Played at Silver Blades, Widnes
Manchester Mayhem 2 – Kingston Kestrels 5
Period Scores: 0-2, 0-2, 2-1
Penalties in Minutes: Manchester 14 – Kingston 4
Match Officials: Richard Wang & Stephen French
Mayhem line-up: Karl Nicholson (2+0), Graham Wilson, Pat Bailey, Dean Lahan, Ant Booth (0+1), Rob Allen (0+2), Steve Midgehall (NM),
Kestrels line-up: Matthew Woollias (2+3), Matt Clarkson (2+1), Sam Fitzgerald, Tony King, Simon Berry(1+1), Ian Houliston (NM), Stephen Gibson, Dave Blakeston
The Manchester Mayhem Para Ice Hockey Team ended the regular season on the wrong end of 2-5 defeat after a hard-fought and spirited performance against league champions Kingston Kestrels at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.
The Hull based team had already secured the league title several weeks ago but were hoping to make history by becoming the first team to complete the season with a 100% record, while the Mayhem were hoping to build on their previous win against Peterborough to build up some momentum heading into the end of season play offs in September.
The Kestrels took the lead as early as the 17th second of the game with a goal from Matt Woollias and it was 0-2 just 2½ minutes later when Woollias set up Matt Clarkson to double the Kingston advantage.
The Mayhem battled hard and had a few chances of their own but were unable to break down the solid Kingston defence.
It was a similar story in the second period where Manchester failed to make the most of their opportunities while the Kestrels extended their lead with goals from Simon Berry on 20 minutes and then Woollias again on 28 minutes.
Whatever was said during the team talk during the second break certainly had an effect as the Mayhem looked a changed side in the 3rd period. Karl Nicholson fired in the first Manchester goal just 90 seconds from the restart and then struck again a minute later to halve the deficit to 2-4 with 12½ minutes still to play.
This resurgence was not to last, however, as just 30 seconds after scoring his second goal, Nicholson was caught up in an altercation with some Kestrels players against the boards behind the Kingston goal.
The fracas escalated and resulted in a 10 minute stoppage in play while various skirmishes ensued and grievances were aired and dealt with.
The result of all this was a 2+2+10 minute penalty for fighting for Nicholson and a 2+2 for Kingston’s Clarkson for his role in the original incident. This decision saw Nicholson banished for the rest of the match and, as he was the leading player for the Mayhem, effectively ruled out any chance of them getting back into the game.
Clarkson scored Kingston’s 5th goal on 41 minutes and, try as they might, the Manchester players were unable to make any further breakthrough.
So Kingston finish the regular season with 8 wins form their 8 games – the first time any team has done that. But Manchester could still get a chance to have the last laugh over the Kestrels in the play offs when then two teams could meet again - depending on eventual league finishing positions - at Hull Arena over the weekend of 2nd & 3rd September.