Rink round up

Tuesday, 1st March 2005
Saturday night's ice hockey action saw Cardiff Devils take on the London Racers on the first night of a home-and-away double-header. Devils veteran Vezio Sacratini gave the Devils the lead through a specultive shot which deflected off Joe Watkins into the London keeper's net.  Dennis Maxwell tied the game up early in the second period before Chicago Blackhawks' Scott Nichol found the net to give London a 1-2 lead.  Former Manchester Storm forward Russ Romaniuk tied the game in the third period and the match stayed at 2-2 for the rest of regulation.  An early incident in overtime saw Dennis Maxwell sitting for 2+10 after a check from behind on Jon Cullen.  Cullen went on to score on the powerplay and take the game for the Devils.
A cross-league clash in Fife saw the visiting Basingstoke Bison, recently ousted from the run for the EIHL Play-Offs, come out on top in a high-scoring contest. Despite a sterling effort by the home team, the visitors came out winners in a game that ended 4-6 to the Bison.
Beflast Giants' attempts to close the gap on Coventry were dealt a blow on Saturday with a visit from the Sheffield Steelers.  Ex-Phoenix netminder Jayme Platt notched up a shut-out in the Sheffield net, whilst Mike Peron and Mark Dutiame both found the net to give the visiting Steelers a 0-2 win.
Saturday also saw Nottingham Panthers play host to the hot favourites to take the league title this season, the Coventry Blaze.  The visitors came out on top of this clash, shutting out the home team and finding the net three times, through Josef Lukac, Adam Calder and Ashley Tait, taking the game 0-3.
Sunday saw the second leg of the Devils versus Racers double-header, this time down in the English capital.  Eric Cairns made an early impact on the game, or more specifically on Vezio Sacratini, with Cairns picking up a 2+2+2 penalty and Sacratini taking a trip to the hospital with a suspected concussion.  Jon Cullen opened the scoring for the Devils after ten minutes, with Jeff Burgoyne takign the game to 0-2 early in the second period.  Mark Gouett took the game the game to 1-2 before Cairns found the net to tie the game up at 2-2.  With no scoring in the overtime period, the game ended in a tie, each team taking a point.
Fife continued to hold their own against EIHL opposition with a visit to Coventry to take on the current table toppers.  The Flyers opened their scoring account through Todd Dutiame in the first period, only for Graham Schlender to tie it up in the second. Kent Davyduke put the Fife outfit ahead for a second time, only for the equaliser to come through Josef Lukac.  mark Morrison put the visitors ahead for the third time, only for a third equaliser, Lukac finding the net for his second of the evening.  At three apiece, regular time ended, and in the overtime period a marker from Wade Belak took the game 4-3 to the home team.
Elsewhere in cross-league competition, Hull Stingrays took the road trip down to Basingstoke to take on the Bison, but came away with plenty to think about when the home team claimed an emphatic 7-2 win.
by Richard Allan
Rank Team Name Played Won Drawn Lost G GA Points Goal Difference
1 Coventry Blaze 46 30
5 11
161 90 70 71
2 Cardiff Devils 45 29
4 12
143 102 63 41
3 Belfast Giants 45 28
6 11
143 85 63 58
4 Nottingham Panthers 48 24
5 19
134 98 59 36
5 Sheffield Steelers 46 24
4 18
107 97 55 10
6 London Racers 45 17
8 20
101 112 44 -11
7 Basingstoke Bison 48 14
5 29
121 172 35 -51