Monday 29 February 2016

Streatham and Chelmsford Through To South 1 Cup Final

Chelmsford Chieftains' shut out hero Ben Clements in action
against Wightlink Raiders (Photo by Steve Sutherland -
The final of the South 1 Cup will be contested between Chelmsford Chieftains and Streatham Redskins after those two teams won their respective semi-finals over the weekend.

League leaders Chelmsford Chieftains beat Wightlink Raiders 7-1 over two legs, drawing 1-1 away on Saturday and then shutting them out 6-0 at home on Sunday.

Streatham won 1-0 at home to Invicta Dynamos in the first leg and then won the second leg away 3-5 to go through 6-3 on aggregate.  Those games also counted towards the South East Cup which has already been won by Chelmsford Chieftains who couldn’t be caught at the top of the round robin group.

The final will be played over two legs over the weekend of 26th & 27th March – which team will be at home on which day has yet to be announced. 

WPL Match Report: Widnes Wild Women's Team 7 - Slough Phantoms 2

Sunday 28th February 2016
Widnes Wild Women’s Team 7 – Slough Phantoms 2

Period Scores: 0-1, 5-0, 2-1
Shots on Goal: Widnes 44 – Slough 23
Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 2 – Slough 4

Widnes Scoring: Leen De Decker, Katie Hills, Catherine Bowen-Fell all 2+0, Madeleine Gustavsson 1+0,  Sarah Hutchinson , Jakki Duncan both 0+2

MVPs: Widnes - Madeleine Gustavsson / Slough - Nicola Bicknell

The Widnes Wild women’s team picked up their third win of the season - and their first at home – with a thrilling 7-2 victory over Slough Phantoms at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Widnes on Sunday evening.

For the fans who had witnessed the previous week’s game against Milton Keynes, the first period must have been a bit of “déjà vu” with the Wild dominating for long periods and then Slough rushing up to the other end to score the opening goal of the game.  That goal came when the visitors were shorthanded due to a tripping penalty and came very much against the run of play.

Whatever was said during the period break obviously had an effect as the Wild responded with 5 unanswered goals – three in just over 3 minutes – as they battered the Phantoms’ goal with 18 shots compared to the six that Widnes Stephanie Drinkwater had to deal with.  

In fact, much praise has to go to the Phantoms netminder Sarah Gunstone who performed heroics in her own net and probably kept the score a lot lower than it might otherwise have been.

By the time that the Phantoms managed to strike again at 53.41 (Hadden asst Bicknell), the Wild had already scored their 6th of the game (Hills unassisted 45.08) and the contest was well and truly out of reach of the battling Slough team.

A second unassisted goal for Hills at 56.54 was the icing on the cake and the ensuing 7-2 scoreline sees the Wild Women move up to  5th place in the Women’s Premier League Table, where they have games in hand over all the other teams.

The Widnes Wild women’s team are at home again this Saturday when they entertain Streatham Storm in a 4.30pm face off. Streatham are just one point above Widnes in the WPL but the Wild women beat them 1-3 when the teams met down in South London back in October.

Admission to the game is FREE so why not go along and cheer the Widnes girls on in their first ever WPL season…?

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 20th & 21st February 2016

Photo: goalmouth action from the Lions v Bulldogs match
photo by Peter McConnochie      
The biggest game in the Laidler Conference saw Altrincham Aces close upon 4th place Blackburn Eagles in what is becoming a fascinating battle for the final play-off spot.

The Eagles had a 6 point cushion going into the game and were leading 1-3 at the first break.  However the Aces fought back with a 4-2 second period to square the match going into the final third and then made sure of the win with 4 unanswered goals.  Top scorer for the Aces was Joe Greaves with 1+3 and former EPL player Jake Nurse chipped in with 4 assists.

The Aces are now 4 points behind the Eagles with both teams having 6 games left to play and the two teams meet in Blackburn for the final game of the season on 27th March.

Nottingham Lions continue to be in the running for second place – and a promotion play-off spot – after a 3-0 shutout of Bradford Bulldogs on Sunday night.  The night before, Bradford had hauled themselves off the bottom of the table with a 7-4 win over Hull Jets.     

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 20th & 21st February 2016

Solihull Barons Captain Robert Eley celebrates during the win over
Telford Tigers (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)
Solway Sharks’ late charge for the play offs suffered a setback after their game away at Blackburn on Sunday night had to be postponed. The team coach got stuck in traffic after an accident on the M6 and they couldn’t get to the rink in time.  That game has now been re-arranged for 20th March.

The weekend had started well for the Sharks as they beat Billingham Stars 4-2 on Sunday night and they are now one of three teams – along with Stars and Sutton - who all have 23 points and are within striking distance of Telford Tigers who currently occupy 4th place.

Solway have games in hand over the others in the pack as the two games that were postponed due to the bad weather before Christmas – against Telford and Sutton - are still to be played and will now be played for double points when those teams next visit Dumfries.   

The Stars had a bad weekend all round as, following that defeat in Scotland, they then lost 1-3 at home to Sutton Sting on Sunday evening. The Sting outshot their hosts and were 0-2 up at the end of the first period.  A consolation goal midway thought the second period gave the Stars some hope but they were finished off by an empty net goal in the dying seconds of the game after as they brought on an extra attacker in search of that elusive equaliser.

Solihull Barons extended their safety cushion in 3rd place to 5 points after a 7-5 home win over midlands rivals Telford Tigers.  They have 3 games in hand over 2nd place Whitley Warriors but are 13 points adrift so are unlikely to be in the mix for the runners up spot this season. 

The Warriors picked up a relatively easy 10-1 win over bottom team Sheffield Senators, outshooting the cellar dwellers 86 to 17. Interestingly enough, the Senators actually scored first after just 48 seconds but that was as good as it got for the iceSheffield team. That win moves the Warriors up to within 5 points of leaders Blackburn Hawks – with a game in hand.

Monday 22 February 2016

WPL Match Report: Widnes Wild Women 1 - Milton Keynes Falcons 2

EIHA Women’s Premier League
Sunday 21st February 2016

Widnes Wild Women 1 – Milton Keynes Falcons 2
Period Scores: (0-2, 1-0, 0-0)
Shots on Goal: Widnes 41 – MK 22
Penalties:  Widnes 20 – MK 4
Widnes Scoring: Leen De Decker 1+0

The Widnes Wild ladies team put on a battling display in their first home game of the season but ended up losing 1-2 to the Milton Keynes Falcons.

The Wild actually scored first in the 2nd minute but the goal was disallowed by the referee and insult was heaped on injury as the Falcons immediately went down to the other end and scored for themselves.   

The game was very close with chances for both sides but then - in the dying seconds of the first period, the Falcons scored again with a breakaway goal that gave them a somewhat flattering 0-2 lead going into the break.

Widnes fans finally had something to cheer in the 27th minute when former Belgian international player Leen De Decker scored a fine solo effort to get the Wild back in the game. 

Things began to get physical as the second period wore on and the Wild started pressing for an equaliser. They began clocking up penalty minutes but, despite being short-handed on numerous occasions, they managed to defend their net and looked most likely to score again.

The third period remained goalless and was a very tense affair throughout.  The Wild pulled their netminder for the last minute of the game to throw on an extra attacker in an attempt to force a late goal but to no avail.

Overall, the Wild outshot their opponents by almost two to one (41 to 22) and the MK netminder Kayleigh Doyle played a blinder for the visitors.

The Wild Women have now played 4 games in their Women’s Premier League campaign this season and have won two and lost two.

They are in action again next Sunday in a home game against Slough Phantoms – who they beat 3-4 away in the first game of the season.  The match starts at 5.30pm and admission is free.       

Wednesday 17 February 2016

First Home Game for Cardiff Fire At New Ice Arena Wales

Cardiff Fire line up for the first ever game at Ice Arena Wales
Photo by James Assinder Photography
After a wait of over five months, South 2 West team Cardiff Fire finally managed to stage their first ever home game at the weekend of at the just-about-finished Ice Arena Wales.

They have had nowhere to train since the start of the season and have been allowed to play all their away fixtures first after the opening date for the new venue had been put back several times.

Despite this, the new Welsh team – formed after a breakaway from the Cardiff Devils NIHL organisation last year – managed to win their first 5 games on the road and topped the table for some time. 

Unfortunately, the fairytale opening did not quite go according to plan as league leaders Basingstoke Buffalo spoiled the party with a narrow 2-3 victory. The Fire did put on a good show, however, outshooting their guests 34 to 29, and Fire’s Robert Sedlak had the honour of scoring the first goal at the new venue after 15.03.

The next night, Cardiff Fire entertained near-neighbours Bristol Pitbulls and notched up a 3-0 victory.

Cardiff now sit second in the South 2 West Conference table but have games in hand over all the other teams – most of them at home!     

Photo: first game against Basingstoke by James Assinder Photography –

Match Report: Widnes Wild 7 Deeside Dragons 7

Kieran Strangeway celebrate Widnes' 3rd goal against Deeside
Photo by Geoff White -
Deeside Dragons were the visitors to The Hive on Sunday evening as the Widnes Wild looked to continue their unbeaten home run to 8 games without loss. A win for the Dragons would see them crowned Laidler Conference Champions. The biggest crowd of the season would pack themselves into Silver Blades Widnes to witness one of the most exciting games ever to be played in the building.

It would be the Welsh side that would take the lead within 7 seconds of the opening face-off. A quick shot squeezing through Wild netminder Greg Ruxton’s pads putting the Wild on the back foot. Penalty trouble for the Dragons would give the home side a man advantage and with their ever dangerous powerplay, the Wild would score 3 unanswered goals from Scott Mckenzie, Shaun Dippnall & Kieran Strangeway to end the period with a deserved 3-1 lead.

The Dragons however would come out fighting in the 2nd period, scoring 3 quick goals to turn the game on its head and make it 4-3 in their favour. Head Coach of the Wild Scott Mckenzie would call a time out to regroup his players. This would eventually pay off as yet again another powerplay goal would see Michal Fico on the scoresheet. Another goal for Deeside would end the period in a disappointing fashion and leave coach Mckenzie with some words for his players in the changing room.

Whatever Mckenzie said, worked. Again turning the game on its head Kieran Strangeway scoring twice to gain his hat-trick but also give the Wild a 6-5 lead with 10 minutes to go. All season the Dragons have been known for their offensive threat and speed going forward. Two further goals would provide the visitors with a 7-6 lead with just minutes to go. The Dragons looked like they would close the game out but again Kieran Strangeway would find space to shoot past the Dragons netminder and tie the game at 7-7 and send the Wild fans into rapture.

The game would end at 7-7, both teams providing a night that you could never put a price on. Players giving everything they had to win a game of ice hockey. Both sets of fans left Silver Blades Widnes happy with a point but also happy with their evening of entertainment.

It’s a weekend off for the Wild as the players get a chance to take some rest and spend time with their families. They return to action with 2 away games against Blackburn Hawks & Blackburn Eagles on the weekend of the 27th and 28th of February. For more information email

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 13th & 14th February

Deeside Dragons celebrations
Photo by Geoff White
The first league title of the 2015/16 season was decided On Sunday night as Deeside Dragons picked up a 7-7 draw away at nearest neighbours and second-placed contenders Widnes Wild to secure the NIHL North 2 Laidler Conference crown for the first time.

Following a 10-3 home win over Hull Jets the night before, the Dragons merely needed to avoid defeat.

A huge crowd of over 700 watched a thrilling game that saw the Wild take a 3-1 lead into the first break only to be overhauled by the title chasing Dragons who made it 4-5 after two periods.  A 3-2 period for the Wild with the GTG goal coming just over a minute to go left the nerves on edge and Dragons’ fans reaching for their calculators to see if the result was enough to hand them the title.

Widnes are favourites to take second place and contest the home and away Promotion Play Off game with whoever finishes second from bottom in the Moralee Conference but they are still looking over their shoulders as third place team Nottingham Lions – who won 1-2 away at Altrincham Aces - could still catch them.     

The other Laidler game of the weekend saw Blackburn Eagles notch up a 10-3 win over strugglers Coventry Blaze.  That result leaves them clear in 4th place and 6 points clear of 5th place Altrincham Aces in the battle for the final play off spot.

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 13th & 14th February 2016

It was a bad weekend for iceSheffield as all 3 Moralee Conference games played there at the weekend resulted in away wins for the visitors.

On Saturday, 4th place Telford Tigers beat bottom team Sheffield Senators 2-8 for what was the Sheffield side’s 25th consecutive defeat.  With just 7 games left and a deficit of 21 points, the Senators are already resigned to finishing bottom of the pile and just above them are Sheffield Spartans who lost 1-2 to Whitley Warriors on Sunday.

That game ended in farcical circumstances as it was stopped with over 2 minutes left to play because of a blood spillage on the ice.

In the following encounter on the bill, league leaders Blackburn Hawks easily disposed of 4th from bottom Sutton Sting by 7 goals to 0.

Those results mean that, heading into the final straight, the Hawks still lead the table by 7 clear points although second place Whitley have two games in hand. 

Monday 15 February 2016

Deeside Dragons Win Laidler Conference Title

Photo by Peter Sheffield -
The first league title of the 2015/16 season was decided last night as Deeside Dragons picked up a 7-7 draw away at nearest neighbours and second-placed contenders Widnes Wild to secure the NIHL North 2 Laidler Conference crown for the first time.

A huge crowd of over 700 watched a thrilling game that saw the Wild take a 3-1 lead into the first break only to be overhauled by the title chasing Dragons who made it 4-5 after two periods.  A 3-2 period for the Wild with the GTG goal coming with just over a minute to go left the nerves on edge and Dragons’ fans reaching for their calculators to see if the result was enough to hand them the title.

Before the game, most of the talk had been about the Dragons needing to win to secure their first league crown since 1994 (Flintshire Freeze won the ENL North title in 2004) but little thought had been given to the effect that a draw would have on the league standings what with a draw being a comparatively rare result in an ice hockey match.

As it turned out, the shared points mean that the Dragons cannot be overtaken by Widnes and are now confirmed as Laidler Conference champions.

Widnes are favourites to take second place and contest the home and away Promotion Play Off game with whoever finishes second from bottom in the Moralee Conference but they are still looking over their shoulders as third place team Nottingham Lions – who won 1-2 away at Altrincham Aces last night - could still catch them.      


Thursday 11 February 2016

Match Report: Widnes Wild 5 - Nottinngham Lions 5

Shaun Dipnall scores for Widnes Wild
(Photo by Geoff White -
Nottingham Lions were the visitors to Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday evening as the Widnes Wild looked to continue their unbeaten run at home. The last time the Wild lost at home was to the Lions back in October with the visitors running out 4-2 winners. A close game was to be expected and that is exactly what the fans would get.

It would be Nottingham that would start the game on the front foot, gaining an early goal against the run of play. A quick shot beating Wild netminder Greg Ruxton on his glove side. The Wild however would respond quickly, sniper Geoff Wigglesworth finding room in front of the net to fire home and tie the game. Captain Shaun Dippnall would add a powerplay strike just before the period break to give the Halton side a narrow 2-1 advantage.

A penalty strewn 2nd period would see two major penalties given out. Tom Ratcliffe for the Wild would be on the wrong side of a high sticking major as well as an accidental high stick on Wild Player-Coach Scott Mckenzie seeing a Lions defenceman sent to the changing rooms for early showers. Nottingham tied the game at 2-2 just before a Geoff Wigglesworth strike made it 3-2. The Lions answered back almost straight away from a face off play, but again captain Dippnall would make it 4-3 just before the break.

Further penalties would offer opportunities for both teams but it was the Lions that took advantage of Wild mistakes. Two quick goals putting the home side on their heels trailing 5-4 with just minutes to go. Coach Mckenzie would call a time out with just over 2minutes remaining. A set play would find Kieran Strangeway open in the slot to fire home and tie the game, sending the home fans into rapture. Penalties again would see the game fizzle out with both team’s content to settle for a 5-5 draw.

As expected, a close game between two even sides that have had four great battles all season. Both coaches will be happy to have gained a point as the fans went home happy, having seen a fantastic game of hockey. The Lions could be a team that the Wild face in the playoffs, a game that is not to be missed if the scenario comes to fruition.

The Widnes Wild return to home action this Sunday as they face local rivals Deeside Dragons at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at the usual time of 17:30 with doors opening at 16:45. For tickets call box office on; 0151 420 7930, for more information email;

Laider Conference Round Up - Weekend of 6th & 7th February 2016

Leaders Deeside Dragons took a big step closer to securing the title without even having to step onto the ice as second place team Widnes Wild could only manage a 5-5 draw at home to 3rd place Nottingham Lions.  The game was close throughout and Widnes actually had to come from behind to snatch a draw with a goal 2 minutes from time. Shaun Dipnall top scored for the Wild with 2+2 and British League veteran Stuart Parker hit 1+2 for the Lions.

As things stand, if the Dragons win their home game against Hull Jets on Saturday, they can secure the title with a win away at Widnes on Sunday as with 3 games left to play, they will have accrued more points than the chasing teams can achieve, irrespective of games in hand.

Blackburn Eagles took a step closer to reaching their first ever play offs with a 4-1 win on Saturday over Hull but 5th place Altrincham Aces won 4-5 away to the same opposition to keep up the pressure.

The other game of the weekend saw the bottom two teams Bradford Bulldogs and Coventry Blaze share a 3-3 draw, which leaves them both adrift at the bottom of the pile.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 6th & 7th February 2016

Setting aside the obviously highly important matter of Blackburn Hawks enjoying another 4 point weekend to bring them ever nearer to retaining their league title, the main story in the Moralee Conference at the weekend would have to be the big fight at the end of the Solihull Barons v Solway Sharks game on Sunday evening.

While being nowhere near as impressive as the now legendary Nottingham / Ayr / Streatham etc bench clearances of the 1980s, this was still quite an unusual occurrence in the “modern” modern game.

It all kicked off with just 10 seconds to go in game that Solihull had already got won at 3-1.   And ended up with 125 penalties minutes being given out (Barons 75 – Sharks 50) shared between 6 Barons and 4 Sharks.

Aside from the fighting, the weekend was rather disappointing for the Sharks overall as they only managed a 3-3 draw away at Telford Tigers on Saturday night, whereas had they won both games they would have dramatically propelled themselves into the play off places.

As it is, Solihull have a 5 point cushion in 3rd place, ahead of Telford and Billingham Stars who are on the same number of points in 4th and 5th, but Telford have the superior playing record and a game in hand.

At the top of the table, Blackburn Hawks did their title chances a lot of good with 4 points from 2 wins.  They beat bottom club Sheffield Senators home and away 3-8 & 9-2 and are currently 7 points clear of second place Whitley Warriors who narrowly beat Sutton Sting 2-1 on Sunday night and who have 2 games in hand.

The other Moralee game of the weekend saw Sutton beat iceSheffield rivals Sheffield Spartans 10-2 on Saturday night. 
  Photo: “action” from the last minute of the game between Solihull Barons and Solway Sharks (photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)

Saturday 6 February 2016

Nottingham Netminder Challenge For Children's Charity

An ice hockey photographer has accepted a challenge to come out from behind the relative safety of the lens and the boards and to try his hand as a netminder for the evening! 

Richard Davies is a long term hockey fan and photographer but has never played the game before. In recent years he has been photographing games of the Nottingham Outlaws recreational team and he has decided to have a go in goal at their training session on the evening of Wednesday 16th March in aid of very good cause.

Richard has set up a Just Giving page for his Netminder Challenge and is raising funds for the Little Princess Trust, which is a charity that provides real-hair wigs, free of charge, to boys and girls that have lost their own hair through cancer treatment and other illnesses. If you’d like to support Richard in his fund raising challenge, you can make donation via his Just Giving page HERE

To find out more about the Little Princess Trust, look here:

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Match Report: Swindon Wildcats 9 - Haringey Racers 7

A hat-trick for Adam Finlinson, plus two goals from EPL veteran Ryan Aldridge helped Swindon seal their place in the cup finals weekend, possibly at the Racers expense. Haringey will now be waiting on the result of the Slough vs. Bristol game on 20th February where a win for the latter will deny Racers a semi-final place.

This was a relentless game with waves of end-to-end attacking play; however both sides will want several goals back as defensive lapses and failures to clear the zone helped keep the scoring rate high throughout. Racers took the lead on five separate occasions only to be pegged back each time. Swindon finally took the lead for the first time at 52:40 and they were able to see the game out.

Haringey edged a relatively calm first period. In the middle of the session, two goals 30 seconds apart from Josh Abbott and Perry Richardson gave Racers the initiative. A Shannon Taylor power-play goal late in the period got Swindon up and running and they went on to equalise early in the second though Ben Nethersell. 

Goals from James Buckingham and Matt Brown opened up a 4-2 lead for Haringey, but a crazy three minute spell at the end of the period changed the game. Goals from Kyle Smith and Finlinson tied the game up and no sooner had Drew Campbell restored the Racers’ lead when Aldridge scored on power-play to send the teams in tied at 5-5.

Campbell and Aldridge trade goals again at the start of the third period. Josh Ealey-Newman gave Haringey the lead for the seventh time only for Wildcats to equalise with a slick goal from Finlinson, set up by Aldridge and Nethersell. Swindon took the lead when Lee Mercer mis-controlled the puck into his own net and put the game to bed with a Daniel Williams goal in the closing moments.

Racers return to league action on February 6th when they travel to Peterborough Islanders (5pm)

Wildcats Scoring: Adam Finlinson 3+3, Ryan Aldridge 2+2, Ben Nethersell 1+4, Kyle Smith 1+1, Shannon Taylor 1+0, Daniel Williams 1+0, Jordan Kelsall 0+5, Istvan Dragomir 0+1
Racers Scoring: Drew Campbell 2+1, Matt Brown 1+2, Josh Abbott 1+1, James Buckingham 1+1, Perry Richardson 1+0, Josh Ealey-Newman 1+0, Dan Clayton 0+3, Ben Osborne 0+2, Lee Mercer 0+1, Ryan Payne 0+1

Shots on Goal: 44 on Liam Mcguire (Wildcats), 53 on Niks Trapans (Racers)
Man of the Match: Adam Finlinson (Wildcats), Drew Campbell (Racers)

Photo by Carol Light - Richjoda Photography

Match Report: Widnes Wild 7 - Blackburn Eagles 5

A bumper crowd of over 450 people would visit Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday evening to watch their Widnes Wild face the Blackburn Eagles. An Eagles side currently sat in fourth place in the Laidler Conference travelled to Widnes with a full squad looking to cause an upset.

Blackburn play a physical game and it would pay off for them quickly in the first period. A quick shot just over the blue line beating Wild netminder Greg Ruxton to put the Eagles 1-0 up. Wild would answer back almost straight away though, an unlikely goal scorer in Tom Jackson finding himself below the opposition goal line, shooting the puck at the goal and somehow managing to squeeze the puck into the net. The first period would end all square at 1-1.

The home side came out flying at the start of the second session. With ill-discipline from the Eagles gifting the Wild power-play opportunities, Goals would eventually come from Michal Fico, George Crawshaw, Shaun Dippnall & new boy Joe Gilbert, scoring his first goal for the Wild. This would give the Halton side a firm grip on the game ending the 2nd period 5-1.

Wild would dominate the 3rd period with a further powerplay strike coming from Geoff Wigglesworth. A string of near misses would give Blackburn hope, 2 quick scrappy goals giving the visitors momentum and bringing the game back to 6-3. Wigglesworth would restore the 4 goal lead before another backlash from the Eagles who would get the score to a respectable 7-5 but eventually just running out of time to catch a high flying Wild side that are proving difficult to beat on home ice.

Assistant Coach Richard Charles had this to say about Sundays events;
‘’Blackburn are never an easy team to play against. They come at you hard and physical whilst still having some guys who are a real threat offensively. After a slow start we stuck to the game plan and didn’t let them frustrate us. As a team we have learnt to stay patient and take our chances when they come, we certainly did that in the 2nd period. The game plan was to get 2 points and we succeeded. Now we need to regroup, get a good week of training under our belt and think about Nottingham at home next Sunday, which is of course another big game for our club.’’

The Widnes Wild return to home action this Sunday as they face the Nottingham Lions at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at the usual time of 17:30 with doors opening at 16:45. For tickets call box office on; 0151 420 7930, for more information email;

Photo: Michal Fico scores for Widnes against Blackburn (Photo by Geoff White -

Match Report: Deeside Dragons 7 - Nottingham Lions 5

A packed Den saw two of the tops teams in the Laidler division battle it out on Saturday night in a penalty filled game in which the Dragons took the points and a step closer to the title.

Nottingham Lions were the visitors and are the only team to beat the Dragons this season so it was not going to be an easy ride for the Deeside outfit. The Lions team was packed with youngsters who were willing to skate hard and fast to try and upset the Dragons rhythm and the tactics worked with the East Midland team setting the pace with two early goals from Connor Glossop that silenced the large home crowd.

It did not take long for the Dragons to get back on track with two shorthanded goals within a minute from Adrian Palak and Simon Furnival respectively to level the score going into the first break

The second period saw the Chester road men turning up the pressure on the Nottingham goal and  double their tally with Palak and Furnival continuing where they left off in the first period with another goal apiece to make it 4-2 to Deeside by the end of the second break.

Deeside came out flying in the third period with Adrian Palak getting his hat-trick goal with less than a minute on the clock to take a 5-2 lead only for the Lions to score two quick goals within a minute from Joe Humphries to pull the deficit back to one goal and  make the game a close contest. With the game at 5-4 both teams turned up the pressure and the game became littered with penalties and the referee sent three Nottingham players to the sin bin along with two from Deeside

Marc Lovell netted for the Dragons assisted by Palak to restore the home teams lead to two only for the Lions to peg it back to a single goal less than a minute later. The game then got very messy with both team taking major penalties, Owen Bennett went toe to toe with Benjamin Wilson which got the fans off their seats, the scrapping pair were quickly sent to the penalty bench which by now was getting very crowded.

Nottingham had seven players in the sin bin by now and Deeside took advantage of the situation when Simon Furnival fired home his hat-trick goal for the Dragons with a shot to the top corner which left the goalie stranded and sent the crowd wild. With both teams hyped up and only a minute left in the game it wasn’t long before another fight broke out with Mike Jones and Slawomir Kasprzak tangling with each other at centre ice.

The game ended 7-5 to Deeside and put them 13 points clear at the top of the league with only five games to go, Widnes Wild in second place have three games in hand are the only team capable of catching the Dragons.

Coach Lol Paul said “Nottingham took us by surprise with the two quick early goals but I never thought at any point that we were going to lose and our four answered goal to make it 4-2 showed we are a team that has lots of players that can score goals.”

“Simon Furnival was outstanding tonight with his three goals and fully deserved getting the MVP and the whole team put in some great shifts to continue the 18 game unbeaten run and take another step closer to the title.”

Photo: Hat Trick hero Simon Furnival by Peter Sheffield (

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Invicta Dynamos Play 18 Minutes Without Netminder...!

Here’s an interesting story from the weekend action in NIHL South.  In the South 1 game between Milton Keynes Thunder and Invicta Dynamos, netminder Damien King’s equipment got left behind in Kent.

Lee Allen of Kent Sports News told us: “With the opposition seemingly not offering to provide spare netminder kit or there being no delay in the start time and Invicta having no-back-up netminder, Invicta coach Kevin Parrish sent his side out to defend the empty net.

The Dynamos adopted what could be best described as a sweeper/keeper system, with the likes of Harrison Lillis and Elliott Dewey taking the role of hovering behind the D-men and acting as the last line of defence.”

King sat out for most of the first period while waiting for somebody to tear up to Milton Keynes to bring his missing gear and the most amazing thing is that despite playing for almost 19 minutes with no netminder in place, the Dynamos only conceded two goals during that time.

He finally managed to get onto the ice after 18.38 of the first period and the Dynamos pulled a goal back in the dying seconds.

Once the Invicta team were properly equipped and organised, it appears to have been mainly one way traffic the other way as they outshot the Thunder 12 to 40 overall and won the game 2-6.

Photo by Nicola Allen, Kent Sports News
Read more here: 

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 30th & 31st January 2016

Deeside Dragons notched up their 7th win in a row and continued an incredible run that has seen them go unbeaten in their last 18 games with a 7-5 home win over previous league leaders Nottingham Lions.

The game was a lot closer than the recent 2-8 and 1-7 wins that the Dragons had picked up in Nottingham and the Lions actually raced into a 0-2 lead early in the first period before being pegged back. Import Adrian Palak top scored for the Dragons with 3+2 and Simon Furnival got 3+0.

The Dragons need just 5 points from their remaining 5 games to win the Laidler title and, if they win away at second place Widnes on 14th February, the championship will be in the bag.

Widnes are doing the best to catch up with the leaders, however. They have 3 games in hand and two games still to come with the Dragons.   They picked up their  4th win in a row with a hard fought 7-5 win over Blackburn Eagles on Sunday.  The Eagles have a very good record this season and look favourites to grab the 4th play-off place.   The Eagles actually took an early lead and were not overtaken until midway through the game.   Widnes eased into a 5-1 lead by the second break but 4 3rd period goals for the Eagles made it a closer finish than it might otherwise have looked.

Fifth place Altrincham Aces are making late run for that last play off place as well and their 5-3 win over Hull Jets move them to within 4 points of the Eagles. Both teams have played the same number of the games and will meet twice more before the end of the season – so anything could still happen!

In the other Laidler game of the weekend, Coventry Blaze lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with a 2-5 win away at Bradford Bulldogs, who now occupy bottom slot.  The Blaze were 0-5 up before the Bulldogs finally managed to score in the 47th minute. Matthew Maurice and Jack McKay both hit 2+1 for the Blaze.

Photo: Goal action from Coventry Blaze ‘s 2-5 win away at Bradford Bulldogs.  Photo by Rob Hutchinson Photography.

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 30th & 31st January 2016

Blackburn Hawks took another step closer to retaining their Moralee Conference title with 2 wins over the weekend. They won 1-7 away at 4th place Telford Tigers on Saturday night and then beat Sheffield Spartans 13-2 at home – with Adam Brittle top scoring with 3+4 - on Sunday night.

Second place Whitley Warriors kept up the pressure, however, with a 4-point weekend of their own – winning 3-4 away at Sutton Sting on Saturday and then beating North East rivals Billingham Stars 3-1 at home the next night.

With just 7 games left to play in the league campaign (4 of them at home), the Hawks lead the table by 5 points, with the Warriors having one extra game in hand. 

Billingham Stars’ 3-4 win away at Sheffield Spartans on Saturday lifted them above Telford Tigers into 4th place – the first time they have occupied a play-off spot this season.

In the other Moralee game of the weekend, Solway Sharks won 1-9 away at bottom team Sheffield Senators to round off a weekend of gloom for the iceSheffield based teams who were unable to notch up a single win between them across the 4 games they featured in.  Captain Struan Tonnar hit 3+1 and Martin Cingel contributed 2+2 in what was the Sharks’ 4th win out of the 5 games they played in January. 

Whether this signifies a late challenge for a play-off spot remains to be seen - although they do have two games extra to play following cancellations due to the bad weather before Christmas.

Photo: Solway Sharks’ Captain Struan Tonnar (Photo by Duncan Speirs)