Rink round-up

Monday, 20th February 2006
Wednesday night's Elite League action saw Cardiff Devils at home to Sheffield Steelers for the third time in February, and Devils netminder Peter Aubrey continued his run of form with a 31 save tally from 32 shots.  It was ex-Steeler Gerad Adams who opened the scoring, capitalising on an excellent pass from Jonathan Phillips to score in the fourth minute of the first period.  Jeff Burgoyne posted Cardiff's second in the seventh minute, but Sheffield refused to lie down, piling on the pressure until an effort from Martin Masa found its way into the net to break the duck and get Sheffield on the scoreboard just before the end of the first period.  Cardiff rallied round in the second period, with Nathan Rempel poking the puck home just after the halfway point in the game with what transpired to be the last goal of the game, the final score 3-1 to the Devils.
Also on Wednesday, Nottingham Panthers were at home to Edinburgh Capitals, and it was the Panthers who got off to a strong start with a powerplay goal in the fourth minute.  James Cooke extended the lead for the home team in the second period with a pair of goals to give Nottingham a 3-0 advantage going into the third period.  Shaun Sutter added Nottingham's fourth early in the third period before the Panthers sat back on their lead, falling only to Jim Vickers on the powerplay and a Dino Bauba marker three minutes from time, the game ending 4-2 to the Panthers.
Thursday night's action saw Edinburgh on the road again, this time visiting Coventry to take on the Blaze at the Skydome.  Coventry wasted little time in putting Edinburgh down, with three goals in the first three minutes, Andreas Moborg opening the scoring within the first minute.  Tom Watkins and Ashley Tait found the net fifteen seconds apart, and Coventry held on to the 3-0 lead right through the first period.  Edinburgh came out strong in the second period, with Frederik Oduya finding the net to get the Caps off the mark, only for Adam Calder and Dan Welch to add to Coventry's tally to make it 5-1 by the second interval.  The Blaze scoring didn't stop there, with Jeff Hutchins making it 6-1 in the 47th minute, and Lee Richardson getting his name on the scoresheet to make it 7-1 with ten minutes remaining in the game. Russell Cowley rounded off the Coventry scoring before Mike Kiesman got a consolation marker for the Caps in the dying minutes of the game, which ended with an emphatic 8-2 win for the Blaze.
Friday night saw Sheffield Steelers at home to title chasers Newcastle Vipers, who were bolstered by the return from suspension of Matus Petricko.  The return of the Slovakian player was immediately felt, with Petricko putting away a short-handed goal to open the scoring.  Andre Payette extended the Vipers' lead to 2-0 before the first interval on the powerplay.  Newcastle were three goals to the good by the 26th minute thanks to Michael Tasker, capitalising on a Cory Morgan assist to put the cookie in the jar.  Sheffield rallied round and got off the mark through Kent Simpson midway through the game, setting a 1-3 scoreline going into the third period.  But it was the Vipers who found the net next, Cory Morgan posting the team's second short-hander of the night to give the visitors a 1-4 edge.  Martin Masa drew one back for the Steelers on the same powerplay, but it wasn't enough to save the game for Sheffield, Newcastle taking the points with the 2-4 win.
The Vipers were on the road for the second night on Saturday, taking a trip down to league basement club Basingstoke Bison for a fiery game, the tone of which was set in the warm-up when the teams clashed before the puck had even been dropped.  Once the game was officially underway, Jeremy Cornish and Brad Cruickshank traded pleasantries, as did Andre Payette and Jerry O'Keefe.  Matus Petricko made it two openers from two games by putting the Vipers on the gamesheet first, putting the puck away in the 11th minute.  The second period was what can be safely described as 'the action period', with the puck going between the pipes no less than seven times.  Jeremy Cornish and Jonathan Weaver added to the Vipers' tally before the Bison got off the mark through John Wheaton on the powerplay.  Paul Ferone put the Vipers back in the driving seat with their fourth goal of the night, only for Greg Chambers to post two goals in fourteen seconds for the Bison to bring them right back into the game, the scoreline sitting at 3-4.  Pavel Gomenyuk made it 3-5 in the 38th minute to set the Vipers in the lead going into the third, where Doug Sheppard capitalised on a powerplay to make it 4-5 before Jonathan Weaver popped home the empty netter in the last minute of the game, Newcastle taking the 4-6 win.
Cardiff Devils spent their Saturday evening at home entertaining the Edinburgh Capitals, with the visitors waiting until the final period to make their mark on the scoreboard.  Jeff Burgoyne opened the scoring for the home side with a powerplay marker inside the first five minutes, and then ex-London Racer Nathan Rempel added a second goal three minutes after that.  Mike Garrow posted a short-hander to give the Devils a 3-0 lead going into the second period, where Rempel slammed home his second to give the 4-0 advantage to the home side.  In the third, Dino Bauba scored on the powerplay to get Edinburgh into the game, then goals from Mike Sandbeck and Neil Stevenson-Moore brought the scoreline to a respectable 4-3 before time ran out on the Caps, the Devils taking the points.
Nottingham Panthers were at home to Coventry Blaze on Saturday in a local derby that went all the way to overtime.  Coventry opened the scoring through Evan Cheverie in the first period on the powerplay, only for Nottingham to cancel out the goal with an equaliser through Matt Myers to set the scores level going into the second period.  Dan Welch put the Blaze ahead on the powerplay, but again the Panthers drew level, this time through Curtis Bowen.  The 2-2 scoreline stood through the third period, taking the game to overtime, and when the clock ran out the scoreline remained the same, 2-2 after OT, the teams sharing the points.
Sunday night saw the reverse fixture, with Coventry at home to the Panthers, and it was the home side who got off the mark first, ex-Manchester Storm forward Barrie Moore opening the scoring with a short-handed marker.  Blaz Emersic drew the scores level on the powerplay less than a minute later, and Jeff Hutchins added another to Blaze's tally to make it 2-1 before the first break.  Joe Cardarello redrew the scores early in the second with the period's only goal, and David Clarke put the Panthers in the driving seat in the third, where they held off the Blaze to notch up a 2-3 win and take the points.
Newcastle were playing their third game in three nights on Sunday when they took to their home ice against Cardiff Devils.  Brad Voth and Paul Ferone dropped the gloves just seven seconds into the game, and then went for it again after five minutes, with both being ejected for roughing.  Louis Goulet got the first goal of the game, putting away a powerplay marker for the Devils in the 9th minute.  Gerad Adams extended the lead to give Cardiff a 0-2 advantage before the end of the first period.  Nathan Rempel added a third Devils goal in the second period, giving a 0-3 lead going into the third, where Jeremy Cornish got one back for the Vipers before Nathan Rempel bagged a brace and notched up his hat-trick, the game ending 1-5.
Sunday night also saw a bottom-of-the-table clash between Edinburgh Capitals and current last-placers Basingstoke Bison.  The Caps got off to a good start through Neil Stevenson-Moore, who scored on the powerplay in the third minute, before the Bison backlash began.  Shawn Maltby and Doug Sheppard both netted powerplay markers to give Basingstoke a 1-2 lead by the end of the first, a lead that was extended to 1-3 by Jim Shepherd's short-hander, which came after the ejection from the game of Ryan O'Keefe.  Maltby's second of the night set the score at 1-4, and Shepherd's second made it 1-5.  Greg Chambers added his own marker to make it 1-6 before the end of the second period, and Edinburgh pulled Martin Kucera from between their pipes, replacing him with Ryan Ford.  But the Bison weren't done, with Doug Sheppard, Mark Galazzi and Edijs Brahmanis making it 1-9 before Jim Vickers scored for the Caps to make it 2-9, however the final goal went to Brad Cruickshank, ending the game with a 2-10 scoreline in favour of the Bison.
Sheffield's Sunday evening was spent in the company of table-toppers Belfast Giants, who opened the scoring through Colin Shields after three minutes.  Jason Bowen and Curtis Huppe added goals to the Belfast tally to give a 0-3 lead before Sheffield got off the mark through Ron Shudra early in the second period.  Ed Courtenay and Todd Kelman made it 1-5 before the start of the third.  Theo Fleury made it 1-6 and Curtis Huppe made it 1-7 before the clock ran down, the league leaders consolidating their position at the top of the table.
by Richard Allan