Rink round-up

Monday, 27th February 2006
The week's round-up of hockey action starts in Wednesday with the Belfast Giants hosting Cardiff Devils.  The first period was a tense but goal-free affair, with both sides attacks being cancelled out by strong defensive works.  It took until the second period for the deadlock to break, Jonathan Phillips and Nathan Rempel both finding the back of the Belfast net early on to give the visitors a 0-2 lead.  The Giants immediately responded through ex-Manchester Phoenix captain George Awada, only for Mike Garrow to restore the two goal lead.  Just after the halfway point the Giants player-coach Ed Courtenay closed the gap to make it 2-3, and it still looked like it could be anybody's game.  But halfway through the third period Louis Goulet put the game at 2-4, resulting in Belfast's Ed Courtenay and Theo Fleury both getting into a heated debate with referee Nigel Boniface.  Insults and sticks were hurled at the stripey, with the end result being en ejection for the two Belfast players and a powerplay goal for Kirk DeWaele, the Devils taking the game 2-5.
Saturday's Elite League action saw Basingstoke Bison take on Edinburgh Capitals in a bottom-of-the-table eleven-goal thriller.  The Bison opened the scoring through Edijs Brahmanis, only for Jim Vickers to equalise before Neil Stevenson-Moore put the Caps ahead before the first interval.  Ex-Manchester Storm forward Shawn Maltby tied the scores early in the second period before a brace from Brahmanis gave him the hat-trick and the Bison the 4-2 lead by the second interval.  Greg Chambers made it 5-2 before the Edinburgh fightback began in earnest in the third period, Neil Hay and Tony Hand scoring a minute and a half apart to put the Caps right back in the game.  Jim Vickers got his second of the night with eight mintutes remaining on the clock to tie the game, and at the end of regulation it was time for the old OT.  The Overtime session was short-lived, however, when Doug Sheppard popped home the game winner for the Bison just twenty seconds after the restart.  Final score 6-5 to Basingstoke after OT.
Cardiff were sitting pretty on top of a three goal lead going into the second leg of their British Knockout Cup tie with Sheffield Steelers, but they hadn't counted on Sheffield's refusal to say die. Jonas Lennartsson got Sheffield off the mark early in the first penalty, and as a sign of the onsetting disquiet, Cardiff's Gerad Adams picked up a game penalty and subsequent ejection before the first break.  Kent Simpson and Rod Sarich netted in the second to take the score to 3-0 on the night, 3-3 on aggregate, before Mike Peron put the Steelers ahead overall for the first time.  Jeff Burgoyne found the way to the back of the Sheffield net to re-tie the series before the end of the second period.  In the third, Phil Hill put the Devils back ahead only for Jonas Lennartsson to cancel out the lead, and with the scores tied it fell to a penalty shoot-out to decide the victory, which eventually went to Sheffield, Mark Dutiame scoring the winning goal, the final score Sheffield 6 Cardiff 5.
Sunday's action saw the Devils taking out their frustrations on Nottingham Panthers, with Cardiff taking the lead through Louis Goulet netting a solo effort in the ninth minute in what proved to be the only goal of the first two periods.  Brad Voth extended the Cardiff lead in the third before Joe Cardarelli put the biscuit in the basket to get the Panthers off the mark, but when Nottingham pulled their netminder is was Devils player Nathan Rempel who capitalised on the empty net, the game ending 3-1 to Cardiff.
Coventry were quick off the mark in their home game against Basingstoke on Sunday, with Ashley Tait finding the net after just 96 seconds to give the Blaze the lead.  Pavol Mihalik made to two nil three minutes later, only for Doug Sheppard to pull one back for the visitors before the first interval.  A goal-drought in the second period meant that it was still 2-1 going into the third period, where Andreas Moborg made it 3-1 and Barrie Moore made it 4-1 ten seconds later.  5-1 came about courtesy of Neal Martin, before the Bison netted three times in four minutes to make it 5-4, the goals coming from Shawn Maltby, Doug Sheppard and Greg Chambers.  Coventry's sixth goal came about in unusual circumstances, when Bison netminder Mark Bernard touched the puck from the bench despite having an empty net at the previous face off, an action that saw the awarding of a penalty goal against the Bison.  Final score 6-4 to Coventry.
Newcastle are doing their best to keep up pressure on league leaders Belfast Giants, and their overtime win over Sheffield on Sunday certainly helped.  Matus Petricko had opened the scoring for the Vipers in the first period, before Sheffield game back in the second period with goals through Rod Sarich, Stefan Sjogren and Kent Simpson to make it 3-1.  Cory Morgan brought the scores to 3-2 before the second interval, and in the third it was Shaun Johnson who tied the game to take it to overtime, where ex-Manchester Storm forward Jonathan Weaver broke the deadlock adn took the points for the Tyneside team.
by Richard Allan