Rink round up

Tuesday, 22nd February 2005

Thursday night's cross-league action saw the London Racers continuing their Scottish tour with a visit to Dundee to take on the Stars, with NHLer Scott Nichol proving to be the star of the night.  Nichol found the net three times, the first two of his goals giving the Racers a 0-2 advantage before a Dundee fightback saw the game at 3-2.  An equalizer from Jeremy Cornish was followed by Nichol's third of the night to take the game 3-4 to the Racers.

Saturday's Elite League clash between bottom team Basingstoke Bison and table toppers Coventry Blaze was a fixture that the Bison simply had to win to keep their hopes of making the Play-Offs alive.  Doug Sheppard put the Bison ahead in the first period, picking up his own rebound to squeeze the puck past Jody Lehmann in the Blaze net. But early in the second period, Joel Poirier was brought down on a breakaway and referee Nigel Boniface awarded Coventry a penalty shot, invoking the wrath of ex-Manchester Storm goalie and current Bison GM Mark Bernard, who received a game penalty for misconduct.  Poirier converted the penalty and the match was tied.  Adam Calder and Graham Schlender added to the Blaze tally, taking the game to 1-3 before Greg Wood brought one back for the Bison to make it 2-3.  Calder and Schlender both found the net again to take the game to 2-5, and Ashley Tait put the final nail in the coffin late in the third, sealing the game at 2-6 to the visitors.

Elsewhere in the Elite League, Nottingham Panthers played host to Belfast Giants.  The visitors opened the scoring through ex-Phoenix Captain George Awada and followed it up with a late marker from Tony Hand, punctuated only by a marker from Nick Boynton. Final score 1-2 to the Giants.

Saturday's cross-league competition saw Cardiff Devils at home to Hull Stingrays.  Despite outshooting the Stingrays 46 to 14, the Hull team came out on top with goals from Dru Burgess and Evgeny Alipov.  Vezio Sacratini netted for the home team following Burgess's opener, only for 39-year-old Alipov to find the net late in the third to take the game 1-2.

Belfast's road trip continued on Sunday with a visit to Coventry, with the home team riding high after their comfortable win over Basingstoke the previous night. Coventry took an early lead through Ashley Tait, only for Tony Hand to net an equaliser.  A washed-out effort from Curt Bowen would have given the Giants the lead, but the net was off its moorings.  Doug Schueller netted the game winner for the Blaze, taking the game 2-1.

Basingstoke's chance of making the post season were finally put to an end with a visit to Sheffield to take on the Steelers.  A bad tempered game which saw 84 minutes of penalties handed out, the Steelers foughts their way to a resounding victory with goals from Mike Peron, Jeff Christian and a pair from Erik Anderson, with ex-Phoenix netminder Jayme Platt claiming a 19-shot shut-out in the Steelers net.  The final score of 4-0 meant that Basingstoke cannot catch London, and won't be making it to the Play-Off stage of this season's EIHL competition.

Sunday's cross-league competition saw Guildford Flames hosting the Nottingham Panthers in a fairly one-way affair.  A pair apiece from Nick Boynton and Konstantin Kalmikov and a marker from David Clarke saw the Panthers clock up five goals against Guildford's sole effort from David Oliver, the game going 1-5 to the visiting Nottingham outfit.

London Racers saw off BNLers Fife Flyers with a three-to-one effort, Jim Vickers opening the scoring in the first period for the Racers.  Jeremy Cornish found his way onto the scoreboard in the second period, and Vickers netted again to make it 3-0.  A consolation goal from Adrian Saul just after the game's halfway point was the last score of the night, the game ending 3-1 to London.

by Richard Allan

Rank Team Name Played Won Drawn Lost G GA Points Goal Difference
1 Coventry Blaze 44 28
5 11
154 87 66 67
2 Belfast Giants 43 27
6 10
139 80 61 59
3 Cardiff Devils 43 28
3 12
138 98 60 40
4 Nottingham Panthers 46 23
5 18
128 93 57 35
5 Sheffield Steelers 45 23
4 18
105 97 53 8
6 London Racers 42 16
7 19
94 106 40 -12
7 Basingstoke Bison 46 12
5 29
108 166 31 -58