Wednesday 14 June 2017

Elvis Joins Oliver's Army

Elvis Veldze - MVP for Fylde Flyers
(Photo by Adam Tranter)
We don’t normally cover new player signings on here – mainly because, if you imagine that some 40 teams are going to be announcing 20 odd players each over the course of the summer, that means that we would never have time to do anything else – and we are already trying very hard to get the new 2017 NIHL Yearbook ready at this particular time!

Having said that, this particular signing is rather special as Widnes Wild’s new Latvian forward Elvis Veldze was previously with the Fylde Flyers team that we used to work with and so is worthy of a mention. 
The returning Widnes Wild player coach, Ollie Barron, looks to be putting together a very strong team for the forthcoming NIHL North 2 (Laidler) season with many of the top names from last season coming back for another crack at the league title and, with the signing of a second import to boost the line-up, he has certainly set his stall out.      

Elvis is a very exciting player to watch. He is very tall, has a rocket shot and used to score goals from behind the half way line – although that was, obviously, easier at the Flyers‘ SubZero home rink in Cleveleys which was only half the size of everybody else’s….!

In his first game for Fylde in October 2011, he scored 5 goals in the Flyers’ 18-6 defeat away at Solway Sharks - which may not sound much but they had been shut out 16-0 the previous week at the same venue - and that eventually turned out to be the highest score by a visiting team away at Solway all that season.  Now, I don’t have any particular figures to back this up but I doubt that many visiting players have scored 5 goals away at Solway over the years…

Elvis was the Fylde Flyers’ top goal scorer In the 2011/12 season with 33 goals in 25 games and finished their second top scorer overall with 33+20, behind another current Widnes player Bobby Caunce who was top with 27+37. The following season, he had trouble balancing work / training and travel commitments and only managed 5 games for the Flyers in which he scored 2+1. 

Elvis picked up 26 PIM in this game against Blackburn Eagles
in 2012/13    (Photo by Lisa Jones)
The Flyers struggled to be competitive in the two years that they existed and were unable to develop as a team as they had trouble attracting new players to come and play on their “compact and bijou" playing surface. This meant that we probably never got to see the “real deal” Veldze.
He has spent time in the intervening years playing back in his native Latvia so will, undoubtedly, return to these shores a more experienced and rounded player.  It will be interesting to see how he fares this season playing with a competitive team on a fully sized rink!      

Friday 9 June 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 1 - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 11

Raiders' Gez Evans (#9) and Ben Donkin (#16) at a previous home game.
Photo by David Law
Saturday 3rd June 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 1 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 11
Period Scores: 0-3, 1-4, 0-4
Penalties In Minutes:  Wyre 12 – Raiders 8

Raiders Scoring: Sam Plant 4+4, Owen Tennant 3+5, Geraint Evans 3+4, A Jenkins 1+0

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders consolidated their position at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table with an 11-1 win away in Blackburn against the Wyre Seagulls on Saturday night. 

The game was very close in its opening stages until Owen Tennant edged the Raiders ahead after 12 minutes.  Goals from Gez Evans and Sam Plant followed and the visitors were leading 0-3 at the first break.

Four more unanswered goals followed in the second period and the Riversiders were leading 0-7 by the time Wyre scored their first goal of the night just seconds before the buzzer at the end of the second period.

4 more goals in the third period ensured that the Raiders will be in strong position come the end of the group phase when teams tied on points are separated on goal difference - and NOT results between the two teams as has been more customary in British ice hockey in recent years.

Sam Plant led the scoring with 4 goals and 4 assists and Owen Tennant hit 3+5. They both now join Gez Evans on the Summer Classic scorers’ leader board. He scored 3+4 on the night and leads the standings with 25 points overall.       

The Riverside Raiders are next in action on Sunday 2nd July when they take on a Telford team in a challenge match at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.
Photo by David Law - see more great photos HERE

Monday 5 June 2017

Match Report: Halton Huskies (Widnes) 11 - Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 3

Sunday 4th June 2017 – Challenge Match
Halton Huskies 11 – Wyre Seagulls 3
Period Scores:  4-0, 3-0, 4-3
Penalties In Minutes: Huskies 53 – Seagulls 12

Huskies Scoring:
Jeff Chapman 3+3, Anthony Hughes 2+2, James Kelly & John Carter 2+0, Edward Ridding 1+1, Stephen Burns 1+0, Anthony Higham, Howard Hughes, James Williams, Ross Holland all 0+1

Seagulls Scoring:
Samuel Calderbank 3+0, Mark Kay 0+3, David Grogan 0+1, Matthew Patterson 0+1

The Widnes based Halton Huskies recreational team notched up an impressive 11-3 win over Blackburn based Wyre Seagulls at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The home side took the lead as early as the 40th second of the game with a goal by John Carter and went on to lead 4-0 by the end of the first period with a second strike from Carter and then goals from Edward Ridding and Anthony Hughes. 

The goals continued to come in the second period with a second for Hughes and then two from Jeff Chapman and the Huskies led 7-0 at the end of 40 minutes’ play.

Now, despite the scoreline, this was by no means a one-sided game and the Wyre Seagulls gave a very good account of themselves throughout the game. It was mainly due to the heroics in goal from Halton netminder Stephen O’Brien that kept the visitors’ attack at bay and this eventually led to him being named MVP for the Huskies.

Having gone close earlier on in the game when a rasping shot hit the bar and came out again, the Seagulls eventually broke their duck in the 50th minute with a goal from Sam Calderbank.  By that time, however, the Huskies had already scored two more – through James Kelly and Stephen Burns – and the score stood at 9-1 with 10 minutes left to play.

The Huskies hit back straight away with a second goal from James Kelly just 15 seconds from the restart and a fascinating phase of play ensued.

Jeff Chapman scored his hat trick goal for the huskies just 80 seconds after that and then Sam Calderbank completed his own hat trick for the Seagulls with two goals within 10 seconds of each other at 55.45 and 55.55.  That flurry of activity rounded off the action for the game and the clock ticked down on a hugely entertaining contest.

The Widnes Wildcats are in action next Sunday 11th June 2017 when they play Durham Dragons in the Summer Cup at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 8.30pm and admission is free.