Wednesday 28 October 2015

Laidler Report: Nottingham Lions 1 - Widnes Wild 4

The Widnes Wild made the trip across country to Nottingham on Sunday night to face a confident Nottingham Lions side in another closely fought battle.

Wild arrived in Nottinghamshire minus Ben Brown, Chris Gee, Calum Ruddick, Pavel Vales, Tom McDonald and would go on to lose Michal Fico through injury during the 3rd period. A short bench with just 12 players showed great determination and heart to beat the league leaders on their own territory.

The first period was as cagey as the previous week with both teams trying to get a foothold on the game, but it was the Wild who broke the deadlock with a Geoff Wigglesworth strike from just inside the blue line, squeaking through the Nottingham netminder’s arm and into the back of the net. Wild would go on to end the period maintaining their 1-0 lead.

It was clear to see that the coaching staff had their men organised and prepared as during the second period it was the Wild who took control. An end to end skate from Scott Mckenzie, with Chris Preston and Michal Fico creating diversions ended up in Mckenzie finding the back of the net with a quick shot past the glove of the Lions netminder making it 2-0 to the delight of the travelling fans. A Lions penalty gave Widnes a chance to stamp further authority in the game and they just did that. A deadly powerplay saw Dippnall find Mckenzie who quickly got the puck to Wigglesworth and with no hesitation, the Wild #12 shot the puck into the top right hand corner of the net which saw the visitors head into the break with a comfortable and deserved 3-0 lead.

A penalty strewn 3rd period saw the Wild score a further powerplay goal from Captain Shaun Dippnall. With just over a minute to go Nottingham managed to finish off a scramble in front of Wild goalie Greg Ruxton giving them a consolation goal. The game finished 4-1 to the visiting Widnes Wild, a much deserved payback and victory from the loss to the Lions the previous Sunday. Wild Head Coach Scott Mckenzie had this to say about his teams terrific performance on Sunday night;

‘What a huge lift this will give my guys. To turn up in a tough building like this against a good side that took 2 points off us last week and play such a disciplined game all over the ice is very pleasing.’

‘I really cannot fault the guys tonight. They gave everything and showed so much character with such a short bench. A mention must go to our goalie Greg Ruxton who faced a lot of shots and was solid all night. I’m a really proud coach tonight and I think this could be a game that we look back on at the end of the season as a turning point for us.’

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend Of 24th & 25th October 2015

Photo by Ella Thornton -
Nottingham Lions’ lead at the top of the table was cut to just 3 points after they were sensationally beaten 1-4 at home by Widnes Wild on Sunday.

The Wild led throughout and the Lions’ only goal of the game came in the 57th minute. The Lions outshot their visitors 57 to 44 but got into penalty trouble in the latter stages once it was obvious that the game was slipping away from them.

Second place Deeside Dragons took full advantage to close the gap on the leaders with a 4-6 win away at Altrincham Aces.

In the only other Laidler game of the weekend, Blackburn Eagles beat bottom club Bradford Bulldogs 7-4 on Saturday to give them a record of 6 wins from their first 9 games

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 24th & 25th October 2015

Sheffield Spartans netminder Andy Bagshaw entertains
the fans after the match v Solihull is abandoned
(Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)
Unfortunately, the biggest talking point of the weekend in the Moralee Conference wasn’t Whitley Warriors’ first defeat of the season at the hands of Solway Sharks nor was it the rough and tumble of a closely contested North East derby with Billingham the night after. 

Most attention was focused on the game between Sheffield Spartans and Solihull Barons on Saturday which was abandoned at the end of the second period after what has been described as an “incident between a Spartans player and a match official”.

We don’t have all the details but our “man on the spot” Phil Holden has reported that both sets of players state that the incident was not intentional and was certainly not worth the fuss that it appears to have caused.  But, following this, the match officials appear to have lost control of the situation and called the game off after 40 minutes - with the Barons leading 3-7 at the time.

Following this premature curtailment of the match, Spartans netminder Andrew Bagshaw decided to entertain the crowd with a comic striptease in the middle of the ice – somewhat reminiscent of the scene from the iconic 1970’s hockey film “Slapshot”.

The result of this game seems to have stood as a 3-7 win for the Barons as it was entered as such on the EIHA website and the Barons went on to beat the Spartans again on Sunday night – by 10 goals to 3 on home ice – this time over the full 60 minutes.    This result sees the Barons move up into 3rd placed in the table.

Had that incident not happened, the main weekend news would have been Whitley Warriors - who had previously been unbeaten – coming away with just 1 point from their two weekend games. 

In a spectacular dip in form they lost 4-2 away at Solway Sharks on the Saturday night and then drew 4-4 with Billingham Stars on Sunday. 

In the other Moralee game of the weekend, Telford Tigers beat Sutton Sting 7-4 to keep themselves in the mid-table mix at this early stage of the season.

Blackburn Hawks remain unbeaten at the top of the table with 16 points from 8 games, having not played at the weekend.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Peterborough Islanders S2e Update

Peterborough Islanders shut out Lee Valley Lions 16-0 in the South 2 East Conference on Sunday in a game that saw them outshoot the visitors 96 to 7! Bradley Moore hit 3+3 and Shaun Yardley 2+4 as the Islanders tore into the short benched Lions who only had 10 skaters and one netminder with them.

Peterborough forward Leon Groom went in goal for the 3rd period and kept out all three shots that he faced.

As a result of this victory, the Islanders move up to second in the table, level on points with both leaders Chelmsford Warriors and Slough Jets.

Photo by Richard Davies – chud photography

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Match Report: Widnes Wild 2 - Nottingham Lions 4

Photo by Geoff White -
The Nottingham Lions made the visit to Widnes Silver Blades Ice Rink on Sunday evening to face a Wild team that have started the season in a reasonably good manner.

A cagey first period saw both teams create good opportunities but they just weren’t able to find a way past either goalie. With the fans on the edge of their seat, the first period ended 0-0, and both coaches would have been happy with their teams after such a frantic start.

The Lions got off to a great start in the second period. On the power-play, a redirected shot squeeked through Wild netminder Greg Ruxton's pads to give the visitors the lead. The Wild however found their groove and attacked the Lions, wave after wave and eventually found a way through with a great finish from Geoff Wigglesworth. Good work from Scott Mckenzie found Wigglesworth open at the back door to put the puck high into the net to get the Wild back on level terms. Period 2 ending evenly at 1-1.

Both teams returned to the ice for the third period knowing that it was going to be a tight finish, which it certainly proved to be. Nottingham again getting on the score sheet relatively early in the period to make it 2-1 to the Lions. Wild again came back at the opposition and eventually with six minutes remaining, Geoff Wigglesworth found himself open in front of the net to tap home from short distance and tie the game at 2-2. With just three minutes remaining, an error in the Wild defence gave the Lions a breakaway in which they duly obliged, finishing low in the bottom corner and giving the visitors a crucial 3-2 lead with just minutes left on the clock.
The Wild pushed for an equaliser, pulling the goalie to get the extra player on the ice but to no avail, the Lions again able to score on the empty net and creating a 4-2 scoreline.

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 17th & 18th October 2015

Nottingham Lions extended their lead at the top of the Laidler Conference to 5 points after a clinical 2-4 victory away at Widnes Wild. Lions outshot their hosts 49 to 32 and never really looked like losing, although the result was only made certain with an empty net goal 13 seconds from the end after the Wild had pulled their netminder to push for an equaliser.

Deeside Dragons remain a comfortable second place after a 3-5 win away at Coventry Blaze on Saturday.  They are 5 points behind leaders Nottingham but have 3 games in hand.

Hull Jets early season form seems to have abandoned them as they lost both their games at the weekend - losing 5-7 at home to Blackburn Eagles on Saturday (who move up into 3rd place as a result) and then 7-2 away at Altrincham Aces on Sunday.

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 17th & 18th October 2015

Goal celebration for Blackburn Hawks in their win away at Solway Sharks
(Photo by Steve Pollitt)
Blackburn Hawks continued their 100% start to the season with a 2-7 win away at Solway Sharks on Saturday night. They now have 8 wins from their 8 games to date and lead unbeaten Whitley Warriors by three points having played one game more.

The Warriors picked up a 2-3 win away at Sutton Sting and are the only other unbeaten team in the Moralee Conference.  The top two have yet to play each other this season and their first meeting will be at Hillheads on 6th December.

Sheffield Spartans good start to the season continued with a 6-2 win over Telford Tigers on Sunday night which puts them back up into 3rd place. The Tigers beat Billingham Stars 3-1 on Saturday to keep them in 4th.

The Stars also lost on Sunday night – 3-5 at home to Solihull Barons and their indifferent start of the season sees them currently in 6th place with just 6 points from their first 8 games. 

Sheffield Senators remain rooted to the bottom of the table after two more defats – 3-7 to Solihull Barons on Saturday and then 1-9 at home to Solway Sharks on Sunday.  They are now 4 points adrift second bottom Sutton Sting who have played one game fewer.

Thursday 15 October 2015

IHR Award For Blackburn Hawks Netminder

Photo by John Milton -
Blackburn Hawks  netminder Daniel Brittle was presented with the Ice Hockey Review Award for most shut outs in the Moralee Conference during the 2014/15 season. Ice Hockey Review Editor Paul Breeze made the presentation  after the Hawks’ home win against Solway Sharks on Sunday.

A similar award has also been presented to Telford Tigers’ netminder Denis Bell for the most shut outs in the Laidler Conference last season.   

Paul explained the reason for the award:

“Daniel Brittle picked up 4 shut-outs during the Hawks’ Moralee Conference championship season but only finished in 4th place in the overall netminder standings which are calculated on Save %, for which he got 92.16.

Stuart Ashton picked up 1 shut-out and came second in the overall table with his 92.75 Save %, just shy of the Moralee’s top “saver” - Billingham’s James Flavell who stopped 93.83% of the shots that he faced. 

It just so happens that statistics can say almost whatever you want them to say because, if you calculated the overall standings using Goals per Game Average (like they used to a long time ago), then Stuart Ashton would have come out top, followed by Brittle in second and Solway’s Gary Russell in 3rd place. 

Ironically, it is because the Hawks played so well as a team last season and dominated so many of their games, that Dan and Stu’s Sa% records are a little inferior to Flavell’s – whose team obviously had a worse season.  Both Blackburn netminder faced considerably fewer shots per game than other netminders in the league and their Sa% was skewed accordingly.  
In the Laidler Conference, Telford NIHL Tigers’ Denis Bell picked up an amazing 5 shut outs and came second overall on Sa% and GAA to Solihull Barons’ netminder Josh Nicholls –who was the Laidler top stopper for the second season in a row.

Because of this, I thought there was a case for giving both Dan and Denis a special shut out award."

You can find more fascinating stats from the 2014/15 season in NIHL North and South in the new Ice Hockey Review NIHL Yearbook - available now CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Match Report: Widnes Wild 9 - Hull Jets 2

Photo by Geoff White -
The Widnes Wild returned to action on Sunday night playing host to the Hull Jets who travelled to the nearly sold out Silver Blades rink with twenty players and some dedicated supporters.

With both teams looking to secure second place in the league, it was always likely there would be a frantic start to the game.  Within the first few minutes both teams had chances, but it was the Jets that took an early lead with some scrappy play in front of the Wild goal seeing the puck eventually bundled over the line.

Within minutes the home team had equalised with Player/Coach Scott Mckenzie showing his pedigree when he skilfully placed the puck in the net past Hull netminder David Good.   Hull then showed why they were early league leaders when they responded almost instantly with a breakaway goal to reclaim the lead.

However the Wild weren’t about to let the team from East Yorkshire establish dominance and some great team work saw a brace of goals from McKenzie give the Widnes boys a 3-2 lead heading into the break.

Widnes opened up the second period where they left off. After a spell of possession in the Jets end the Wild got that forth goal they were looking for, knocking the wind out of the travelling side whose heads visibly dropped thanks to a Geoff Wigglesworth shot from the edge of the circle.  Pavel Vales then capitalised on an inch perfect pass from Wild Skipper Shaun Dippnall to enable the Wild to leave the ice at the end of the second period leading the Jets 5-2.

The third period was little more than a masterclass in ice hockey from the Wild with goals from Wigglesworth, Dippnall, Kieran Strangeway and Mckenzie sealing a 9-2 victory and leaving Wild in second place in the league table.

 Coach Mckenzie had this to say about the game;

‘I don’t think we were truly at our best tonight, which is really frightening. There is some good hockey being played but we really need to start better in games.’

‘We have played 5 games now and I still don’t think we have played for a full 60 minutes, it will come, it is still early in the season but I do believe this team will get better. This is just the beginning,” added the Scotsman.

 With another two points in the bag for the Wild next week the Widnes team face their more challenging opposition so far as league leaders, Nottingham Lions, travel to Widnes.  Face off is at 17:30 on Sunday with doors opening at 4:45pm and the game should prove to be an exciting, physical match between the top two teams in the league.

Lailder Conference Round Up - Weekend of 10th & 11th October 2015

Photo by Rob Hutchinson
Nottingham Lions remain top of the table after  a close fought 6-5 victory  over Blackburn Eagles - the winning goal coming just 2 minutes from the final buzzer. 

Widnes Wild move up into third place after a 9-2 demolition of Hull Jets, on equal points with 2nd place Deeside Dragons who did not play at the weekend.

Bradford Bulldogs picked their first win of the season on Saturday – at the 8th attempt – with a 5-2 win over Coventry Blaze.   They then lost away at Altrincham Aces 7-2 on Sunday in what was only the Aces’ second win of the season.

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 10th & 11th October 2015

Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies
Blackburn Hawks are top of the table after a 4 point weekend  saw them extend their unbeaten start to the season to seven wins in seven games.  On Saturday afternoon they beat Sheffield Spartans 4-12 away at iceSheffield with Adam Brittle top-scoring with 2+4 and then, on Sunday night they,  outshot Solway Sharks 78 to 34 in a 5-1 victory.

Whitley Warriors drop to second place with 11 points from their 6 games to date, having not played at the weekend.

Solihull Barons picked up their second win of the season with a 9-0 demolition of bottom team Sheffield Spartans – massively outshooting them  89 to 20. The Senators also lost 2-9 at home to Billingham Stars on Saturday, leaving them without a win from their 6 starts this season.  

In the other Moralee game of the weekend, Telford Tigers moved up into 4th place after a 1-3 win away at Sutton Sting. 

Monday 5 October 2015

Laidler Conference Round Up - Weekend of 3rd & 4th October 2015

Title hopefuls Deeside Dragons lost 2-7 at home to Nottingham Lions on Saturday night. The Lions also won 6-3 at home to Altrincham Aces on Sunday and now have a 3 point lead at the top of the Laidler table.

In the other Laidler game of the weekend, Coventry Blaze picked up their first win of the season with a 10-2 demolition of Bradford Bulldogs who remain bottom of the table with 6 defeats from their 6 games to date.   

Moralee Conference Round Up - Weekend of 3rd & 4th October 2015

Billingham Stars score a goal away against Sheffield Spartans at iceSheffield last Saturday.
(Photo by Steve Pollitt) 
Whitley Warriors remain top of the Moralee Conference after a 5-3 home win over Sutton Sting.
Despite outshooting their visitors 64 to 28, Whitley left it late to snatch both points, after a Sting goal 5 minutes from time saw them draw level.  A goal from player coach David Longstaff eased the Warriors back in front on 58.10 and then an empty net goal while the Sting had their netminder pulled in the last minute made certain of the result.

Blackburn Hawks extended their 100% start to the season to 5 wins from 5 starts with two victories of the weekend. They won 2-8 away at bottom club Sheffield Senators on Saturday and then shut out Sheffield Spartans 9-0 at home on Sunday night.  That was their THIRD shut out of the season already out of just 5 competitive starts and FOURTH overall, having also shut out Widnes Wild in a pre-season challenge match.     

Billingham Stars had a weekend to forget as they were beaten 6-4 on Saturday by Sheffield Spartans at iceSheffield (Spartans remain in 3rd place as a result) and then lost 2-3 at home to a quickly improving Telford Tigers side who now leapfrog the Stars into 4th place.  

In the other Moralee game of the weekend, Solihull Barons lost 4-2 away at Sutton Sting.

Match Of The Day: Deeside Dragons 12- Sutton Sting 3 (EIHA Under 15 North 2)

Deeside Dragons remain top of the NIHL Under 15 North 2 table after a sensational 12-3 win over Sutton Sting at Deeside Leisure Centre

Scoring as early as the second minute, they stormed into a commanding 5 - 0 lead and were only undone by a rare Sutton attack which saw the visitors pull one back 30 seconds from the end of the first period with what was effectively their first shot of the game.

Sutton found the back of the net first in the second period to narrow the deficit to 5-2 but three more goals from Deeside put the game beyond any reasonable doubt and they led 8-2 after two periods.

Four more goals followed for Deeside in the third period, with Sutton managing just one in reply.  The Dragons outshot their opponents 55-12 overall and finished off worthy 12-3 winners.  

The Deeside Dragons Under 15 team are next at home to Kingston (Hull) U15 on Sunday 18th October. Face off is at 4pm at admission is free.     

Saturday 3 October 2015

2015 NIHL Yearbook Available At Blackburn Hawks Home Games

We are pleased to advise that copies of the new Ice Hockey Review 2015 NIHL Yearbook will be on sale from the Supporters Club table at Blackburn Hawks home games starting from 11th October - which is the game against Solway Sharks.

Copies are also available at Wightlink Raiders home games and generally on the Isle of Wight from Chris Randall and at Whitley Warriors home games and in the North East from Chris Mackenzie.

If you would like to sell copies and make £££s for your NIHL team, supporters club or business, drop us a line HERE