Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 26th & 27th December 2015

There was just one fixture in the Laidler Conference and Blackburn Eagles picked up a huge point in a 5-5 home draw against league leaders Deeside Dragons. 

The Dragons actually outshot the Eagles 32 to 61 over the course of the game and won the first period 0-2. But the Eagles scored 4 unanswered goals in the period to lead 4-2 overall and, even after Deeside fought  back to draw, the Eagles led 5-4 going in to the last 5 minutes.

Deeside Dragons remain top of the table with a 5 point lead over second placed Widnes Wild who have played a game less.

Widnes didn’t have a Laidler Conference match and instead played a charity game against the Widnes-based Riverside Raiders recreational team. The game was played in aid of the Ronald McDonald House charity and a cup was presented in memory of Antony Morris – a Widnes rec player who died recently after an accident.

In order to balance out the relative playing strengths of the two teams, Widnes Wild’s player coach Scott McKenzie iced for the Raiders as did some other guest players in the shape of former Wild player Dan Bracegirdle, Altrincham Ace Mikey Gilbert and Women’s GB internationals Sarah Hutchinson and Nicole Jackson.  Jesse McClure - star of TV’s “Storage Wars” - also played for the Raiders team.

The game was quite close early on but eventually finished 11-3 to the Wild. Jackson performed heroics in the Raiders net and helped to keep the game fairly competitive until Widnes ran away with it in the last period.   

Photo:  Deeside Dragons score the first goal away at Blackburn Eagles (photo by Peter Sheffield www.psd-photos.com)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 26th & 27th December 2015

There was just one game in the Moralee Conference at the weekend and Blackburn Hawks moved further ahead at the top of the table with a 2-5 win away at Solihull Barons. They now lead Whitley Warriors by three points and have a game in hand.

The weekend before Christmas saw the Hawks pick up three more points – winning 5-2 at home to Billingham Stars on the Saturday and then grabbing a dramatic last minute equaliser away to Whitley in a 4-4 draw.

Solihull Barons moved up to 3rd place in the table after  a 9-4 home win over Sutton Sting and remain in that position after their game against the Hawks.

Sheffield Spartans and Sheffield Senators had back to back “home and away” games at iceSheffield the weekend before Christmas and, while league points were the priority, they decided to use the occasion to also play their annual Winter Classic fixture as a two leg affair.

The Spartans won the Winter Classic cup last year and also triumphed this year winning their away game 3-7 and then winning the home tie 10-2. So the cup and 4 important Moralee Conference points went to the Spartans.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Bumper Crowd For Widnes Charity Match In Aid Of Ronald McDonald House

GB Women's international netminder Nicole Jackson in action
Photo by Graham Warren
A huge festive crowd turned out to watch two Widnes-based teams play a special challenge match for charity at the Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes.

The Widnes Wild Laidler Conference side took on the Riverside Raiders recreational team and while that might sound little one -sided it was all in a very good cause and the Raiders team was bolstered with a few guest players to balance things out a bit.

The final score was 11-3 to the Wild and might well have been lot more had it not been for the heroics of women's GB International netminder Nicole Jackson (in photo) who played most the game in the Raiders net.

The game was played for the Antony Morris Cup - which will now be annual event. The trophy has been named in memory of the Widnes Wildcats rec player who died recently after an accident. Members of Antony's family attended the game and performed the ceremonial dropping of the puck at the start.

We have already covered the guest players who were icing for the Raiders in a previous news posting (here) but there were also some players guesting for the Widnes Wild team as well.   Netminder Barry Sprakes played in goal for the Wild and had a very good game against some of his regular teammates and it was also nice to see British League veteran player Richard Charles making an appearance as well. 

Charles is an assistant coach with the Wild and played a few games for them in their debut 2013/14 season.  He learnt his hockey with the highly successful Dundee club in the 1980s and also played for Blackburn Hawks and Fife Flyers in the 1990s. 

It was all just a bit of fun so there isn't really a need for "who did what when" type of match report but just for the record, here is a list of the players who played for  each team  and details of the scorers.

Scott McKenzie as a Riverside Raider
Photo by Graham Warren
Sunday 27th December 2015 – Antony Morris Cup Charity Game
Widnes Wild 11 – Riverside Raiders 3
Period Scores: 3-1, 3-1, 5-1
Penalties In Minutes: Wild 2 – Raiders 2

Wild Team (Scoring In Brackets):
George Crawshaw (1+2), Ken Armstrong, Dan Bullock (0+2), Geoff Wigglesworth (0+4), Lee Kemp, Michal Fico (4+0), Calum Ruddick, Richard Charles, Chris Gee (0+2), Chris Preston (1+0), Kieran Strangeway (0+1), Tom Jackson, Sheldon Cassidy (3+2), Shaun Dipnall (2+2), Barry Sprakes (NM)   

Raiders Team (Scoring in Brackets):
Nicole Jackson (NM), Nick Jackson, Martyn Hully (NM), James Mansfield, Matthew Lennox, Josh Grocutt (0+1), Geraint Lewis (1+0), Adam Jenkins, Michael Gilbert, Jack Walker, Jesse McClure, Jon Anderson (0+1), Michael Stevenson, Sarah Hutchinson, Dan Bracegirdle (0+1), Tom Court, Jordan Birtwistle, Tony Smallwood (1+0), Scott McKenzie (1+0)

Photos by Graham Warren - see more of his great ice hockey photos  HERE    

Friday, 25 December 2015

Raiders Line Up Complete For Antony Morris Cup Game At Widnes - 27th December

The final two guest players have been announced for the Riverside Raiders squad to face Widnes Wild in the Antony Morris Cup game at Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes on Sunday 27th December.

Former Widnes Wild player Dan Bracegirdle will be lining up against his former teammates in their game which is being played to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House charity at Alder Hey Hospital. Dan started out as a junior at Blackburn and played for Fylde Flyers in NIHL North 2 for 2 seasons and then had 2 successful seasons with Widnes Wild.

Dan Bracegirdle - photo by Geoff White
(www.gw-images.co.uk)
 
The other addition to the Raiders side is a bit of a celebrity away from the ice as he is Jess McClure from the TV show “Storage Hunters”. 

The game has been dedicated to the memory of Widnes rec player Antony Morris who died recently after an accident and is sponsored by Sprakes Transport Services Ltd.

The game faces off at 5.30pm on Sunday and doors open at 4.45.  Admission is £6 for adults and £3 for children  

Monday, 21 December 2015

Blackburn Charity Pony Tail Chop

Blackburn Hawks fan Bryan Shuttleworth had his long-time trademark pony tail cut off for charity in the centre of the ice during the Hawks home game with Billingham on Saturday.

Supporters were invited to make donations to Bryan’s "Jon Adams Hair Chop Fundraiser" in memory of the former Hawks import who died earlier this year.   

Monies collected will be split between the MIND charity and the Jon Adams Foundation in Canada. Bryan has raised $197 so far but you can still support his fundraising effort by visiting the website  HERE

Photo:  Charline Lo cuts off Bryan Shuttleworth’s pony tail at the Blackburn v Billingham game on Saturday. Photo by John Milton – www.eventog.uk

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 19th & 20th December 2015

Deeside Dragons drew further ahead at the top of the Laidler Conference table after a 7-1 home win over bottom team Coventry Blaze. They now have a 4 point advantage over second place Widnes Wild – who didn’t have a game at the weekend – and who have played the same number of games.

Third place Nottingham Lions drew 4-4 away at Hull Jets and draw to within 1 point of Widnes having played a game more.   

On Sunday evening, Blackburn Eagles continued their excellent season with an 8-5 home win over near rivals Altrincham Aces.

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 19th & 20th December 2015

Blackburn Hawks returned to the top of the table after a three point weekend that saw them beat Billingham Stars at home and then get a draw away at Whitley Warriors. 

They saw off the Stars 5-2 at home on the Saturday night and then travelled back from the North East with a 4-4 draw having snatched an equaliser in the very last minute.

Those results leave the Hawks 1 point clear at the top of the table having played two games fewer than Whitley – who they play again at home in early January.

Solihull Barons moved head of their west Midlands rivals Telford Tigers into 3rd place following a 9-4 win at home to Sutton Sting.  The Barons are 1 point ahead of the Tigers having played the same number of games.   

The other Moralee games of the weekend saw Sheffield Spartans and Sheffield Senators meet “home and away” at iceSheffield.  The Spartans won 3-7 away and 10-2 at home leaving the Senators rock bottom of the table without a single point from their 17 games to date.

Friday, 18 December 2015

First Guest Players Named for Widnes Festive Charity Match

The first of the guest players who will be turning out in the charity match at Silver Blades Widnes on 27th December have been unveiled.

The game is between Widnes Wild who compete in the Laidler Conference of the National Ice Hockey League and Widnes based Riverside Raiders who are a recreational team – albeit with some very good players of their own.

In order to help bridge the gap in standards between the two teams, it has been agreed that Widnes Wild’s top scorer this season so far – player coach and former Elite league player Scott McKenzie will not play but will run the Wild’s bench for the game and the Raiders team will also be boosted by 5 guest players.   

Three of the 5 guest players have been announced so far with the other two names to follow in the next few days. 

Those named to date are:

Mikey Gilbert

1) Former Widnes Wild netminder Nicole Jackson (in main photo). Nicole is a GB women’s international player and currently plays for the Bradford Bulldogs (men’s senior team) in the Laidler Conference. As was as having played previously for Widnes, she has also played – among others - for the Kingston Diamonds women’s team, Manchester Minotaurs and Newcastle Vipers, with whom she won the ENL North 2 title in the 2009/10 season.

2) 18 year old Mikey Gilbert who plays as a forward for the Altrincham Aces in the Laidler Conference. He has come up through the Manchester / Trafford junior development system and played for Manchester Minotaurs in NIHL North 1 last season. He has represented England and has scored 3 goals and 9 assists for the Aces so far this season. 

3) Also turning out for the Riverside Raiders is Sarah Hutchinson who is another Team GB women’s international.  She plays for Bradford Bulldogs and has previously played for Manchester Minotaurs and the Kingston Diamonds and Sheffield Shadows women’s teams.

Sarah Hutchinson
Photo by Rob Hutchinson
The game faces off at 5.30pm on Sunday 27th December at the Silver Blades ice rink at Widnes WA8 0TA. Admission is £6 for adults and £3 for children. 

For anybody who hasn’t been to an ice hockey match before, the charity game at the Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes on the day after Boxing Day would be a nice occasion for the whole family to go out and do something together and support a good cause at the same time.

The other two guest players will be announced here shortly and, in the meantime, you can find out more about the Widnes Wild ice hockey team at www.widnesicehockey.co.uk

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

S2 Cup Report: Haringey Racers 7 - Bristol Pitbulls 5

Photo by Flyfifer Photography - www.flyfifer.co.uk
The 1st period was a very even but sluggish affair.  The Racers scored at 03:15 when Josh Abbott was fed by Josh Ealey-Newman to open the scoring.  Just over 4 minutes later, at 07:30 Bristol equalised with Olly Shone scoring from a Richie Hargreaves pass.  Unlike recent games there were no penalties at all in the period and Bristol marginally outshot Racers 13-12.

Racers upped their game in the 2nd period scoring 3 unanswered goals.  Racers 2nd goal saw Drew Campbell win the faceoff, passing the puck back to Mark Sunders who fed Josh Ealey-Newman who skated away and scored. The 3rd and 4th goals were scored just 19 seconds apart in the 34th minute. Daniel Clayton scoring both.  The second of those being a tap in at the far post after Matt Brown thought he had already scored but the puck hadn’t crossed the line.

The 3rd period was a period of two halves.  Racers came out where they left off in the 2nd and scored another 3 goals with Josh Abbott and Daniel Clayton both completing their hat tricks to put the home team 7-1 up. However in the last 10 minutes Bristol started to play some good hockey and scored 4 unanswered goals.  When the score was 7-4 we saw the unusual situation where Bristol pulled their netminder.  This had the desired effect and Bristol scored their 5th goal.

This leaves us top of the cup table with just 2 games against Swindon to play in the new year. Racers needs 2 points from these games to qualify for the cup final weekend which will be played at Alexandra Palace on the weekend of the 9/10 April.


Racers: Clayton 3+0, Abbott 3+0, Ealey-Newman 1+2, Brown 0+3, Tull 0+2, Saunders 0+1, Campbell 0+1
Shepherd 46 shots/5 goals 89.13%

Bristol: O Shone 2+1, Smith 1+1, S Shone 1+0, Pettitt 1+0, Newton 0+1, Abu Saada 0+1, M Hargreaves 0+1, R Hargreaves 0+1, J Dolphin 0+1, Prince 0+1

Leckie    22 shots/5 goals 77.27%  /  Dibble    9 shots/2 goals 77.78%

MOM: Racers    Josh Abbott / Bristol    Logan Prince

Report  by : Tim Stuart"

Laidler Report: Altrincham Aces 2- Widnes Wild 5

Widnes Wild made the short journey to Altrincham on Sunday securing a great win thanks to five unanswered goals after going two goals down in the first period. 

The Altrincham Aces started strongly when Jared Dickinson put the Aces in the lead after four minutes with a rocket of a shot from the blueline.  Five minutes later the Aces scored their final goal of the game when a clinical pass down the centre of the ice to Jaroslav Kucej enabled him to breakaway and beat Wild goalie, Greg Ruxton, in a one-on-one contest.  Despite increasing Wild pressure they were unable to find the back of the Aces net and the period ended with the home side enjoying a two goal lead.

It took eight minutes into the second period before the Wild scored the first of their five unanswered goals when Scott McKenzie won a faceoff in the Aces zone and then quickly passed to Geoff Wigglesworth who slotted the puck into the Aces net.  The Aces then weathered a storm of Wild pressure before Wigglesworth added a second Wild goal with two minutes left in the period.  The Wild equaliser spurred the Aces into action however the Wild defence was able to neutralise any threat and the period ended with both teams tied on two goals apiece.

On the third minute of the third period, the Wild fans saw the team take the lead for the first time thanks to a spectacular goal from David Swanston, his first in a Wild uniform.  The Wild taking the lead saw the intensity of the game soar and the Aces lose their composure leading to the Wild’s Scott McKenzie being able to find the back of the net for the Wilds fourth goal.

Three minutes later the Wild lit the lamp for the last of their five unanswered goals when George Crawshaw took advantage of a Shaun Dippnall inch perfect pass, underlining the Wild dominance and giving the huge Wild travelling support an early Christmas present in the form of 2 points and second place in the league.

Reported by Jess Cowie

Laidler Report: Nottingham Lions 1 - Deeside Dragons 7

Deeside Dragons' Adrian Palak
Photo by Peter Sheffield - www.psd-images.co.uk
“We’re on our way” – that’s the message from Dragons boss Lol Paul, following Sunday’s 7-1 defeat of title rivals Nottingham Lions.

Victory at the National Ice Centre means Deeside are now four points clear at the top of the Lailder Conference, with a game in hand. Paul believes the win was timely revenge for his side’s only loss of the season so far, at the hands of Nottingham in October. And he hailed a “true team performance” against the Lace City outfit.

Paul said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the win, as we rolled four lines all night long and everyone worked so well together. Even the younger guys got stuck in and had regular shifts. It was a true team performance from everyone in my squad. Our firepower told in the end and it shows we’re on our way. I don’t even think we’ve hit our true potential yet.”

The Chester Road men did, in fact, go behind after just eight minutes in Nottingham, as the hosts looked to establish an early cushion. But goals from Simon Furnival, Marc Lovell and Adrian Palak handed Deeside a 3-1 lead ahead of the first interval.

The second session proved to be decisive, with strikes from Palak, Filip Supa, Furnival and Ross Kennedy securing two points for The Dragons.

Paul added: “I feel happy for every single one of my players. They really deserve to be where they are at the moment and the table doesn’t lie. I’ve said before that having Nottingham beat us early in the season probably did us a favour. It was a wake-up call. This year is about building the players up, both physically and mentally. That is really paying off for us now.”

The Dragons are back in action on Saturday night, when they host Coventry Blaze at Deeside Ice Rink. Face-off is at 7pm

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 12th & 13th December 2015

Bradford Bulldogs v Hull Jets - by Rob Hutchinson
In the Laidler Conference, league leaders Deeside Dragons won 1-7 away at previous table toppers Nottingham Lions.  The Lions scored first but were already 1-3 down by the first break and seemed unable to make any impression against the marauding Dragons, despite outshooting the visitors overall 40 to 38.


The other game on Sunday night saw second place Widnes Wild come from 2 goals down to pick up an important 2-5 win away at ever improving Altrincham Aces.  In an incredibly closely fought game, Widnes player coach Scott McKenzie appeared to be the big difference ash he hits 1+4 and had a hand in every Wild goal.

Deeside Dragons  lead the Laidler Conference with 25 points from 14 games.  Widnes are second with 23 points from 15 games and Nottingham are third with 21 points from 15 games.   The top three are pulling away from the chasing pack as 4th place Blackburn Eagles have 16 points from 13 games.

In the other Laidler game of the weekend, Hull Jets put an end to their 9 game losing streak stretching back to the end of September with a 5-7 win away at Bradford Bulldogs. 

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 12th & 13th December 2015

Blackburn Hawks edged closer to league leaders Whitley Warriors with a hard fought 4-point weekend.  On Saturday night they won 1-8 away at third placed Telford Tigers and then on Sunday they beat the Warriors 5-4 in a game that wasn’t decided until the very last seconds.  

The Hawks are now just 1 point behind the Warriors with two games in hand. The two teams meet again both home and away over the next couple of weeks  and, with a 6 point gap between the top two and the chasing pack, it already looks as if it will be a two-horse race to the finish.

Should the two teams finish level on points at the end of the season, it will be results in matches between them that decide who finishes top.  Whitley currently have the upper hand by virtue of their two goal winning margin in the game at Hillheads on 6th December.

The other Moralee game of the weekend saw Solway Sharks’ home match called off for the second week running. Visitors Sutton Sting were unable to get to Dumfries due to adverse weather and travelling conditions.   

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Widnes Charity Game - 27th December 2015 in Aid of Ronald McDonald Houses Charity

Here’s a great way of having a good family fun night out over the Christmas period and supporting a really good cause at the same time.

Widnes Wild and Riverside Raiders will be staging a charity ice hockey match at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Widnes (WA8 0TA) on Sunday 27th December 2015 in aid of the Ronald McDonald Houses.

The game will be the first in what will become an annual challenge for the “Antony Morris Memorial Cup” which has been donated in memory of the Widnes player who died recently after an accident. (Read more HERE)

The game faces off at 5.30pm the day after Boxing Day with doors opening at 4.45.  Admission is £6 for adults and £3 for children.

If you haven’t been to an ice hockey match before, this would be a great opportunity to give it a try!

The Ronald McDonald  Houses provide free accommodation for families while their child is in hospital and enable parents to stay as close as possible to the children's ward, greatly reducing the need to travel and all of its associated stresses and costs at such a difficult time.

You can find out more about the Ronald McDonald Houses charity here: www.rmhc.org.uk

Antony Morris Memorial Cup In Memory Of Widnes Player

The Widnes Wild & Riverside Raiders are delighted to announce that their Charity game on December 27th will be named after local Ice Hockey Player Antony Morris, who sadly passed away recently.

Widnes Wild Head Coach Scott Mckenzie had this to say about the news:"To be able to name this game after Antony is a massive honour for the Widnes Wild & Riverside Raiders. I was fortunate enough to have spent time on the ice with Antony during the summer when I first arrived here in Widnes and also on the Clarke & Co Hockey Camp, so to learn about his passing was a real shock to me. I am glad that we can create a memorial cup that will be named in his honour and played for annually."

 Sprakes & Sons have kindly offered to sponsor the event. This is what they had to say about the Antony Morris Memorial Cup and being a part of it:

‘We at Sprakes & Sons Ltd already sponsor Widnes Wild so when we heard that a new cup was to be played for annually in Widnes we thought it would be a perfect idea to sponsor this cup and name it the Antony Morris Memorial Cup in memory of Antony.’

Antony's family and his fiancee were contacted to ask if they would be agreeable to this gesture and they said that they appreciated all the support and respect that the Widnes Ice Hockey family have shown towards Antony, and that he himself would have been delighted and honoured to have a cup in his name.

The Widnes Wild and Riverside Raiders will be raising money for Ronald McDonald House on the evening of the game so we urge fans to come down and enjoy the game of ice hockey, played the right way, for a great cause, in memory of a great man.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Laidler Report: Widnes Wild 8 - Bradford Eagles 4

The Widnes Wild returned to home action on Sunday evening to face the Blackburn Eagles in an NIHL Laidler Conference league game. 

This however was the follow on from Saturday nights clash between the two sides over in Blackburn. Goals from Scott McKenzie  (2), Geoff Wigglesworth (2), Sheldon Cassidy, George Crawshaw & Michal Fico saw the Wild leave Lancashire with 2 points.

The game was somewhat marred by a very nasty injury to Wild player and fans favourite Pavel Vales. A stick to the face sending the Wild player hurling to the Ice and requiring hospital and dental treatment.

Sundays game started with the Eagles piling on the pressure and grabbing an early advantage. Michal Fico quickly responded on the power play but Blackburn managed to get a go ahead goal to give the Lancashire side a 2-1 lead heading into the first period break.

Following on from the previous evening, the Wild players were showing extreme class by not retaliating to some real nasty stick work from the Eagles players. The second period would end 4-4, with Wild goals coming from Shaun Dippnall, Kieron, Strangeway & a second from Michal Fico. 

The third period is where the Wild showed their true grit. Some slick hockey opening up the tired Eagles defence to score 4 unanswered goals. Scott McKenzie (2), Shaun Dippnall & Geoff Wigglesworth rounding off the scoring for the Halton side. 

Four points was the call from Coach Mckenzie and that's what he got. A delighted Coach had this to say about the weekends results and incidents;

'A really gritty performance from the guys. Of course we made mistakes throughout the weekend but we never really looked beaten at any stage. Blackburn play a really physical game which in turn gave us a lot of powerplays, I think that's where we really dominated over the 2 games, our powerplay was great. It is very unfortunate what happened to Pavel Vales, no one likes to see anyone get hurt and as a club it is our duty to protect our players and make sure we help them at every cost. We are not happy with the way Pavel was hurt and we will deal with it accordingly.'

The Wild have one more league game of 2015 against Altrincham Aces on Sunday 13th December. The next home fixture is the Charity game on the 27th of December, 17:30 face off at Silver Blades, Widnes.

Photo: Widnes Player Coach Scott McKenzie slots in his penalty shot to make the score 6-4 on Sunday evening. (Geoff White - www.gw-images.co.uk)

Laidler Report: Deeside Dragons 4- Hull Jets 2

“Every game is a final for us” – that’s the challenge from Deeside Dragons coach Lol Paul, following Saturday’s night’s 4-2 win over Hull Jets.

The Chester Road men survived an early scare, when the visitors snatched a goal after just four minutes of the first period.

Deeside had to wait until the 36th minute to equalise, as Hull threatened to turn the Laidler Conference form book on its head. And a Dragons rally late in the third period sealed the points against a determined Jets outfit.

Paul said: “It was really close tonight and I think the way our team plays is governed by the way we start games. We began slowly against a team with young kids in cages, trying to prove themselves.

“The effort they put in stunned us a little bit and credit to Hull, they put an awful lot of effort in. We got the puck up as fast as we could and eventually triumphed.

“We look at it as every game is a final for us. Other teams are bringing their A game, so we won’t get any easy matches. They’re coming out firing on all cylinders, so I’m proud of the lads tonight.”

That early Hull strike was cancelled out by Filip Supa on 36 minutes, before the Jets regained the lead with just eight minutes of the game remaining.

An immediate reply from Marc Lovell pulled Deeside back level on 55 minutes, ahead of further goals from Supa and Alex Parry.

Paul added: “The result is always more important than the performance and I’ve said before that sometimes we have to win ugly.

“It’s no good playing well and putting in 50 shots if you then lose 5-0. Tonight we faced a very determined Hull side and the history books will show that we won.”

Match Report: Peterborough Islanders 9 - Haringey Racers 3

An excellent showing from the Peterborough Islanders inflicted a heavy defeat on the Racers at Bretton Way.

Haringey started brightly enough with Drew Campbell opening the scoring in the 10th minute, swatting the puck home out of mid-air. However, a series of individual mistakes helped the Islanders seize the initiative. Campbell coughed up the puck on the blue line and James White’s deflected shot found the net. Then a speculative, short-handed effort from Nathan Pollard squirmed through Niks Trapans and, in the referee’s opinion, made it fully over the line. Finally, a misplaced Mark Saunders pass allowed the Islanders to promptly set up Connor Stokes for Peterborough’s third.

Into the second period and the hosts continued applying the pressure. Close range tip-in goals from Conor Pollard and James Pentecost opened up a 5-1 lead. Stokes added the sixth after Trapans had saved the first two shots but could not keep out the third and Kenny Bavin made it seven with a tap-in.

Haringey rallied with Daniel Clayton grabbing a goal on a wrap-around chance and Perry Richardson added a Racers’ third, banking the puck into the goal off Dan Lane’s shoulder. Any hopes of a recovery soon faded when Clint Herring was all alone in front of goal to add Peterborough’s eighth.

A quiet third period came to life when a brief fight broke out between Racer Conor Sheehan and Islander Jack Sansby three minutes from time. Peterborough added a ninth goal in the dying seconds with Bradley Moore beating Trapans when put clean though by Pentecost.

Racers return to home to the Palace for a crucial cup game against Bristol Pitbulls on Saturday 12th December (face off 5:30pm).

Islanders scoring: Connor Stokes 2+0, Bradley Moore 1+3, James Pentecost 1+2, James White 1+1, Nathan Pollard 1+1, Conor Pollard 1+1, Kenny Bavin 1+1, Clint Herring 1+0, Shaun Yardley 0+4, Craig Wallis 0+1, Alexander Cleves 0+1, Callum Worthington-Evans 0+1

Racers scoring: Drew Campbell 1+0, Daniel Clayton 1+0, Perry Richardson 1+0, Josh Abbott 0+2

Shots on Goal: 37 on Dan Lane (Islanders) / 54 on Niks Trapans (Racers)

Man of the Match: Jonathan Brammall (Islanders) / Perry Richardson (Racers)

Report by Tim Stuart

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend Of 5th & 6th December 2015

Deeside Dragons took over at the top of the Laidler Conference with 2 wins over the weekend. They narrowly beat Hull Jets 4-2 at home on Saturday despite being outshot 34-53 and clocking up 67 PIMs and then had a slightly easier time away at bottom team Coventry Blaze, where they won 1-9.

The Dragons are now two points ahead of previous leaders Nottingham Lions – who didn’t play at the weekend and who have played a game more.

The other Laidler games of the weekend saw 3rd and 4th place Widnes Wild and Blackburn Eagles meet home and away in two bruising that saw the Wild victorious on both occasions.

On Saturday night they beat the Eagles 2-7 away in Blackburn in a game that saw an unsavoury incident that required import defenceman Pavel Vales to be rushed to hospital for emergency dental surgery.  The Wild were leading 5-0 by the time the Eagles scored their first in the 42nd minute.

24 hours later on Merseyside, the game was a much closer affair. Blackburn scored first and actually led 1-2 at the first break.  At the second break it was a seat-edge 4-4 and the Eagles were looking much the better team but then another unsavoury incident changed the face of the game.

Eagles’ normally well-mannered Bobby Caunce picked up a2+10 penalty for checking from behind on Widnes coach Scott McKenzie after the buzzer had sounded for the end of the period and Eagles player coach Scott Barnett also got a 10 minute penalty at the same time.

Widnes scored two goals while the errant pair were unavailable including a penalty shot for a challenge on McKenzie and the game was lost.   A couple more Wild strikes towards the end of the period made the score flattering the home side. The weekend put to an end the Eagles impressive run of 5 straight wins and also elevated Widnes to second in the table, level on points with Nottingham Lions but with a better playing record.
 
Photos - top: a moving minute's silence in memory of Widnes rec player Antony Morris
Bottom:  "Air The Bear" teddy toss at Widnes in aid of local children's charities

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 5th & 6th December 2015

Blackburn Hawks lost their first league game in almost 2 years with a 4-2 defeat away at Moralee Conference leaders Whitley Warriors. The Hawks are now five points behind in second place but have 4 games in hand over the Warriors. The two teams play each three more times in the next 4 weeks.

Third place Telford Tigers saw their game away at Solway Sharks called off at the last minute after the match officials failed to arrive due to road closures and flooding. An attempt to secure local officials to ensure that the game could go ahead was unsuccessful so the Tigers made the long journey home again without setting foot on the ice.

4th place Solihull Barons closed the gap on Telford with their 6-2 win at home to Sutton Sting and are just 1 point behind having played the same number of games.

The other Moralee game of the weekend saw Billingham Stars move back up into 5th place after an 11-4 win over bottom club Sheffield Senators.  

Photo by Steve Pollitt

Monday, 30 November 2015

Match Report: Chelmsford Warriors 9 - Haringey Racers 1

A poor, ill-disciplined performance from the Racers returned a heavy defeat at league leaders Chelmsford Warriors.

The first period went well enough with both teams continuing the tight, competitive hockey from the previous week’s game. A Warriors goal from Ross Cowan in the 15th minute was matched by an effort from Dan Clayton for the Racers in the 20th minute leaving the game nicely poised at 1-1 after an entertaining session.

Haringey lost their way from that point on. At times this Warriors team can be a shade too fast for the Racers and they can therefore punish any lack of defensive shape with their slick play. The Haringey players and bench also seemed to be affected by some inconsistent refereeing and lost their discipline, taking a string of slashing, cross-checking and elbows penalties, some of which were simply petulant. Warriors goals from Brandon Ayliffe, Edward Lay and Jake Sylvester (x2) opened up a 5-1 lead by the end of the second period.

A multi-player brawl formed part of an ugly third period with Drew Campbell and Alastair Band perhaps lucky to get away with lenient 2+2+10 calls. There were also two unfortunate (and separate) blood injuries to Warriors’ Will Polston and Racers’ Jack Ball late in the game – with the necessary Match Penalties going to Lee Mercer and Sylvester respectively. Around these incidents, Chelmsford added four more goals, all on the power-play, with Taylor Ross, Sylvester (x2) and Ethan Boolkah finding the net.

Racers travel to Peterborough on Saturday 5th December for a game against the Islanders (face-off 5pm) and will be looking for a significant improvement.

Warriors scoring: Jake Sylvester 4+0, Brandon Ayliffe 1+2, Edward Lay 1+2, Ross Cowan 1+1, Taylor Ross 1+0, Ethan Boolkah 1+0, Ellis Swainsbury 0+2, Donald Campbell 0+2, Will Polston 0+1
Racers scoring: Dan Clayton 1+0, Drew Campbell 0+1, Josh Ealey-Newman 0+1
Shots on goal: 32 on Sonny Phillips (Warriors) / 51 on Niks Trapans (Racers)

Reporter: Tim Stuart

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 28th & 29th November 2015

Nottingham Lions remain top of the league following their 10-2 demolition of bottom team Coventry Blaze on Sunday evening.  Joe Humphries top scored with 3+3 in a game that saw the Lions 7-0 up before the Blaze finally managed to find the back of the net in the 49th minute.   Former Streatham Redskins netminder Samantha Bolwell – a GB international who also plays in goal for the Sheffield Shadows in the Women’s Elite League - came on for the last 10 minutes.

Second place Deeside Dragons actually drew level on points with Nottingham at the top for 24 hours after their 3-8 win away at Hull Jets on Saturday night.   But, despite having a superior goal difference to the Nottingham side, the Dragons still remained second due to their inferior playing record against the lions.  Nottingham then regained their two point lead on Sunday night, although they have played three games more than the Dragons.   

Third placed Widnes Wild lost ground on the top two with a 4-4 draw away at local rivals Altrincham Aces.   The Wild were leading 2-4 with 15 minutes to go but were pegged back with the GTG being scored by the Aces’ Joe Greaves with 5 minutes to go.

Next weekend sees 4th place Blackburn Eagles – who are on the back of a 5 game winning streak – face Widnes Wild home and away on successive days while Deeside Dragons have the chance to go top of the table with a home game against Hull on Saturday and a visit to Coventry on Sunday. 

 

   

 

 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

HULL JETS AND BHF JOIN FORCES TO FIGHT HEART DISEASE

The Hull Jets ice hockey team has joined forces with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to fight for every heartbeat in the UK.

To raise awareness and funds, the Jets launched a new set of playing jerseys featuring the BHF’s famous ‘heartbeat’ logo and ‘Fight For Every Heartbeat’ slogan. The jerseys were unveiled at the home game versus Widnes Wild on Saturday evening where 50% of ticket revenue was donated to the BHF. Additional funds were also raised through raffle sales.

Jane Mooney, Fundraising Manager at the BHF, said “We are so excited to have the support of the Hull Jets in our fight for every heartbeat. Their passion and enthusiasm for the cause has been inspiring and without people and organisations like the Hull Jets, the BHF in Yorkshire would not be able to raise the vital funds it needs to continue the fight.”

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the UK’s single biggest killer that claims an estimated 70,000 lives per year – that’s around 190 lives per day or one every eight minutes. Moreover, one in six deaths in Hull results from CHD – significantly higher than the rest of Yorkshire and above average for the rest of the UK. To help those living with the devastating, debilitating and often deadly effects of heart disease, the Jets will raise vital funds for the BHF whose pioneering research has improved the quality of care, support, and treatment for millions of people with heart disease for over 50 years.

To find out how you can join the fight for every heartbeat and take part in BHF events, visit bhf.org.uk/events.    

Match Report: Haringey Racers 3 - Chelmsford Warriors 4

Chelmsford displayed their league leading credentials, coming back from two goals down in the final period to snatch victory away from the Racers. Despite their short bench, they found an extra gear late in the game with Stephen Woodford netting the winner three minutes from time after Haringey coughed up the puck behind their own net.

Warriors took the lead halfway through the first session with Jake Sylvester finding time and space to fire home after Niks Trapans blocked Callum Wells’ shot. Racers then survived an intense Chelmsford power-play with Trapans making a string of sharp saves to prevent the Warriors doubling the lead. This was rewarded late in the period when the home team equalised; Drew Campbell with the goal having been put through by Jack Ball and Josh Abbott.

An excellent second period for Haringey saw them open up a two goal lead. In the 25th minute Luke Tull’s shot was saved by Sonny Phillips, with Josh Ealey-Newman on hand to steer home the rebound. Ricky Mills scored Racers’ third in the 34rd minute, poking the puck home after good grafting by Lee Mercer and Ealey-Newman around the net.

Four minutes into the final period, and after a spell of sustained pressure, the Warriors pulled a goal back through Sylvester. The equaliser soon followed with Woodford firing home after more sustained pressure around the Racers’ net. The momentum was now with Chelmsford and, with Haringey appearing to tire, the late winning goal for the visitors settled a highly entertaining game.

Frustration for the Racers, but the opportunity to avenge this result comes quickly. The two sides meet again in Chelmsford next Saturday, 28th November (face off 5.40pm).

Racers scoring: Josh Ealey-Newman 1+1, Drew Campbell 1+0, Ricky Mills 1+0, Josh Abbott 0+1, Jack Ball 0+1, Luke Tull 0+1, Matt Brown 0+1, Lee Mercer 0+1
Warriors scoring: Jake Sylvester 2+1, Stephen Woodford 2+0, Edward Lay 0+2, Callum Wells 0+1, Ellis Swainsbury 0+1

Shots on goal: 28 on Niks Trapans (Racers) / 42 on Sonny Phillips (Warriors)
Racers Man of the Match: Sam Park Warriors Man of the Match: Sonny Phillips
Reporter: Tim Stuart

Match Report: Hull Jets 4 - Widnes Wild 6

No home game this week for the Widnes Wild as they travelled up the M62 to face the Hull Jets. Due to work commitments the Wild were to be without several key players including Team Captain Shaun Dippnall.

With starting netminder Greg Ruxton not making the trip to Hull, it was the turn of youngster Josh Benstead to back stop the team for his second start of the season.

A cagey first period saw both teams create chances to no avail, ending 0-0, a very even contest for the first 20 minutes of the game. Coach Mckenzie must have had some stern words for his players as the Wild came out a completely different side in the second session. Taking the game to the Jets, Wild scored 4 consecutive goals from Geoff Wigglesworth, Chris Preston, Sheldon Cassidy & Lee Kemp to provide the travelling Wild a 4-0 lead to end the 2nd period.

The Jets however would come out fighting in the 3rd period. Two quick goals giving the home side some life only for Tom Jackson to restore a 3 goal lead for the Wild. Two more goals from the home side made it a tense finish in Hull Arena, but Wild player coach Scott Mckenzie found space in front of the net to seal the win and send the travelling supporters home happy. Final score 6-4 to the Widnes Wild.

This weekend the Wild make the short trip over to Altrincham to face an Aces side that they defeated 8-5 a fortnight ago. In their own rink, it is sure to be an extremely tough test for a Wild side that should be back to full strength.

Photo by Arthur Foster - www.icehockeyphotos.com

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 21st & 22nd November 2015

Altrincham Aces had a 4 point weekend culminating in a sensational home win over top of the table Nottingham Lions. After a 7-2 win over Bradford Bulldogs the night before, they beat the league leaders 5-1 on Sunday night -  keeping them goalless until the 53rd minute.

This was the Aces’ 5th win in their last 7 games and demonstrates their improving form since reforming as a club during the summer.

The result means that the Lions are only 2 points ahead of second place Deeside Dragons who didn’t play this weekend and now have 3 games in hand.

Close behind in third place – with 1 point less and one game more under their belts are Widnes Wild who won 4-6 away at Hull Jets on Saturday.  The jets unveiled a new shirt which clashed  with Wild’s usual black away colour so the Widnes team had to wear Hull’s old white home jerseys for the game.  

Another team who are enjoying excellent early season form are Blackburn Eagles who picked up their 5th win in a row with a 3-5 win away at Coventry Blaze.  The Eagles are 4th in the table level on pints with Widnes Wild but have an inferior goal difference. To date, the Eagles have only lost games to the top two teams in the Laidler Conference so their visit to Widnes on 6th December will have extra meaning for all concerned.

Photo: Goal action from Altrincham Aces v Nottingham Lions. Photo by Stuart Latham - www.altyaces.com

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Forty - Not Out! The Ice Hockey Annual 2015/16, edited by Stewart Roberts

Well, I said it last year and I’ll say it again even more forcefully this year, having spent mo0st of my own summer putting together the Ice Hockey Review NIHL Yearbook I am probably one of the few people in the world - who is not related to him – who knows exactly how much work Stewart Roberts puts into producing the absolutely excellent “Ice Hockey Annual” every year. 

And he has been doing it for 40 years now. That is longer than most of the players featured in it have been on this earth and certainly longer than I knew that such a thing as British ice hockey even existed.    So hats off to Stewart Roberts – and may he continue doing it for another 40 years!

Most people just look at the finished article and think “oh yeah - great book…” – but if you actually look at all the different things that are in there and how much work has been put into gathering all that information together from numerous different sources and then putting it into a workable format, that really is a Herculean effort in itself. 

But the trick then is to make it so that the book is attractive to the eye and easy to read for the casual fan while remaining highly useful and informative for the statistician and hockey journalist.

Now, I do not follow the NHL and I am not overly enamoured of the Elite League in its present set-up but I find myself being captivated reading the quotes of the year from the various personalities and how the season unfolded in both the Elite and English Premier Leagues. So I would definitely recommend buying this.

In his own words, Stewart describes the Annual as follows:

“It has been dubbed by the fans as ‘the bible' of the sport as it contains reports, statistics and photos for every major club and competition.   Much of this information is not available anywhere else, not even on the internet.

This year’s book - the record busting 40th edition! - is another colourful package, full of information about the UK game, laced with international events like the World Championships and the European Champions League.  This has been made possible thanks to our major sponsor, Canadian Spa Company, and our other generous backers. 

 Among the great features this time are –

* An in-depth look at the amazing and unique career of our own Great One, Tony Hand MBE
* Complete coverage of the leading clubs in statistics and end-of-term reports, plus team pics.
* How Britain's men and women won silver medals in the World Championships.
* Biographies of some of the game’s best players and personalities.
* Latest news of the new rinks in Bristol, Cambridge and Cardiff Bay.
* Our ever popular Quotes of the Year.
* 176 pages in colour."

The Annual is on sale, price £9.95, at all major ice rinks, or post free direct from the website at  www.icehockeyannual.co.uk. 

And, of course, it makes a great Christmas present!”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Match Report: Widnes Wild 8 - Altrincham Aces 5

Photo by Geoff White - www.gw-images.co.uk
The Widnes Wild returned to home ice on Sunday evening facing their second derby game in two weeks, this time against Altrincham Aces. It was to be feisty game throughout, yet again penalties being a major talking point amongst Wild fans.

The first period was to see the Wild start at a frantic pace, netting three goals within the first five minutes courtesy of Scott Mckenzie, George Crawshaw & Chris Gee. Penalty trouble gave Altrincham the opportunity to close the gap. They duly obliged with two goals, both coming on the powerplay and bringing the away team back into the game to end the period at 3-2.

The second session started in similar vein. The Wild killed off the remaining penalties then scored two quick goals, one from the October player of the month Geoff Wigglesworth, and a second of the night for Scott Mckenzie making it 5-2 to the home side. Again the Aces wouldn’t give up, replying with another goal before the break to end the second period 5-3 to the Wild.

A penalty to the Aces gave the Wild an early powerplay that saw Scott Mckenzie get his hat-trick, as he fired a shot from the blue line which found its way past the Aces netminder to make it 6-3.



Jake Nurse made his debut for the Altrincham Aces
A further exchange of goals made it 7-5 to the Wild with Shaun Dippnall the scorer for the home side. In the final minutes the Aces pulled their netminder for the extra skater to try and push for a goal back, but it was to no avail as George Crawshaw used his speed to beat the Aces defence and fire the puck into the empty net to finish the scoring at 8-5.

A good result for the Widnes Wild which maintains their position in third place in the league. Next Saturday the Wild travel to Hull to face the Hull Jets with their next home game being the 6th December against Blackburn Eagles.