Rink round-up

Monday, 31st October 2005
Newcastle's Mel Angelstad has been handed an eight match ban by the EIHL Disciplinary Committee following an incident with Jeff Hutchins in which the Coventry player suffered a head injury.  The Vipers and Angelstad have gone on record saying that they accept the decision and have no plans to appeal against it, with Angelstad making a personal statement issuing an unreserved apology for the incident: "I deeply regret my actions last Saturday evening, actions which resulted in an opposing player sustaining a head injury from my stick.  While I accept that my career has been built around playing tough hockey, this is not something I would normally do, and it's not something I am proud of.  I reacted badly to a situation."
Angelstad's statement goes on to say how he feels he has let everyone down, and that he wishes to voice his contrition to the injured player.  "I would like to apologise to Coventry's Jeff Hutchins.  I am pleased he has made a recovery and is playing hockey with the Blaze again.  Prior to this incident I was enjoying my hockey with Mobilx Newcastle Vipers, and I look forward to returning to action and helping the team on the ice."
The injured player, Jeff Hutchins, was back on the ice for the Coventry Blaze this past week, and he got on the scoreboard in last Wednesday's 4-2 home win over London Racers.  Scott Wray opened the scoring in the first period for the visitors, finding the net in the nineteenth minute to put the Racers ahead going into the first interval.  The second period was scoreless, with neither side finding a way past the opposition defence.  Jeff Hutchins was credited with the equaliser, finding the net just after the start of the third period.  This opened the floodgates, with Neal Martin putting the biscuit in the basket just over twenty seconds later to give a 2-1 lead.  Seven minutes later Evan Cheverie extended the lead to 3-1, and with four minutes to go Marc Lefebvre found the net to put the scoreline at 4-1.  A consolation marker from Trevor Baker brought the scores to a more respectable 4-2 but it wasn't enough to stop Coventry from taking the points.
Also on Wednesday night, Nottingham Panthers played host to Belfast Giants in a game which saw the Giants run up 84 minutes of penalties.  A scoreless first period gave way to a tense second period, with Dan Tessier opening the scoring for the Panthers just before the halfway point.  Ex-Phoenixer George Awada netted an equaliser a minute later, and this was followed by a marker from Curtis Huppe to give the Giants the lead.  Tessier notched up his second of the evening to bring the game back to level pegging going into the second interval.  Joe Cardarelli gave the Panthers the edge early in the third period, and this was added to by Curtis Bowen and David Clarke, the latter coming with Curtis Huppe serving a ten minute penalty for misconduct and Ed Courtenay taking an early shower after being ejected from the game.  A late marker from Shaun Skiehar brought Belfast back to 5-3 but it was Nottingham who came out victorious.
Friday night's action took place in Sheffield, with the Steelers hosting Belfast.  Todd Kelman opened the scoring for the Giants early in the first period, and Mark Dutiame opened the Steelers' account two minutes later.  Giants retook the lead through Jason Ruff, and held out to go into the first interval on the smiling end of a 1-2 scoreline.  Second period markers from Leigh Jamieson and Todd Kelman put the Giants at 1-4 up towards the end of the second period before Ron Shudra found a way past the posts to make it 2-4.  Theo Fleury reinstated the three goal lead just before the second interval, and a final period goal from Ed Courtenay saw the Giants take the points, the game ending 2-6.
Newcastle Vipers were without Paul Ferone, Simon Leach and the suspended Mel Angelstad for their road trip to Basingstoke on Saturday night, but this didn't seen to adversely affect their chances, with the Tyneside team coming out 0-4 victors and netminder Trevor Koenig recording a 34 shot shut-out.  David Longstaff started the rout after only 31 seconds, converting an attacking effort from Shaun Johnson and Andre Payette to put the puck past Jayme Platt.  Mark Jackson was sitting out a kneeing penalty when the Vipers netted their second, a powerplay marker from ex-Manchester Storm forward Jonathan Weaver.  Matt Beveridge made it three nil halfway through the second period, and Andre Payette put the icing on the cake in the third period.  With Jayme Platt being pulled and replaced with Dean Skinns, the Vipers sat back and defended their lead, registering only two shots on Skinns in the Bison net and comfortably taking the points.
Edinburgh Capitals hosted Nottingham Panthers in a surprisingly tight game on Saturday, with the league's current whipping boys opening the scoring through Jeff Marshall inside of seven minutes, only for Joe Cardarelli to equalise.  The game remained deadlocked until the thirty ninth minute, when Curtis Bowen found the net to give the visitors a one goal lead, and a scoreless third period saw the Panthers claim a 1-2 win over the Caps.
Shawn Skiehar found the net in the first period to give the Giants the lead in their home game against London Racers on Saturday night in a game which saw most of the attacking play come from Belfast.  Mike Minard in the Giants net faced only 22 shots, and deflected them all to claim a clean sheet, with Ed Courtenay adding a third period goal to Skiehar's to give the Giants a 2-0 win over the Racers.
Jonathan Phillips netted an impressive hat-trick in the space of ninety seconds during the first period of Saturday's clash between Cardiff Devils and Coventry Blaze, with the youngster's efforts making the difference between a loss and a win for the Welsh team.  Barrie Moore responded with a goal for the Blaze to make it 3-1 at the first interval, and Ashley Tait brought the game within one in the second period, but Gerad Adams put the game out of reach with a goal in the third period, the match ending 4-2 to the Devils.  Cardiff Coach Ed Patterson was very pleased with the performance, saying "That was excellent, Jonathan needed a spark to get himself going, it was no secret that he was in a bit of a lull, he was doing the little things right but just not getting any production so tonight was hugs, we knew it was just a matter of time before it started getting rolling for him so I'm happy to see him get going."
Cardiff's joy was short-lived, however, with the London Racers shutting them out on Sunday evening.  Ladislav Kudrna recorded a 26 shot shut-out in a game which saw Dennis Maxwell and Nathan Rempel give the Racers a two goal lead before the first interval.  A tight second period saw no goals but plenty of effort both ways, but in the third period Jason Robinson and Scott Wray netted to give the Racers a 4-0 victory over the visitors.
Nottingham Panthers recorded a surprising 1-5 loss to the visiting Basingstoke Bison on Sunday evening in a fiery encounter.  Brandin Cote scored the Panthers' only goal in the first period on the powerplay, taking a 1-0 lead into the first interval.  Shawn Maltby drew the Bison level at the opening of the second period and Edijs Brahmanis put the puck in the net thirty seconds later to give the Bison the lead.  John Wheaton extended the lead just before the half-hour marker, taking a 1-3 scoreline into the second interval.  Maltby notched up a short-hander and an empty netter in the third to give him a hat-trick, and the end of the game saw a ruckus which resulted in game penalties being handed out to David Clarke for Nottingham and Ryan O'Keefe and Brad Cruickshank for Basingstoke.  Panthers Coach Mike Blaisdell feels that the fixture list was working against them.  "Everyone was battling hard to get through it," he said, "but few teams are going to win their third game in five nights in the same circumstances."
Edinburgh Capitals appear to be finding form this weekend, with their close match on Saturday being followed up with a game that went to overtime on Sunday.  A visit to the Skydome saw the Capitals taking on Coventry Blaze,  with Neil Stevenson-Moore finding the net twice in the first period to give the Caps a 0-2 lead.  Barrie Moore and Joel Poirier brought the Blaze back level in the second period,  and with no scoring in the third the game went to overtime, the deadlock being broken by Russell Cowley in the second minute.  Final score Coventry 3 Edinburgh 2 after Overtime.
Sheffield Steelers were at home to Newcastle Vipers on Sunday evening in a tight match that ended in a one-one draw.  A scoreless first period gave way to a Vipers lead in the second, Andre Payette scoring  with three minutes remaining in the second period.  Mike Peron netted the equaliser halfway through the third, and a scoreless overtime period saw the game end honours even, 1-1.  Vipers Coach Rob Wilson was full of praise for his players' performances, saying "The players were fantastic this weekend.  Right from Trevor Koenig at the back to the forwards like David Longstaff and Andre Payette.  We worked our tails off in both games, kept to our systems and got the results we deserved."
by Richard Allan