Rink round up

Tuesday, 31st January 2012

The run-up weekend to the transfer deadline was a busy one in both the Elite League and National Cup competitions, starting on Thursday evening with the Nottingham Panthers taking the trip up to Dundee.  Nottingham were keen to show off the talents of one of their latest NHL signings, with Ian Moran icing for the Panthers and notching up an assist on his debut.  Richard Wojciak opened up the scoring in the second period, with Gary Wishart levelling the score for Dundee early in the third.  David Clarke put the Panthers back in the driving seat with Moran picking up his first Panthers point, and with the Dundee netminder pulled Mark Cadotte popped the puck in the empty net to take the game 3-1 to the Panthers.

Friday night's Elite League action saw a bad-tempered match between London Racers and Coventry Blaze.  Coventry were first to find the net, with Tom Watkins sliding the puck past brother Joe in the London net.  Toronto Maple Leafs star Wade Belak dropped the gloves with Jason Robinson in the first, and this galvanised the home team into action, with the Racers piling on the pressure into the second, a tactic that paid off with Steve Moria levelling the game at one apiece.  But two quick goals from Joel Poirier and Dan Carlson put the game at 1-3 going into the third period, and the Coventry outfit tightened their defence to keep the Racers at bay for the rest of the game, with joel Poirier finding the net for a second time to put the game at 1-4 to the Blaze.  Belak found himself gloveless again late in the game when challenged by Jeremy Cornish following an elbowing incident on ex-Phoenix forward Jason Hewitt, and both Cornish and Belak took an early trip to the locker room for their troubles.

Saturday's fixtures saw the Panthers on the road again, this time with a trip down to Basingstoke.  Ex-Bison netminder Curtis Cruikshank was between the pipes for Nottingham, and he notched up a 31 shot shut-out in front of his old fans.  Two goals from David Clarke and a marker from Marek Ivan put the game at 3-0 and allowed Nottingham to take their foot off the pedal a little, relying on the defence to absorb all that the Bison could throw at them.  A scoreless third period saw the game end at 0-3 to the Panthers.

Sheffield played hosts to the Cardiff Devils in a tight game that went all the way to the last moment of overtime.  Warren Tait opened the scoring for the Devils halfway through the game, but the Steelers responded through Marc Lefebvre and Gerard Adams.  Steelers held on to their lead until the last five minutes, when John Craighead tied the game for Cardiff.  In the final scond of overtime, at 64.59 on the clock, Jeff Burgoyne popped the puck past Jayme Platt to take the extra point for the visitors, ending the game 2-3.  Ex-Phoenix netminder Platt picked up a game misconduct for abuse of an official at the end of the game.

Devils Coach Dave Whistle was happy with the result:  “I’m very pleased with that performance, one second and it was a goal, the green light hadn’t come on when it’s the end of the game so it was definitely a goal, it was a great game. Both teams played like they needed to win and we just got lucky at the end.”

Sunday's fixtures saw the Panthers in action for the third time in four days, with a home fixture against BNL opposition Bracknell Bees.  The Bees netted first through Lukas Smital before Matt Myers put the Panthers back in the game, and the result stayed that way until the end of regulation.  Peter Campbell found the spot in overtime to give Bracknell the win, 1-2.

Coventry continued their winning ways with a scoring exercise against Hull Stingrays.  An early exchange of goals between Sergiy Rublivsky and Slava Koulikov saw the scores level at the end of the first, but that was the last time the game was undecided.  Blaze upped a gear and found the net through Graham Schlender and Adam Calder, and then Neal Martin picked up a goal to make it 3-1.  Joel Poirier and Doug Schueller made it 5-1, then Chris McNamara made it 6-1.  A consolation marker for Hull was answered by Joel Poirier, making the scoreline read 7-2, before Adam Calder netted again and Ashley Tait got in on the action, leaving the visiting Hull team on the wrong end of a 9-2 whumping.

The return fixture between Cardiff and Sheffield saw a game as tight as the one the previous night, with the game remaining scoreless until the final frame.  John Cullen opened the scoring with a minute and a half of regulation time remaining, and Nathan Rempel netted at 59.59 to seal the game with a 2-0 win to the Devils, with netminder Jason Cugnet notching up a 30 shot shut-out.

Dundee played host to Basingstoke in the National Cup on Sunday, and a high-scoring first period saw Dundee claim two goals through Cory Morgan and Christian Borgatello, with Basingstoke responding through ex-Storm forward Shawn Maltby, Steve Gallace and Jerry Galway.  Gallace netted again to put the game at 4-2, and Mike Ford increased the lead in the third period.  Jeff Marshall beat the Bison netminder to put the game at 5-3 only for Jerry Galway and Jason Norrie to put the game at 7-3 in the favour of the Bison.

by Richard Allan

Rank Team Name Played Won Drawn Lost G GA Points Goal Difference
1 Coventry Blaze 38 23
5 10
137 79 56 58
2 Belfast Giants 36 23
5 8
119 67 52 52
3 Cardiff Devils 36 24
2 10
108 81 51 27
4 Nottingham Panthers 39 19
5 15
112 84 49 28
5 Sheffield Steelers 40 21
3 16
99 89 48 10
6 London Racers 37 13
7 17
76 93 34 -17
7 Basingstoke Bison 40 10
5 25
99 143 27 -44