Monday 31 March 2014

South 1 League Season Complete - Now For The Play Offs

The final matches were played in the South 1 regular season over the weekend.

Chelmsford Chieftains finish top of the table with 55 points and Wightlink Raiders second with 48 points.

You can see the complete final table here:

South 1 Play Off Quarter Finals
To be played Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th April:

Chelmsford Chieftains v Solent & Gosport Devils
Wightlink Raiders v Bracknell Hornets,
London Raiders v Streatham Redskins
Invicta Dynamos v Cardiff Devils

Sunday 30 March 2014

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 29th & 30th March

Champions Solihull Barons rounded off their Laidler Conference regular season with a 10-3 home win over league runners up Deeside Dragons. That win sees the Barons finish a massive 12 points clear at the top of the table with a run of 22 consecutive wins that stretches back to 13th October.

Elsewhere Sheffield Senators beat Blackburn Eagles 9-1 and Nottingham Lions beat Hull Jets 6-5.

Widnes Wild took another "top 4" scalp as they beat 3rd place Coventry Blaze 7-2 in their last home game of the season.

Blaze finish in 3rd places on 34 points - 2 points ahead of 4th place Nottingham Lions.

The Laidler Conference league finishes next Saturday when Widnes Wild travel away to Hull.
Victory in that final game would see Wild leapfrog over both Sheffield Senators and the Jets to finish in 5th place in the table, which would be a creditable achievement for their first season in the NIHL.

South 1 Cup Final - Chelmsford Achieve Treble

Chelmsford Chieftains overcame a 3-2 deficit from the first leg of the South 1 Cup Final to beat Streatham Redskins 5-0 in the home leg and win their third piece of silverware of the season.

Second Leg
Final Score:  Chieftains 5 -  Redskins 0
Period Scores: 3-0, 1-0, 1-0
Shots On Goal: Chieftains 46 - Redskins 46
Penalties In Minutes: Chieftains 6 - Redskins 10

Chieftains Scoring: Matthew Turner 2+2, Luke Brittle 1+2, Michael Ranby 1+2, Gary Clarke 1+1, Darren Brown 0+1

Photo by Ian Snoding

South 2 Cup Final - Result

The Oxford City Stars emerged victorious from the inaugural South 2 Cup finals weekend as they beat Bristol Pitbulls 3-1 in the Cup Final.

Final Score:  Stars 3- Pitbulls 1
Period Scores: 2-1, 1-0, 0-0
Shots On Goal: Stars 31 - Pitbulls 35
Penalties In Minutes: Stars 35 - Pitbulls 4

Stars: James Pentecost 1+1, Darren Elliott 1+1, Alan Green 1+0, Andrew Cox & Michael Whillock both 0+1
Pitbulls: Adrian Smith 1+0, Jordan Smith 0+1

Photo credit - Phil Elliott

Saturday 29 March 2014

NIHL North - Saturday Match

The only game of the night was in the Laidler Conference where Blackburn Eagles lost 0-4 at home to Nottingham Lions.

Both Eagles and Lions finish their regular season schedules tomorrow night when there is a full programme of matches featuring all 8 Laidler teams.

Photo by John Milton -


NIHL South 1 Cup Final - First Leg

In the first leg of this two legged final, Streatham Redskins beat Chelmsford Chieftains 3-2.

The second leg will be played at Chelmsford tomorrow evening and we will being you the result on

Photo: a great view of the Streatham Redskins v Chelmsford Chieftains Cup final 1st leg match by Russell Binions.

NIHL South 2 Cup Semi Finals

Semi-Final 1: Oxford City Stars 4 - Wightlink Tigers 0

Semi-Final 2: Bristol Pitbulls 7  - Chelmsford Warriors 1

The final will face off at 6pm on Sunday evening at Oxford ice rink.

Photo: Bristol Pitbulls' semi final win celebrations - courtesy of

Thursday 27 March 2014

First Match For Leeds Knights - 6th April 2014 at iceSheffield

There's a first public outing for the new Leeds Knights team as they take on Grimsby Stormers in a match in aid of Leeds Children Hospital at iceSheffield on Sunday 6th April - 8.30pm face off.

The club hope to enter a team in NIHL North next season and are currently training at Bradford.  They plan to use the new Silver Blades rink at Elland Road in Leeds as their home base once construction works are completed.

You can find out more about the charity match, as well as follow the development of the new Leeds Knights team on the official website:  

Tuesday 25 March 2014

South 2 Cup Report: Chelmsford Warriors 4 - Haringey Racers 3

The CVS Haringey Racers bowed out of the NIHL cup after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Chelmsford Warriors at the Riverside last Saturday.

With the league out of their hands and all but over the cup was Haringey's last chance to bag some silverware in their first season, and they were favourites to at least make it out of the group stage and into the finals weekend as they headed into their final group game at Chelmsford at the weekend.

Having been shocked by the Warriors twice already this season, with an unpredicted loss and draw, so it proved again on Saturday when the Warriors jumped out to an early lead in the fourth minute thanks to Sebastian Downing. Nathan Long then doubled the hosts' lead five minutes later and the Racers went into the first break trailing 2-0.

Haringey rallied and pulled one back in the second period when Matt Brown was set up by former Warrior Ricky Mills at the halfway point of the game and Sam Roberts then pulled them level two minutes into the final period when he was teed up by another former Warrior, Perry Whitlock, and top scorer Drew Campbell.

The Racers had the momentum and took the lead in the 53rd minute when Campbell again set up Roberts, but Haringey's joy was short lived as Lewis Jone pulled Chelmsford level less than a minute later.

Tempers and nerves frayed on both sides in the desperate final minutes but a familiar theme emerged as the Racers found themselves short a man for the last two minutes and were made to pay for it yet again when Bailey Chittock scored on the powerplay and shattered Haringey's dreams of silverware for the season.

Coach Dan Sampson says: "To be honest i am gutted, we all are.  To be the better team all night and not win is hard to take. I feel we were hard done by with the calls made (by the referee). If we look at the bigger picture we have achieved so much this year with the big crowds ands some good hockey. we are  going to finish the season strong and I believe we can finish second in the league, which in our first season would still be brilliant."

The Racers will dust themselves off and return to league action on the sixth of April for their penultimate game of the year and their final home game at Alexandra Palace for the season against the struggling Peterborough Islanders."

Sam Park

Photo - Haringey's Sam Roberts by Sam Park

Monday 24 March 2014

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 22nd & 23rd March 2014

The Moralee Conference regular season schedule was brought to a close on Sunday evening as Sutton Sting won 4-3 away at Telford Titans.

The Sting end up on 31 points for the season - the same as 4th place Whitley Warriors - but they finish in 5th place due to results between the two teams.

On Saturday night, Solway Sharks booked their place in the final of the Northern Cup with a 4-3 win over Blackburn Hawks in their last group game.  Sharks will play Sutton Sting in a two leg final.

On Sunday night, Blackburn Hawks played a challenge match against the Royal Navy Kings (in photo). The scoreline was rather one-sided - ending up 20-4 in favour of the hosts - but the game was played penalty-free and everybody was impressed by the sportsmanship showed throughout by the Royal Navy team.

Blackburn under 18 netminder Dominick Jolly (photo right) played in goal for the Hawks and received the MVP award. 

Both photos by John Milton - www 

Laidler Conference Weekend Round Up 22nd & 23rd March 2014

Champions Solihull Barons scored 24 goals in 2 away games as they extended their lead at the top of the conference to 10 points - with one game left to play.

They beat Hull Stingrays 11-3 in Hull on Saturday night and then won 13-3 away at Widnes on Sunday.

In the other Laidler match of the weekend, Coventry Blaze beat Blackburn Eagles 6-1 in a game that started late and was played running time for the first period.

Photo: Widnes v Solihull by Geoff White -

Saturday 22 March 2014

NIHL North - Saturday Games

Solway Sharks booked their place in the final of the Northern Cup with a 4-3 home win over Blackburn Hawks in their final group game.

The Sharks will play Sutton Sting in a two legged final over the weekend of 5th and 6th April.

In the other Cup group game, Billingham Stars won 6-5 away at Manchester Minotaurs.

In the Laidler Conference, champions Solihull Barons won 11-3 away at Hull Jets to go 8 points clear at the top of the table with 2 games left to play.

Photo: Solway Sharks v Blackburn Hawks by John Milton -

South 2 Cup Update

Chelmsford Warriors beat Haringey Racers 4-3 in the final game in South 2 Cup Group 1. The final group table is as follows:

1 - Chelmsford Warriors - 5pts
2 - Wightlink Tigers - 4pts
3 - London Haringey Racers - 3pts

This means that Warriors and Wightlink Tigers will go through to the Cup Finals weekend next weekend at Oxford to face Oxford City Stars and Bristol Pitbulls in the semi

The finals weekend matches are:
Saturday 29th March:
17:15 - Oxford City Stars vs Wightlink Tigers
20:15 - Bristol Pitbulls vs Chelmsford Warriors

Sunday 30th March:  18:00 - Final


Thursday 20 March 2014

Moralee Conference Play Offs - Match Times & Ticket Link

Semi Finals -  Saturday 12th April

Semi Final 1 - 1pm: 
Solway Sharks v Whitley Warriors

Semi Final 2 - 4.30pm:
Blackburn Hawks v Billingham Stars

Sunday 13th April

Play Off Final -  2pm Face Off

Weekend Pass - £25 per person
Limited single match tickets available

For tickets, follow this link and scroll down to the Moralee Play Offs: TicketWeb

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Chelmsford Chieftains South 1 Title Win

Out of all the competitions the Chieftains have competed in over the 2013/14 campaign, the league stands out as the biggest test of endurance, quality and resilience, of which Chelmsford have passed all three.

The long journey to glory started back in September with a comprehensive defeat of Cardiff in Wales starting a sequence of 24 wins, 3 ties and only 3 losses over the following six months....

Read the rest of David Carr's excellent piece on Pro Hockey News here:

Photo by Ian Snoding - see more great photos at

Tuesday 18 March 2014

South 2 Match Report: Haringey Racers 4 - Lee Valley Lions 1

The CVS Haringey Racers earned bragging rights in front of another record breaking crowd, as they beat the Lee Valley Lions 4-1 in a local derby at Alexandra Palace on Saturday night.

860 supporters had to endure a scoreless 30 mins as Lion's goalie Aaron Mallet turned away everything the Racers could throw at him. But Haringey finally broke the deadlock midway through the second period when Mason Webster was teed up by Ricky Rutherford (in photo) and Lee Mercer.

The Racers then doubled the lead just over a minute later when the red hot Sean Martin scored unassisted while Haringey were shorthanded.

Haringey made sure in the final period when Matt Brown was set up by Jack Cooper and Ben Osborne and Rutherford added an unassisted fourth.

The Lions grabbed a late consolation goal in the final two minutes, when Vas Fedotovas scored on the powerplay and denied Haringey goalie Ian Shepherd a 27 shot shutout on his return from injury.

Racers coach Dan Sampson says: "We got the job done, but it wasn't us at our best at all. We battled, though, and got our rewards in the end. Ian Shepherd made some very important saves and was unlucky not to get what would have been a well deserved shutout.

"Our discipline was poor again, which has been a recurring problem this season. We got away with it against Lee Valley but other teams will use it against us and we can't afford to take the chance.

"It was great to play in front of a big crowd again and hopefully that will continue. It was also great to claim the bragging rights and I hope to see many tough battles from this derby fixture in the future."

The Racers will now turn their attention to a must win cup game away at Chelmsford Warriors on Saturday (March 22nd) and Sampson adds: "We'd love to win the cup and pick up some silverware in our first season and we know that when we play five on five no one can touch us. We all need to turn up on Saturday and play to our potential.

"We've had some good games against Chelmsford already and they are a hardworking, talented young side. But we set the bar very high for ourselves a couple of weeks back and we are looking to push that level even higher."

Sam Park

Monday 17 March 2014

Laidler Conference Match Report: Widnes Wild 5 - Deeside Dragons 4

Another packed crowd at Silver Blades saw Wild overcome their local rivals in a thrilling game. Roared on by a big travelling support, the red shirted Dragons were matched throughout by the home side for whom MVP Bobby Caunce worked tirelessly. The home side saw the return of overseas star Filip Supa and talented youngster Lee Pollitt.

The game got off to a predictable start with both sides attacking at a furious pace and Deeside taking a 4th minute lead, when Andrew Chappell fired home from close range. The lead was short lived and flying forward Ben Brown equalised in the 8th minute, after good work from Supa and Caunce. The rest of the period saw an end to end, cut and thrust contest.

It was in the second period where Widnes started to control the game pattern, with some highly effective counter attacks which took the visitors by surprise. Filip Supa soon returned to scoring form with a wrist shot past George Cox just twelve seconds into the period. Bobby Caunce and Shaun Dipnall were the architects of a superb goal. The goal fired Deeside into action, with an aggressive brand of hockey. Whilst Chris Jones was serving a roughing penalty, Wild went further ahead, when Caunce finished from a Shaun Dipnall pass. Greg Ruxton in the Wild goal came under great pressure but along with young defenceman Tom Jackson, Josh Grocutt and Dan Bracegirdle they faced up to a fierce physical challenge.

The final period saw a further, rather bizarre goal in the 49th minute, the puck trickling inches over the line past a bemused George Cox after a Shaun Dippnall shot. This appeared to prompt a netminder change with Matt Compton replacing Cox, the big netminder having just served a ten minute misconduct penalty. His experience couldn't prevent a further Widnes goal. Bobby Caunce beat him inside the left hand post in the 54th minute, Filip Supa being the provider.

At 5- 1 up and just six minutes to go it seemed like job done. However, a boarding incident behind the Widnes net saw Jackson, Tom Ratcliffe and Ken Armstrong all serving penalties. Within seconds, Dragons had scored through Simon Furnival, and he followed up two minutes later with a second to bring the Dragons within two goals. Inside a minute James Parsons had made it 5-4 and it was the Dragons' fans on their feet. In a torrid last 2 minutes, Widnes held out to record a memorable win.

This was a game which kept the crowd on edge until the end, second placed Dragons outshooting the home side two to one.

Wild coach Mark Gillingham was delighted with his side's efforts. "It was obviously a big win for us, especially coming on the back of two disappointing results a fortnight ago. Deeside play in quite a specific way, so we set a game plan and stuck to it for the most part. We congested the middle of the ice, which stopped them playing the long passes they like to make, and until the last goal they only scored with the man advantage. Even with the plan in place, though, it was the effort that each of the players put in that meant we could get the result, and it was a well earned victory."

Wild are at home again next Sunday, when newly-crowned league champions Solihull Barons provide the opposition. Doors open at 5.15 for a 6.15 face off.

* Wild will be supporting a community initiative at Tesco Widnes on Saturday 29th March . There will be a chance to meet some of the players and try your hand at some hockey skills between 9.30 and 17.00. There will be a raffle for a signed shirt, stick and season ticket with funds raised in aid of When You Wish Upon A Star.

Dick Gillingham

Photo: Widnes Wild's Filip Supa by Geoff White -

Sunday 16 March 2014

South 1 - Chelmsford Chieftains Are Champions

Chelmsford Chieftains have secured the NIHL South Division 1 title after a 3-1 home win over 2nd place Invicta Dynamos. That win puts them 7 points clear at the top with just two games left to play so they can't now be caught.

In South 2, Oxford City Stars are just 1 point behind leaders Slough Jets following a 10-1 win at home to Cardiff Devils. Both teams have three games left to play and they meet at Oxford on 6th April in the penultimate league game of the season.

Haringey Racers are just one point behind in 3rd but they could still be overtaken by Swindon Wildcats and Bristol Pitbulls who each have games in hand.

Photo: Chelmsford Chieftains celebrations (stock image - not from this match) by One Shot Images -

Laidler Conference - Solihull Barons are Champions!

Deeside Dragons 5-4 defeat away at Widnes Wild in the North West Derby means that Solihull Barons are Laidler Conference champions.

The Dragons were 5-1 down going into the last 5 minutes and pulled 3 goals back in a match where they outshot their hosts 46 to 23. The defeat means that they will finish in second place in the league table.

The Barons made sure of their title win with a 1-3 victory away at 3rd place Coventry Blaze which sees them lead then table by 6 clear points.

In the other game of the evening, 4th place Nottingham Lions shut out bottom team Blackburn Eagles 3-0.

Photo: Deeside defeat away at Widnes - by Peter Sheffield,

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 15th & 16th March 2014

Whitley Warriors secured the fourth and final play off spot with a 11-0 home win over bottom club Telford Titans.   Sutton Sting beat league champions Solway Sharks 4-2 and have a game left against Telford but even of they win that, they will only finish level on points with the Warriors, who still have the upper hand in games between the two teams. 

In the other game of the evening Billingham Stars drew 3-3 with Sheffield Spartans to confirm their 3rd place finish in the league table.


Saturday 15 March 2014

NIHL North: Saturday Games

In the Laidler Conference, Sheffield Senators won 1-5 away at Blackburn Eagles. Senators have just one game left to play - at home to the Eagles on 30th March.

They are currently 6th in the table but could yet be caught by Widnes Wild who are 3 points behind them with 3 games in hand.

The Eagles also have 4 games left to play and will be looking to build on their 3-point tally for the season so far.


Sutton Sting booked their place in the final of the KD Flavell & Sons Welding Northern Cup with a 4-6 win away at Manchester Minotaurs.  They top the qualify group with 12 points from their 8 games. The other finalist will be either Solway Sharks or Blackburn Hawks who are level on 10 points each and who meet at Dumfries Ice Bowl on 22nd March.

Photo: Manchester Minotaurs v Sutton Sting by Steve Pollitt.

Friday 14 March 2014

Pro Hockey News Moralee Conference Awards

Voting is now underway in the 2013/14 Pro Hockey NIHL North Moralee Conference Awards (in association with the EIHA). The main categories in this year’s awards are Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Young Player of the Year while votes are also being cast on an All Star Team for the division.

Each club in the Moralee Conference can cast up to 8 sets of votes with players, coaching staff, management and journalists associated with NIHL North all eligible to vote. All NIHL North sides have taken interest in this year’s Awards and it is hoped that every club casts a number of votes as all eligible clubs did last season.

There will be a new NIHL North player of the season this year as last campaigns winner Nathan Salem is now playing in the English Premier League with the Telford Titans are therefore no longer eligible. Free scoring forwards such as Adam Brittle (Blackburn Hawks), Chris Sykes (Sutton Sting), Adam Reynolds (Whitley Warriors) and Lukas Zeman (Manchester Minotuars) are sure to be considered while top defenceman such as Juraj Senko (Solway Sharks) and Andrew Munroe (Billingham Stars) will more than likely also be in the running.

There are also many candidates to take the Coach of the Year title with last year’s winner Martin Grubb of Conference Champions the Solway Sharks one possible choice however Jared Owen (Blackburn Hawks) is bound to be of interest given how well his side have played this term. Martin White of the Sheffield Spartans could also be under consideration by many given his clubs stellar showings over the course of the campaign.
The Young Player of the Year is a newly introduced Award this season and voting in this sector looks to be highly contested with a great number of hugely promising youngsters in the division at present. A number of young forward such as Ben Richards (Whitley Bay) Connor Henderson (Solway Sharks) and Macaulay Heywood (Telford Titans) are all likely to receive some support while up and coming blue liners like Jonathan Kirk and Alex Harding of the Sheffield Spartans will also be of interest to those casting votes.

Voting will hopefully be completed in the next week or so and the winners of the NIHL North Awards will be announced at the Moralee Conference Play Off weekend that takes place at Solway Sharks Dumfries Ice Bowl over the weekend of the 12th/13th April.

The actual presentation will take place on Saturday evening following the conclusion of the 2nd semi final match up in the cafe that overlooks the rink. Fans will get the opportunity to mix with the players and management of all the NIHL North sides in attendance while a buffet will also be served.

Chris Mackenzie

Photo:  Pro Hockey News Editor Chris Mackenzie with 2013 award winners Martin Grubb (left) and Nathan Salem (right). Photo by David Morrison -

Tuesday 11 March 2014

South 2 Match Preview: Haringey Racers v Lee Valley Lions

The CVS Haringey Racers will take on the Lee Valley Lions in the last London derby of the season at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, and both teams are out to claim bragging rights.
The Racers are favourites to win the game on paper, currently sitting third in the table and having beat the ninth-placed Lions 7-3 back in January. But the Lions are enjoying their best campaign for years and have produced some shock results against the league's top teams already this season.
Haringey captain Lee Mercer knows well that Lee Valley can be a difficult opponent, he says: "Any derby is always a tough and tense affair. Lee Valley are a better team than they were last year and they have even improved as a team since the last time we played them. Our motivation for this game is trying to finish as high in the league as possible, keeping our form high ahead of a crucial cup match, but most importantly earning the bragging rights by beating them twice this season."
Mercer made special mention of a former Romford Fury team-mate Vas Fedotovas  too, acknowledging that he could cause the Racers problems: "They have some very good players and some dangerous players, especially Vas. He is a great, great player who I admire and respect very much and he can be a real handful all over the ice."
Hard hitting Lithuanian Fedotovas is the Lion's top point scorer with 16 goal and 13 assists for 29 points in just 18 games and he insists that his side still have something to play for, he sums up their approach to the game by saying: "We have struggled this season but also improved and although the idea of winning anything this season is over for us we are now looking to play positively ahead of next year. A lot of our guys have pledged to come back next season so our preparation for the new campaign has already started."
Fedotovas also believes that the Lions have produced their best displays against stronger teams and will be up for challenge: "We have always played better against the better teams and it's a derby, so we're not going to let them walk away with an easy win, we'll be fighting for every inch. We will have a game plan which we'll be sticking to, we'll keep our discipline and we're confident. We have been looking forward to this one and we have a full squad ready to fight for every puck. It's our last game of the season too so we don't need to hold anything back."
Saturday's face off at Alexandra Palace will be at 17:30 and Mercer will be welcoming some special guests, as a group from the Action for Kids charity will be joining the Captain's Crew. Mercer says: "I'm so glad that some great young people are coming to watch the game on Saturday and will get to meet the players too. I hope they enjoy it and have a really fun day out."  
Words by Sam Park
Photos: top Racers' Lee Mercer
Bottom - Lions' Vas Fedotovas by Grout Photography -

Monday 10 March 2014

Official Launch of NIHL Radio

Today sees the launch of a brand new internet broadcasting service aimed specifically at NIHL ice hockey clubs and their supporters. Basically, NIHL Radio offers teams the facility to provide live commentary from their matches without incurring the various costs and technology hurdles normally involved in setting up an audio stream.

Already signed up for next season are Blackburn Hawks, Whitley Warriors and Billingham Stars from the NIHL North Moralee Conference and Deeside Dragons and Widnes Wild from the Laidler Conference. 

The organisers are looking for more teams from NIHL North and South to get involved and you can initially find more information here:

An interview with Oz Phillips from NIHL Radio has been recorded to go out on Paul & Lucy's "Best Kept Secrets" radio show on 103.2 Preston FM next Saturday but you can hear it right now by clicking on the sound icon below:

You can also follow the development of NIHL Radio on Facebook:  

Sunday 9 March 2014

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 8th & 9th March 2014

The race for the final play off place took more twists and turns this weekend as both Sutton Sting and Whitley Warriors failed to take full advantage of each other's misfortunes.

Sting were shut out at home 5-0 by league runners up Blackburn Hawks while Warriors were held to a 3-3 draw away at improving Manchester Minotaurs.

Those results leave Whitley in 4th place with a 2 point advantage over Sutton, although the Sting have two games left as opposed to Whitley's one.

Both teams have home games against bottom Telford Titans to come and Sutton's game in hand is against champions Solway Sharks.

In the other game of the weekend, the Sharks beat Telford 11-2.

In the Northern Cup, Solway Sharks won 8-2 away at Billingham Stars to join Blackburn Hawks and Sutton Sting on 10 points at the top of the group.

The Sting play Manchester Minotaurs on 15th March and the Sharks play the Hawks on 22nd March with those two results deciding which two teams will contest the two legged Cup final. The cup final matches will be played on 5th and 6th April.

Photo: Sharks win at Billingham - by David Morrison

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend Of 8th & 9th March 2014

League leaders Solihull Barons demolished Hull Stingrays 13-0 while Deeside Dragons shut out Blackburn Eagles 10-0.

On Saturday night, Blackburn Eagles picked up their 3rd point of the season with a 3-3 draw against the Dragons.

The Barons have a 4 point lead over the Dragons who only have 2 games left to play, as opposed to Solihull's 4, meaning that Solihull only need one point to secure the Laidler Conference title.

Coventry Blaze beat Sheffield Senators 8-4 to secure third place in the league.  They lead 4th place Nottingham Lions by 6 points with both teams having just 3 games left to play and Coventry having the edge by 3 wins to 1 over the Lions.

Photo: Chris Jones scores for Deeside in their 10-0 win over Blackburn - Peter Sheffield /

Saturday 8 March 2014

NIHL North Saturday Games: Eagles Take Point Off Dragons

Blackburn Eagles took only their 3rd point of the season from a close fought 3-3 draw at home to second place Deeside Dragons.

The result leaves Deeside 4 points behind Laidler Conference leaders Solihull Barons with just 3 games left to play.  The Barons only need 3 points from their 5 remaining games to secure the title.

Photo by John Milton -

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Laidler Conference: Widnes Wild Weekend Match Reports

Sheffield Senators 7 Widnes Wild 2

Wild saved their most disappointing performance of 2014 for their greatest travelling support , on Saturday night. Around half the sparse crowd were supporting the Wild. After Chris Preston broke clear in the 3rd minute only to see his shot saved , Senators opened the scoring in the 6th minute. Sheffield hit hard on the break and were three goals ahead inside fourteen minutes. Only a series of brilliant saves from Wild netminder Steve Gilmartin kept Senators at bay.

Bobby Caunce scored the goal of the game for Widnes at 28.30. He was sent clear from his own blue line by  Ratcliffe and Evans, fending off chasing defenders to slot in by the left hand post.

A third period goal from Shaun Dipnall at 48.35 was Wilds only other score. He took a long pass out of defence to skate on to fire a low shot past Robert Browne.

In an error strewn game, Wild never reached the heights of recent weeks. The team lacked energy and indecision in defence led to several avoidable goals. Netminder Steve Gilmartin deservedly took the MVP for the visitors - several remarkable saves being highlights of a lacklustre performance.

Widnes Wild 2 Coventry Blaze 6

This was a much improved performance from Widnes. The only line up change was Geoff Wigglesworth for unavailable Dan Bracegirdle. Coventry, making their first visit to Silverblades, were shortbenched but featured a strong skating line up.

The game started at a furious pace with end to end action. However it was Coventry who took a fifth minute lead - Josh Nicklin scoring with an angled shot from the right of the net. Sustained pressure from the Wild kept Blaze netminder, Connor Ranby,  busy. Frantic action round the Coventry net was matched by some resolute defending. The speedy Coventry forwards broke clear in the 14th minute for German captain Philip Pollock to add a second goal. Widnes reacted strongly but just two minutes later controversy entered the game.
Geoff Wigglesworth attempted to take possession in the corner when challenged by big Blaze defenceman Thomas Pease. Wigglesworth fell to the ice and eventually got to his feet with facial cuts. A high sticking call saw Pease ejected from the game and an early interval to enable the ice to be cleaned. As the game resumed, sustained pressure from the home side, should have seen a Widnes opening goal. Several excellent saves from Ranby and a desperate poke check kept them scoreless. Controversially the puck entered the Blaze net but was ruled out by referee, Blaine Evans.

After the teams changed ends, the tense contest continued ,Widnes eventually getting on the scoreboard. Young defenceman Tom Jackson firing home from an acute angle. Minutes earlier Callum Ruddick's long range effort was ruled out for offside.As on the previous evening Steve Gilmartin's agility kept out a number of Coventry shots.

The third period opened with further Wild pressure and a fine snap shot from Wigglesworth narrowly missed the top corner of the net. Eventually an equaliser came in the 46th minute - the puck finding Shaun Dipnall in front of the net and the forward shooting insine Ranby's right hand post. The goal lifted another big Widnes crowd and a home win looked a distinct possibility. Both teams battled for ascendancy but it was the visitors who got the vital third in the 51st minute. A great break up the ice saw Louis Brindle fire high into the net.

As the home side battled for the equaliser and with both teams tiring , Charlie Hamilton got the vital fourth for the Blaze- a high shot from the blue line beating Steve Gilmartin. Following an altercation at the Widnes end big Tony Melbourne was dismissed for striking an opponent in the 56th minute. Blaze took advantage of the extra man to add two further goals to give the score a one sided look.

This was a much improved show against third placed Blaze. The big crowd appreciated a strong team effort from Wild. They are at home again on Sunday 16th March ( 18.45) when local rivals Deeside Dragons are the opponents.

The Wild annual Presentation Night takes place in April at the Ford Social Club. Fans will be welcome to attend, have supper and meet the players. Full details and tickets are available on match nights.

Reports by Richard Gillingham
Photos by Geoff White –




Monday 3 March 2014

South 2: Haringey Racers' 4 Point Weekend

The CVS Haringey Racers enjoyed the greatest weekend of their season so far, as a record crowd of 792 witnessed a 10-2 St David's Day demolition of Cardiff at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, before a thrilling 5-4 win over the reigning league champions away at Oxford City Stars on Sunday. 
Haringey jumped out to a three goal lead inside the first ten minutes on Saturday, with Matt Brown scoring in the opening minute and Sean Martin adding a quick fire brace. Owen Griffiths pulled on back for the visitors but Ricky Rutherford restored the cushion before the first break. 
Haringey goaltender Ian Shepherd pulled up with a recurrent injury after the first period, so impressive youngster Sam Calder stepped between the pipes and churned out a man of the match performance over the next two periods.  Griffiths scored again for Cardiff after the restart but the Racers pressed on with captain Lee Mercer and Ricky Mills increasing the lead before the end of the second period. 
The hosts then ran away in the final stanza, with Ben Osborne scoring his first goal for Haringey, Mills completing a brace, Anthony Child grabbing a powerplay goal and Martin completing a hat-trick in the last few minutes.
Tempers boiled over in the final minute of the game and Racers' power forward Mason Webster fought with Cardiff's Tom Smith and as both went to ground Webster hit his head on the ice and sustained a very nasty cut above the eye. 
Shepherd was still ruled out for Sunday, so Calder started but Webster was back and ready to play and the Racers took the lead again when Ricky Rutherford found the target in the 12th minute. Oxford levelled through Joshua Oliver late in the period only for  Martin to pounce again before the buzzer and restore the lead. 
Martin doubled his tally and Haringey's lead after the restart with an early goal but Oxford's Alan Green scored on the powerplay to keep them within touching distance. Webster hit straight back as Haringey tried to pull away again and they went into the second break 4-2 up. 
Oxford came out hard in the tense final stanza and punished Haringey for taking penalties when two powerplay goals from Jeff Sykora and Joshua Florey pulled the champs level with ten minutes left to play. The Racers needed a hero, and they found one in experienced defenceman Rob Jenner, when his shot from the blue line deflected off an Oxford defenceman and into the net for the winning goal, with five minutes to go.
The Racers then clung on for a nervy but memorable finish to a momentous weekend.
Sam Park
Photos: top - Ricky Mills, bottom Rob Jenner - both by Sam Park

NIHL South 1 Cup Semi Finals: Streatham and Chelmsford Through to Final!

Following two 4-4 draws on Saturday night, there was still much to play for in the second legs of both semi-finals as Streatham Redskins travelled away to face Invicta Dynamos and Chelmsford Chieftains hosted Wightlink Raiders.

In Chelmsford, the Chieftains led throughout and beat the Raiders 3-1 to go through to the final 7-5 on aggregate.

There was high drama in Gillingham as the Streatham Redskins fought back from 9-4 down after 33 minutes to tie 9-9 and then go on to win the penalty shoot out.

The South 1 Cup final will take place over the weekend on 29th and 30th March with Streatham playing at home in the first leg.

You can read a full match report of the Streatham game here:

Photo: Invicta Dynamos v Streatham Redskins by David Trevallion

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend Of 1st & 2nd March 2014

Solway Sharks – who have already secured the title for this season – had a 4 point weekend, beating play off hopefuls Sutton Sting 5-2 at home on Saturday and then winning 4-2 away at second place Blackburn Hawks on Sunday.

Third place Billingham Stars boosted their own play off hopes with a 9-2 win away at Telford Titans on Saturday night while north east neighbours Whitley Warriors made the most of Sutton’s slip up and their 7-1 home win over Manchester Minotaurs on Sunday saw them move up into the 4th play off slot.

Sheffield Spartans 4-1 win away at Manchester on Saturday keeps them just 1 point off the play off positions, although they have played more games than the teams immediately above them.

At the bottom of the table, plucky Telford Titans picked up only their 2nd win of the season away at Sheffield Spartans on Sunday.  The Shropshire side led throughout and triumphed 4-2, despite being outshot by 59 to 23.

Photo by John Milton -

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend Of 1st & 2nd March 2014

Both teams at the top of the Laidler Conference won at the weekend, with league leaders Solihull Barons beating last season’s champions Nottingham Lions 7-0 on their own ice and second place Deeside Dragons edging a close fought home encounter with Sheffield Senators 3-2.

That was the Barons’ 17th win in a row and they remain 5 points clear of the Dragons at the top of the table with 5 games still to play.   Deeside only have 4 games left to play and the title may well be decided before the top two meet for the final time at Hobs Moat Road in the last game of the season on 30th March.

The Lions’ 4th defeat in a row sees them lose ground on 3rd place Coventry Blaze who moved 4 poinst clear following their 6-2 win away at Widnes Wild.  The Wild also lost 7-2 away at Sheffield Senators on Saturday night , being outshot 39-16, after which Widnes netminder Steve Gilmartin received his 3rd MVP in 3 games.

Photo: Deeside's first goal - Peter Sheffield,

Saturday 1 March 2014

NIHL South 1 Cup - Semi Finals 1st Leg

In the first legs of the two semi finals, Streatham Redskins drew 4-4 at home to Invicta Dynamos while Wightlink Raiders also drew 4-4 at home to Chelmsford Chieftains.

The second legs of both ties take place tomorrow evening with the respective winners meeting in a two-legged final.

NIHL North - Saturday Round Up

Moralee Conference champions Solway Sharks beat 4th place Sutton Sting 5-2 (in photo) to move 5 points clear of second place Blackburn Hawks.

In the battle for final play off positions, third place Billingham Stars moved to within 1 point of Blackburn after a 9-2 win away at bottom club Telford Titans.

Sheffield Spartans won 4-1 away at Manchester Minotaurs and move into 5th place above Whitley Warriors, albeit having played 2 games more.

In the Laidler Conference, Sheffield Senators beat Widnes Wild 7-2 to leapfrog them into 6th place.

Photo by David Morrison -