Rink round up

Monday, 7th March 2005
Coventry Blaze have lifted the Elite League trophy for the 2004-2005 season with an emphatic home win over the London Racers.  Two goals apiece from Graham Schlender and Adam Calder were topped off with a marker from Tom Watkins to give the home team a 5-1 win, with Dennis Maxwell providing the Racers with their goal.  Coventry claimed the title with two games remaining in their season, both of which are against second-placers Belfast Giants.
The win meant that Belfast's title hopes were dashed despite their 3-6 victory over the Sheffield Steelers.  Sheffield had opened the scoring through Jeff Christian in the first period, but powerplay markers from Todd Kelman and Tony Hand put the scoreline at 1-2 at the first interval.  Erik Anderson tied the game for the Steelers late in the second, but in the third the Giants pulled away,  Marc Levers and Fredrik Nasval put the game at 2-4 before Anderson netted the Steelers' final goal. Ex-Phoenixer George Awada put the fifth in for the Giants and Mel Angelstad sealed the game with the Giants' sixth.
The game against Belfast was the second home fixture in two days for the Steelers,  with the Sheffield team having hosted the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday evening.  David Cousineau put the Steelers ahead in the first period, and Nottingham coach Paul Adey received his marching orders following a 2+10 penalty on David Clarke for 'checking to the head'.  A scoreless second period was followed by a late marker from Mike Peron, forcing Panthers to pull netminder Curtis Cruickshank for the extra attacker.  But the gamble didn't pay off, and Erik Anderson found the empty net to take the game for the Steelers, 3-0 the final score.
Thursday and Friday evenings saw the Belfast Giants play the same opponents two nights on the trot, with the Cardiff Devils occupying the away bench.  Thursday's game saw George Awada find the net twice at either end of the first period, with a Mark Morrison goal inbetween.  Jeff Burgoyne and John Craighead narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the second period, but further markers in the third from Curtis Huppe and Tony Hand closed the game out at 5-2 to the Giants.  Friday night's version of the match ended with the same result, with Curtis Huppe and Jon Cullen trading goals in the first.  Huppe made it 2-1 in the third, followed by Mel Angelstad and Diarmuid Kelly, the scoreline sitting at 4-1 at the second interval.  Ex-Manchester Storm player Curt Bowen made it 5-1 before a late consolation for the Devils through Phil Hill finished the game at 5-2.
by Richard Allan
Rank Team Name Played Won Drawn Lost G GA Points Goal Difference
1 Coventry Blaze 48 32
5 11
169 93 74 76
2 Belfast Giants 48 31
6 11
159 92 69 67
3 Cardiff Devils 47 29
4 14
147 112 63 35
4 Nottingham Panthers 49 24
5 20
134 101 59 33
5 Sheffield Steelers 48 25
4 19
113 103 57 10
6 London Racers 47 17
8 22
104 120 45 -16
7 Basingstoke Bison 48 14
5 29
121 172 35 -51