, with Basingstoke not getting on the scoreboard until the third period after a netminder change for Cardiff, with Ryan O'Keefe and Greg Chambers scoring.  Dave Matsos rounded off the match with a Devils goal two minutes from time, the match ending 5-2 to the Devils.
by Richard Allan