Wednesday 30 September 2015

Peterborough Islanders Update

Islanders' Connor Stokes gets in a shot against Lions netminder James Tipple
(Photo by Richard Davies - Chud Photography)
Peterborough Islanders have had a good start to the new season and are sitting top of both the South 2 East table and the South 2 Cup Group B. 

They beat Lee Valley Lions 13-0 in the Cup on Sunday with James Pentecost top scoring with 1+4.

The Islanders beat Invicta Mustangs 6-3 in their only league game so far.  Last season’s league and cup winners Slough Jets are currently bottom – having lost their first league game of the season 4-3 away at Invicta.

NIHL South 1 Update

Match action from Streatham Redskins v Oxford
Photo by Rick Webb Photographic
Streatham Redskins are the early season leaders in NIHL South 1 having won all of their 4 games to date.   Saturday’s 10-3 victory over Oxford City Stars came hot on the heels of wins over MK Thunder, London Raiders and Bracknell Hornets. 

The Redskins have yet to meet any of the other traditional "top 4" teams yet this season and were trounced 9-1 away at Chelmsford Chieftains in the cup on Sunday night.   

Wightlink Raiders beat Milton Keynes 4-2 at the weekend and currently occupy 2nd place in the South 1 table but reigning champions Chelmsford Chieftains are lurking in 3rd with two wins from two league games thus far.

Laidler Match Report: Blackburn Eagles - Deeside Draogons

Filip Supa scores for Deeside Dragons away at Blackburn Eagles
Photo by Peter Sheffield (
Lol Paul will continue building a “strong team ethic” at Deeside Dragons, following Saturday night’s 11-1 drubbing of Blackburn Eagles. The win was Deeside’s third of the league season, taking them to top spot in the Laidler Conference standings – having scored 26 goals in those games.

Saturday’s encounter in Blackburn was hard fought early on, with the Dragons remaining goalless until the sixth minute of the first period. They ended the second session with a 4-1 advantage, before scoring a remarkable seven unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes.

Paul said: “I was delighted with the performance, and our fitness is really paying off. I’m building a strong team ethic here, as a gang of individual players will never win the league.

“We had some great goals from Adrian Palak and Philip Supa, but the guys are scoring from all over the team. I am very pleased with that.

“The lads went into the second period break with a 4-1 lead, but they weren’t happy. They wanted to go out and really step it up, which they did.”

Supa was on target twice in the opening period, with further strikes from Palak and Marc Lovell after the break, before Blackburn scored their only goal of the game.

The third period, however, was all one-way traffic, with goals from James Parsons, Paul Davies, Palak (3), Ross Kennedy and Simon Furnival.

Paul added: “After a performance like that, you have to keep pushing the lads to improve. If we rested on our laurels, we would stagnate.

“The game is history now. We’ve done what we need to do, but now we have to prepare for the next game. We’ll be doing that all week in training.

“Blackburn have already beaten Nottingham, so that should give us an indication of where we are. But as I’ve said many times before, we can't underestimate anybody."

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Widnes Wild 6 - Coventry Blaze 1 : A Few Thoughts....

Goal mouth action from Widnes Wild's win over Coventry Blaze
Photo by Geoff White  (
The term “a game of two halves” is usually attributed to football but this match was pretty much  game of two halves as well – even thought it was, obviously,  played over the customary three 20 minute thirds.

With Widnes Wild having already beaten Coventry 0-6 on their own ice and the Blaze having only scored 3 goals in their 4 - winless - games to date, this game really looked like being a simple formality – at least on paper.

On ice it was a completely different kettle of fish and, for the first period you couldn’t really tell which side had enjoyed the better start to the season. Coventry looked very well organised, defended well and looked dangerous going forward.  But, what do you expect? They now have former Chicago Blackhawks NHL draftee, reclassified import, former GB International Ian Pound - a veteran of over 300 top class games in the UK dating back to the British League period as head coach for this season - so things would have to improve.

 OK - Widnes had their chances as well but they didn’t really seem to stamp as much authority on the game as one might have expected and then shock horror – Coventry took the lead.

With the scoreline still at 0-1 heading towards the break, Lucy suggested that we might have to come up with a headline using the term “Coventry Climax”. My somewhat fertile imagination started running away with all sorts of visions of West Midlands sex shops and the like until she reminded me that this was, in fact, the name of a famous engineering company that used to make engines for Formula 1 cars in the 50s and 60s.   We then spent most of the first break looking up the history of this fascinating company on my phone – which you can now read about   HERE

Most ice hockey games that I have been to tend to have a certain game changing moment that usually comes in the second period. I don’t why it happens then - but it just does.  The game changing moment on this occasion was the 28th minute. Prior to the 28th minute, Coventry had been leading and Widnes had huffed and puffed without really achieving anything.  Then came two goals 39 seconds apart and it was “game over”.  I didn’t actually see the second goal because I was busy writing a note about the first one when it went in.     

Coventry had no reply to offer and, by the end of the second period, it was 4-1 to the Wild - and my concerns about concocting a Coventry Climax related headline were gladly diminishing.

A 5th goal right at the start of the third period from player coach Scott McKenzie  – the first strike of the night at our end of the ice – settled any remaining doubts as to how this game was going to go and then a well taken short-handed goal towards the end wrapped up the scoring.

This was a very pleasurable game to watch all round – and the various break time entertainments such as the two girls giving an ice dancing demonstration and, later on, the Chuck a Duck competition all help to make match night at Widnes a fun experience for all the family.

Incidentally: I have to say that this was one of the quickest finishing games that I have ever seen.  The first 7 minutes ran through almost without stopping the clock at all and the first period was over in easily less than half an hour. The match had finished by 7.40 (having started at 5.30) and I can only assume that somebody was in a hurry to watch the rugby or something…



Laidler Conference Weekend Round Up - 26th & 27th September

Deeside Dragons remain top after a 1-11 win away at Blackburn Eagles on Saturday.  The Dragons remain the only team in the Laidler with a 100% record from their 4 games to date. 

Nottingham Lions beat Hull Jets 6-2 to leapfrog them into second place and Widnes Wild remain 4th after a 6-1 over struggling Coventry Blaze.

The Eagles hit back on Sunday night to win 2-3 away at Altrincham Aces and they join Widnes on 6 points from 4 games in a comfortable mid-table position.

Altrincham Aces picked up their first win of the season with 1-6 win away at Coventry Blaze. The Blaze remain pointless with 5 defeats from their 5 games and a terrible record of having only scored 4 goals in total so far.

Moralee Conference Weekend Round Up: 26th & 27th September

Erik Bakalar scores for Solihull Barons against Solway Sharks
(photo by Keith & Jenny Davies) 
Whitley Warriors remain top of the Moralee Conference after a 5-4 home win over Telford Tigers. They had led 3-0 after two periods but 3 straight goals from the visitors left the Warriors needing to dig deep and they made sure of the win with a PPG from Ben Richards on 57.25.

24 hours earlier, the Tigers had picked up their first win of the season with 6-3 home win over Solway Sharks with last season’s Laidler Conference top scorer James Smith hitting 4+2.

The Sharks’ away day blues continued on Sunday when they lost 5-4 away to Solihull Barons, giving the Midlands side their first win of the season.

With 3 Moralee teams playing their home games at iceSheffield this season, there was always going to be lot tension in the Steel City and last weekend saw back to back encounters between Sutton Sting and Sheffield Spartans.  Sting beat Spartans 7-5 in their “home” game on Saturday and Spartans got the revenge the next night with a very tense 1-0 victory - the only goal of the game coming from Michael Mawer on a 5-3 powerplay at 17.17.

That win moves the Spartans back up into 3rd place with 6 points from their 5 games so far, level with Blackburn Hawks who didn’t have a game at the weekend. The Warriors lead the table with 9 points from 5 games.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Widnes To Play Higher Opposition In New NIHL North Cup

NIHL North Laidler Conference side Widnes Wild will take on three teams from the higher Moralee Conference in a revamped NIHL North Cup competition.

They will play Solway Sharks, Billingham Stars and Blackburn Hawks in the round robin competition, with each side playing the other home and away. Games tied at 60 minutes will be resolved with a sudden-death overtime period followed by penalty shots if required to secure a decisive result.

Competition points will be two points for any win, one point for an OT or shootout loss and nothing for a regulation loss.  At the conclusion of the round robin games the team with the most points will be the Cup winners.

The full list of cup fixtures is as follows:

31/10/2015 Solway v Blackburn
08/11/2015 Blackburn v Solway
28/11/2015 Solway v Billingham
09/01/2016 Billingham v Widnes
13/02/2016 Billingham v Solway
27/02/2016 Blackburn v Widnes
06/03/2016 Widnes v Blackburn
12/03/2016 Billingham v Blackburn
27/03/2016 Widnes v Solway
02/04/2016 Blackburn v Billingham
02/04/2016 Solway v Widnes
03/04/2016 Widnes v Billingham

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Laidler Conference: Deeside Dragons 9 - Altrincham Aces 1

Deeside's Adrian Palak in action against Altrincham Aces
(Photo by Peter Sheffield -
Dragons boss Lol Paul admitted he raised his voice “for the first time this season” during Saturday’s 9-1 win over Altrincham Aces – and his side responded with five unanswered goals.​

A bad-tempered encounter at Chester Road saw the Dragons leading 4-1 at the end of the second period, with Owen Bennett thrown out of the game for fighting.

Paul lifted the lid on his frustrations with the Deeside squad during that second break, as Altrincham threatened to claw their way back into contention and their response confirmed the Flintshire side’s pre-season tag as favorites for Laidler Conference honours.

Paul said: “It definitely wasn’t as easy as it looked against Altrincham. We spent a lot of time in the penalty box, and they had a seven-minute powerplay. I have never seen that happen before.

“We were a bit flat in the first and second periods, but still ended that part of the game 4-1. In the second break, I raised my voice for the first time this season and the guys scored five times.

“There were a few silly penalties for lipping at the referee, but I was still pleased with our overall performance. Adrian Palak was outstanding and his second goal was an absolute rocket.”

Palak was on target after just seven minutes on Saturday night, before an equaliser from the Aces just moments later. Further strikes from Mike Jones and Filip Supa extended that advantage before the first break, while Palak added a fourth on 26 minutes.

A chaotic middle session saw no further goals – but in the final 20 minutes, Deeside hit a purple patch. James Parsons added his first of the evening, alongside two further strikes from Palak, and goals from Supa and Simon Furnival.

Paul added: “I told the lads last night that every game is now a final. It is one thing to get to the top of the league, but another to stay there.

“We have got to go out and win every game, as the other teams will be looking to knock us off.

“It is a long season, so we need to keep up our 100mph energy and passion from the minute the puck drops.”

The Dragons are back in NIHL action next weekend, when they make the trip to face Blackburn Eagles on Saturday evening.

Laidler Conference - Weekend Round Up

Hull Jets top the Laidler Conference after a four point weekend that brought wins over the bottom two teams.  On Saturday night they won 0-3 away at Coventry Blaze and then edged out bottom team Bradford Bulldogs 5-4 in Hull on Sunday, despite being outshot 37 to 45.

Blackburn Eagles came back from 2-0 down to win 2-3 away at Nottingham Lions and inflict a first defeat of the season on the Midlands side.  The winning goal came from Captain Arron Arrowsuch with 5 minutes left to play.  The Lions had themselves 24 hours earlier snatched a last gasp powerplay winner as they won 4-5 away at Bradford Bulldogs on Saturday in a game that saw the home side amass 91 PIMs to the Lions’ 34.

In the other Laidler game of the weekend, Deeside Dragons beat Altrincham aces 9-1 on Saturday night to maintain their 100% start to the season but they now drop down to second place behind new leaders Hull.

Moralee Conference - Weekend Round Up

Whitley Warriors took over at the top of the Moralee Conference after a 3 point weekend that saw a 3-3 draw away at newly promoted Telford Tigers on Saturday and then a narrow 2-1 win at home to last season’s Laidler champions Solihull Barons at home on Sunday. 

The only other undefeated team - Blackburn Hawks - shut out Sutton Sting 5-0 and move up into second place, a point behind the Warriors.

The previous leaders - Sheffield Spartans - drop down to 4th place after being shut out 4-0 away at Billingham Stars on Sunday.     

In the other Moralee game of the weekend, Solway Sharks picked up their first win at the third attempt with a 12-1 demolition of Sheffield Senators who remain bottom of the table with 3 defeats so far. 

Wednesday 16 September 2015

2015 NIHL Yearbook Available NOW

The all new 2015 NIHL Yearbook is now available to order.

With 182 pages and 47 in full colour for the first time, the selling price of £8.50  represents the best value edition ever.

The 2015 NIHL Yearbook features league-by-league and team-by-team stats of all teams and competitions in NIHL North and South for the 2014/15 season including cups and play offs.

This is the only publication in the planet that covers NIHL ice hockey in this detail.  For details of how to order YOUR copy, click HERE

Moralee Conference Weekend Overview - 12th & 13th September

Goal action from the Blackburn Hawks v Telford Tigers game
Photo by Steve Pollitt
It’s Sheffield top and bottom of the of the Moralee Conference after the Sheffield Spartans faced newly promoted Sheffield Senators in back to back “home and away” games at the weekend.

Both teams play their home games at iceSheffield so the weekend was a very carbon friendly and the Spartans won both encounters 7-1. They lead the table on goal difference while  the Senators prop up the table having “played two - lost two”.

Solway Sharks currently occupy the unusual (for them) position of second from bottom as they have also lost both their opening games – a 3-5 home defeat to Billingham Stars coming hot on the heels of the 7-4 loss away at Whitley a week earlier.

The Warriors are currently second having also won both their opening games after a 2-6 win away over Moralee new boys Solihull Barons.   The other newly promoted team Telford Tigers lost 5-3 away at reigning champions Blackburn Hawks.  The result was incredibly close considering they were outshot by the Hawks by 80 shots to 37.    

Blackburn drop down to third despite having a 100% record so far as they have an inferior goal difference to both Spartans and Whitley.  Sutton Sting are one of 5 teams that have zero points so far this season although they are the only team yet to play a game.

NIHL North 2: 4 Point Start For Deeside Dragons

Match Action form Deeside Dragons v Blackburn Eagles
Photo by Peter Sheffield -
It was a four point weekend for the Dragons wining 10-2 at home on Sunday against Blackburn Eagles and then away on Sunday to Widnes Wild with a score of  7-5
Deeside Dragons got their Laidler Conference campaign off to the best possible start with a 10-2 demolition of Blackburn Eagles.  Simon Furnival was on target after just 60 seconds on Saturday night, before a further strike from James Parsons on five minutes.
Marc Lovell doubled that advantage with two goals midway through the session, before Simon Furnival added a fifth on 19 minutes. 
Blackburn, however, grabbed some consolation with their first goal just before the interval. The onslaught continued in the second period, but not before the visitors struck once again, with just two minutes on the clock.
James Parsons and Adrian Palak shared the spoils in that middle session, with Parsons recording his hat-trick, while Palak bagged a brace to make it 9-2.
A relatively quiet third period, meanwhile, saw just the one goal, from Parsons, as the Dragons eased the pressure on Blackburn’s goal.
The Dragons have started of the season in style with a four point weekend after a road win on Sunday night at Widnes Wild
Head coach Lol Paul said "Its been a great weekend for the Dragons with two wins and four points and sitting at the top of the league I could not have asked for more from the lads ,and to come back from 3-1 down to win 7-5 away from home shows lot of commitment and determination"
it was a gritty affair with both teams taking penalties but Widnes raced to an early 3-1 lead by the end of the first period.  The Dragons came out in the second period and turned the game around with five unanswered goals to finally go on to win the game 7-5 and take all the points

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Challenge Match: Deeside Dragons 2 - Telford NIHL Tigers 4

Photo by Peter Sheffield -
Deeside Dragons boss Lol Paul is determined to draw the positives from his pre-season programme, despite a 4-2 defeat to Telford Tigers NIHL.
Saturday night at Chester Road saw a healthy crowd welcome the Red Hockey era to Flintshire, following a summer of changes at the club.
But with Telford taking advantage of a slow start to secure a 4-2 victory, Paul must now wait until the start of the NIHL season next weekend for his first win.
And the Dragons chief believes his side is poised to fulfill expectations in the Laidler Conference.
He said: “It was a good game for us and there were a lot more positives than negatives. We outshot Telford by nine shots, but their netminder stood on his head.
“That isn’t to take anything away from The Tigers, and they never stopped pushing our guys.
“We’ve got two good imports and a team of strong players, so we should be a match for anyone in the league.
“I am pleased with the performance, but at the end of the day, the scoreline doesn’t lie.”
Philip Mulcachy was first on the scoresheet for Telford after just six minutes, before a strike from James Smith just moments later.
Deeside hit back through Adrian Palak at the start of the second period, although the visitors secured victory later on with goals from Callum Bowley and Brad Betteridge.
That was despite a late consolation goal from Deeside’s Filip Supa.
Paul added: “It was a good atmosphere in the rink, but I want a really packed out crowd next Saturday night for our first league game against Blackburn.
“When there is 800 people in this rink, the noise is incredible and it really spurs the guys on.
“I’ve looked at the other teams and how they played at the weekend. We have got to be careful and take it one game at a time.”​

Laidler Conference Weekend Round Up - 5th & 6th September

Goalmouth action from the game between Bradford and Blackburn
(photo by Matt Strong)
Blackburn Eagles are the early leaders of the table after a 1-8 win away at Bradford Bulldogs. They outshot their hosts 41 to 76 in lively game that saw 130 minutes of penalties (65 each) and the lion’s share of the goals were scored by new summer signings.

Slovakian Tomas Mitrik – who played at Deeside Dragons last season – hit 2+1 and fellow former Dragon Chris Jones added 2+0. 
Former Lancashire Raptor Bobby Caunce, who joined from Widnes Wild in the summer, scored 2+0 and the other Eagles goals came from Arron Arrowsuch and Carl Slater. 

Caunce’s previous club set their stall out for the new campaign with a 0-6 shut out of Coventry Blaze down in the Midlands.  New player coach – former Telford EPL Tiger Scott McKenzie - scored 1+3 as the Wild outshot the Blaze 20-51.

In the other Laidler game of the weekend, Hull Jets drew 2-2 at home to Nottingham Lions

Moralee Conference Weekend Round Up - 5th & 6th September

Blackburn Hawks appear to have picked where they left off last season with a 0-4 shut out of last season’s league and play off runners up Billingham Stars away in the North East.   The Hawks outshot their hosts 30-36 and goals from new signings RJay Berra (2+0) and Richard Bentham (1+0), along with fans’ favourite Tom King (1+0)  - were much more than the Stars could cope with. 

Things went better further up the north east coast where the new look Whitley Warriors defeated Solway Sharks 7-4. 

Most of the talk during the summer has been about the return of GB international David Longstaff and Canadian import Andre Payette to the Bay and it was the former Guildford Flames EPL captain who made the biggest impact on the match with a haul of 3+2. 
Sharks’ new Slovakian import - former Edinburgh and Dundee Elite League player - Martin Cingel hit 2-2 as his team battered the Warriors - outshooting them by 46 to 78 and even leading for a while in the first half of the game - but the previously perennial champions were unable to make their pressure count and were kept goalless for the last 30 minutes.

Sunday 6 September 2015

Saturday Results At A Glance

Laidler Conference:
Bradford Bulldogs 1- Blackburn Eagles 8
Hull Jets 2 – Nottm Lions 2
Coventry Blaze 0 – Widnes Wild 6