Monday 18 December 2017

Halton Huskies and Steel City Hawks in 11 Goal Thriller

Sunday 17th December 2017 – Challenge Match
Halton Huskies 5 – Steel City Hawks 6
Period Scores: 2-0, 1-3, 2-3
Penalties In Minutes: Huskies 4 – Hawks 4

Huskies Scoring: Anthony Hughes 2+0, Jeff Chapman-Watson 1+1, Nathan Hewitt & Stephen Hay 1+0, Anna Barnett, Edward Ridding & Michael Parkin all 0+1

Hawks Scoring: Matthew Smith 4+0, Joe Scaife 1+0, Joshua Connolly 1+0, Ryan Collinson 0+1

Match Officials: Ray Ormes / Simon Anders

Report by Paul Breeze  /  Photos by Doug Brown (

The Widnes-based Halton Huskies recreational team played out a close fought and highly entertaining game against the Steel City Hawks but lost out by the narrowest of margins in a 5-6 defeat at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The game started well for the Huskies with two goals in the first period – from Jeff Chapman-Watson after just 4 minutes and then Stephen Hay in the 10th minute. They took the 2-0 lead into the first period break but the visitors visibly upped their game in the second period and pulled a goal back some 90 seconds after the restart.

A second goal for the visitors just before the halfway mark in the contest saw them draw level and a third goal at 36.11 saw them edge into the lead. The Huskies hit back with a goal from Nathan Hewitt 90 seconds later to tie the game at 3-3 and the match looked very evenly balanced heading into the third period.

The third period started badly for the Huskies as the Hawks retook the lead with a shorthanded goal on 43 minutes and then fired in two more goals just 11 seconds apart to give them a 3-6 lead by a 50.40. 23 seconds after that, the Huskies pulled a goal back through Anthony Hughes and a second strike by the same player on 54 minutes gave them some hope of salvaging something from the game.

The clock ticked down and there was no further goal action. The Huskies pulled netminder Stephen Burns for the last 30 seconds in order to add an extra attacker but they were unable to force a last ditch breakthrough and the match finished at 5-6 to the Hawks.

Full Line Ups:
Halton Huskies: Anna Barnett, Anthony Hughes, Connor Cooper, Daniel Trust, David Simonds, Edward Ridding, James Kelly, James Behan, James Williams, Jeff Chapman-Watson, Michael Parkin, Nathan Hewitt, Paul Barratt, Richard Evans, Stephen Burns, Stephen Hay.

Steel City Hawks: Aaron Domelia, Alexander Manning, Andrew Stafford, Andrew Cruise, Benjamin Cowell, Joe Scaife, Joseph Foster, Joshua Connolly, Luke Ryalls, Marc Maddy, Matthew Smith, Michael Winfield, Ryan Collinson

Friday 22 September 2017

UK Hockey Yearbook 2017 - Final Contents Announced!

Well, it’s almost that time again… and the NIHL Yearbook has a slightly different look to it for 2017. 

Following Stewart Roberts’ announcement mid-way through the summer that he wasn’t going to produce his excellent Ice Hockey Annual this year, we took the decision to juggle things around a bit and make space for those leagues that otherwise wouldn’t otherwise get any coverage this year.

Price: £ 8.50 inc free UK P&P
Quick order link:  

The UK Hockey Yearbook 2017 features:
Elite League, English Premier League, NIHL North & South, Women’s Leagues, British Para Ice Hockey league & Scottish National League with details of all league, cup and play off competitions.
Great photos throughout and lots of interesting features and articles as well.
Full details of book contents for 2017 -  as well as a contact link for overseas enquiries and multiple copy orders - can be found HERE

Pre-ordered copies will be mailed out as a priority!

Tuesday 22 August 2017 Summer Classic- Play Off Final: Grimsby Stormers 3 - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5

The Riverside Raiders trophy winning team
(Photo by Chris Johnstone)
Sunday 20th August 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Grimsby Stormers 3 – Riverside Raiders 5
Played at iceSheffield
Period Scores:  0-2, 2-3, 1-0
Penalties In Minutes:  Stormers 12 – Raiders 8

Raiders scoring:  Sam Plant - 3 goals, Gez Evans - 1 goal, 2 assist, Adam Jenkins - 1 goal, Owen Tennant & Elizabeth Wright 1 assist each.

Stormers Scoring:  Ashley Hulme, I Clark,  Lubo Svatojansky all 1+0, Chris Briggs, Sam Reynolds, Lewis Fenwick all 0+1

Riverside Raiders Win Summer Classic Play Off Trophy

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders ice hockey team won their first ever piece of silverware at the weekend when they beat Grimsby Stormers 5-3 in the Puckstop Summer Classic Play Off trophy final at iceSheffield.

The Raiders had progressed from a 5-team qualifying group and then beat the Wyre Seagulls in the semi-final to get to the final where they took on the team from Lincolnshire.

They took the lead in the 12th minute of the game with a goal from Sam Plant and were 2-0 up at the end of the first period after a 16th minute strike by Adam Jenkins doubled their lead. 

The Stormers were quickest out of the blocks in the second period and pulled a goal back just 3 minutes from the restart through Lubo Svatojansky.  Sam Plant hit back for the Raiders just 2 minutes later to restore the two goal advantage but another Grimsby goal at the half way mark (Clark) kept the league champions in contention.

Sam Plant’s third goal of the game came just 30 seconds later to calm Raiders’ nerves and then a goal from Gez Evans towards the end of the period left the scoreline looking much healthier from a Raiders point of view at 2-5 after 40 minutes of play.

The Stormers struck again just 3 minutes into the 3rd period to pull the score back to 3-5 and there followed an incredibly tense phase of Grimsby pressure and Raiders defence.  In their enthusiasm to mount a late challenge, the Stormers picked up a raft of penalties in the last period which effectively put an end to their chances and the Raiders played a solid defensive game to close thing down until  the final buzzer.     

The playoff win was a fitting reward for the Raiders players and supporters who had played well throughout this competition and only missed out on the league title on goal difference after finishing level with Grimsby on points in the group table. 

The Grimsby Stormers Play Off Final team
(Photo by Chtis Johnstone)
Riverside Raiders Players:
Adam Jenkins,  Adam Murphy, Anthony Hughes, Ben Donkin, Charlie Perry (NM), Eemeli Vuourihovi, Elizabeth Wright, Gez Evans, Howard Hughes, Josh Birtwistle, Mike Teinert, Nick Jackson, Owen Tennant, Peter O’Mahony, Sam Plant, Stephen Harvey.

Grimsby Stormers Players: 
Andrew Portess, Ashley Hame, Chris Briggs, Gareth Drinkell, Ian Clark, Jason Haigh, John Yorston, Kirt Reynolds, Kyle Mitchell-Quinn, Lewis Fenwick, Lubomir Svatojanksy, Steven Drew

Monday 21 August 2017

Para Ice Hockey: Manchester Mayhem 2 - Kingston Kestrels 5

Sunday 20TH August 2017 – English Para Ice Hockey League
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.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Stormers to Take on Raiders in Play Off Final

The 2017 Summer Classic reaches its climax this Sunday 20th August when the Grimsby Stormers take on the Widnes-based Riverside Raiders in the play-off final at iceSheffield – 4.15pm face off.

Honours are pretty much even between the two teams thus far in the competition with both having beaten all the other teams and, intriguingly enough, each having won on each other’s ice pad during the group stage.

The Raiders inflicted Grimsby’s only defeat home or away with an 8-10 win on the East Coast back in May before losing 5-6 at home in a game that they had led 3-0 at the end of the first period.  

Both teams finished up with an identical playing record of “won 5, lost 1” but Grimsby topped the group on goal difference after a couple of landslide victories over short-benched visiting teams on their difficult home rink.

The top two sailed through the semi-finals - beating Blackburn Buccaneers and Wyre Seagulls respectively – and now meet in a one off game at a neutral venue to decide the winners of the play-off trophy.   

Photo: match action from the Riverside Raiders v Grimsby Stormers group match at Silver Blades Widnes on 21st May. Credit: David Law Photography – see more great photos  HERE

Monday 7 August 2017

Para Ice Hockey: Manchester Mayhem 3 - Peterborough Phantoms 2 (OT Win)

The Manchester Mayhem team at Widnes on Sunday
Sunday 6TH August 2017 – English Para Ice Hockey League
Played at Silver Blades, Widnes
Manchester Mayhem 3 – Peterborough Phantoms 2
Period Scores: 1-0, 0-0, 1-2, 1-0
Penalties in Minutes:  Manchester 0 – Peterborough 2
Referee: Mr Smith

Mayhem line-up: Karl Nicholson (1+0), Graham Wilson (2+1, Dean Lahan, Ant Booth (0+2), Rob Allen (0+2), Liz Turner, Steve Midgehall, Steve Bradley

Phantoms line-up:  Rob Gaze, Naomi Adie, Matt Coleman (2+0), Scott Turner (0+1, Stuart Perridge, Dan Loe (2 PIM), Kieran O’Meara 0+1, Ali Amini, Ben Vernon, David O’Meara

The Manchester Mayhem Para Ice Hockey Team secured their place in the end of season play offs with a dramatic last minute victory over Peterborough Phantoms at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The game was very closely contested throughout and was a very entertaining spectacle for the sizeable crowd that had come to support the two very well matched teams.

After a very close opening phase, with both teams having numerous chances, Mayhem took the lead on 12.48 with a goal from Graham Wilson (assisted Ant Booth and Rob Allen) and then a goalless second period meant that the contest was still very finely poised at 1-0 heading into the final 15 minutes.    

The Peterborough team – who had looked dangerous throughout finally broke down the stubborn Mayhem defence and fired in two goals in two minutes - both scored by Matt Coleman (36.59 & 38.18) – to take the lead with 7 minutes left to play.   
It was beginning to look as if it wasn’t going to be Manchester team’s day as the clock ticked down towards the end of the game but then Mayhem’s Karl Nicholson pulled the home side back level with a superbly taken goal at 42.07 (assists Wilson & Booth).  With the score tied at 2-2 after 45 minutes regulation time, the game went into a 5 minute period of sudden death overtime – with the possibility of a penalty shoot-out if the scores were to remain level after that.

The overtime period was played at tremendous pace and the atmosphere around the rink was electric. Both teams had their chances but neither could make that all important breakthrough but then, just as it looked as if the match would go to penalty shots, Graham Wilson fired in the dramatic game-winning-goal for the Mayhem with just 24 seconds left on the clock.

The Manchester Mayhem are in action again in two weeks’ time - on Sunday 20th August - when they entertain league champions Kingston Kestrels in their final league game of the season at Silver Blades Widnes.  The game faces off at 6.30pm and admission is free.   
You can find out more about the Manchester Mayhem Para Ice Hockey Club via their Facebook page:  HERE

Monday 31 July 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 7 - Wyre Seagills (Blackburn) 3

Sam Plant (#87) was Raiders' MVP against Wyre Seagulls
photo by David Law Photography
Sunday 30th July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 7 – Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 3
Period Scores: 5-0, 2-1, 0-2
Penalties in Minutes:  Raiders 69 – Seagulls 12

Raiders Scoring: Gez Evans 2+0, Jack Walker 1+1, Sam Plant 1+1, Adam Jenkins, Jordan Birtwistle, Mike Teinert all 1+0, Peter O’Mahoney & David Priestley 0+1

Seagulls Scoring: Matthew Duncan 2+0, Tom Murphy 1+0, Liam Hogan 0+1

MVPs:  Raiders – Sam Plant / Seagulls – team award in memory of #7 Rob Craig

Match Officials:  Chris Wells & Josh Humphreys

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders won through to the Play Off final of the
Puckstop Summer Classic with a 7-3 semi-final win over Blackburn-based Wyre Seagulls at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The home side took the lead as early as the 2nd minute with a well taken goal by top scorer Gez Evans and then doubled the advantage 4 minutes later with a strike from Sam Plant.    

Two amazing short-handed goals followed within 30 seconds of each – slotted away by Jack Walker and Evans, again, while Dave Priestley was sitting out a 2 minute holding penalty, and the Raiders were 4-0 up with just 10 minutes played.

A goal by Mike Teinert after 15 minutes rounded off the scoring for the first period and the Raiders looked to be in a commanding position at 5-0 ahead.

The Wyre Seagulls found their feet in the second period and managed to stem the flow of goals.  With several former ENL players in their ranks, they closed down the Raiders’ attacks and began to look much more dangerous going forward themselves.  Despite the shift in momentum, it was the home side who scored next with yet another shorthanded goal – this time by Adam Jenkins who fired home just before the half way point of the game.

After going close on many occasion, the visitors finally managed to find the net in the 35th minute when Matthew Duncan opened their account with a fine unassisted goal, although the fightback didn’t last long as Raiders’ Jordan Birtwistle restored the 6-goal advantage less than a minute later.

There was no more scoring in the reminder of the period and the score after 40 minutes’ play stood at 7-1 to the Raiders.

The Raiders thought they had scored again within minutes of the start of the third period but the goal was waved off for a man in the crease. 

The third period as a whole was very robustly contested by both teams and saw numerous penalties handed out – mainly to Raiders players as they tried to keep the resurgent Seagulls at bay.   

A match penalty and a 5+game were awarded during a frantic few minutes which saw as many Raiders players in the penalty box as on the ice at one point and it was, therefore, no great surprise when the Seagulls scored a powerplay goal – Matt Duncan’s second of the game – in the 57th minute.      

With just a minute left in the game, Wyre’s Tom Murphy scored the Seagull’s third goal, taking advantage of a delayed penalty call on the Raiders, to round off the scoring for the night.

The result sees the Raiders go through to the Puckstop Summer Classic Play Off Final which will take place at iceSheffield on Sunday 20th August – full details to be confirmed. 

The Widnes Wildcats picked up their second win of the Summer Cup competition with a 6-2 victory over Grimsby Lightning. The result sees them move off the bottom of the group table, leapfrogging Solihull Vikings, and keeps them in contention for a play-off place as they have games in hand over all the other teams.

Next weekend sees a veritable feast of ice hockey at Silver Blades Widnes starting off on Saturday night – at the rather late face-off time of 10.15pm when the Halton Huskies take on Newcastle Predators in a challenge game.

Then on Sunday, the Wildcats are at home in the Summer Cup, face off 4.30pm and after that, sledge hockey - or Para Ice Hockey as it is now known – comes to Widnes as the Manchester Mayhem team take on the Peterborough Phantoms in a battle for league positions and a place in the play offs. 

That game faces off at 6.30pm and admission to all games over the weekend is free.

Photo by David Law Photography - see more great photos  HERE

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Summer Cup: Tough Weekend For Widnes Wildcats

Wildcats team away at Hull on Saturday
(Photo by Tony King Photography)
The Widnes Wildcats had a difficult weekend that saw them slump to two defeats on the road in the Summer Cup competition. They lost 14-3 away to the Kingston Cobras in Hull on Saturday and then were beaten 10-0 on Sunday night by a very strong Blackburn Falcons team in East Lancashire.

Following these results, the Wildcats remain bottom of the Summer Cup table with 3 points from their 8 games to date, although they do still have games in hand over all the other teams in the competition. 

They are next in action this Sunday 30th July when they take on Grimsby Lightning in their next group game at Silver Blades Widnes.  The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.

There is actually a double header of ice hockey on Sunday at Silver Blades Widnes as the Riverside Raiders play their Puckstop Summer Classic semi-final against the Blackburn-based Wyre Seagulls later the same day in an 8.30pm face off.    

Photo by Tony King - see more great photos HERE

Monday 24 July 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Raiders Sink Buccaneers With Dramatic Late Win

Owen Tennant (#27) was the Raiders' top scorer in the game with 3+2.
(Photo by David Law Photography)
Sunday 23rd July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 8 – Blackburn Buccaneers 6
Period Scores: 1-2, 1-3, 6-1
Penalties in Minutes:  Raiders 51 - Blackburn 14

Raiders Scoring: Owen Tennant 3+2, Gez Lewis 2+1, Jack Walker 1+2, Anthony Hughes & Adam Jenkins both 1+0, Sam Plant 0+3, Ben Donkin, Ratislav Geroc & Jordan Birtwistle all 0+1

 Buccaneers Scoring: Michael Walsh 3+1, Karl Milton, Dan Watson, Adam Duxbury all 1+0, Michael McLoughlin, Matthew Dixon, Patrick Thompson, Chris Beesley & Jade Conway all 0+1

MVPs:  Raiders – Howard Hughes / Buccaneers - Michael Walsh

Referee:  Chris Wells,  Linesmen: Josh Humphreys & Simon Anders

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders rounded off their Puckstop Summer Classic group matches in the most sensational fashion with highly dramatic 8-6 win over the Blackburn Buccaneers at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

Trailing 2-5 after 40 minutes, they hit an incredible 6 goals in the final period to snatch the win and finish level on points at the top of the league table.

The game started badly for the Raiders – who had beaten the Buccaneers 1-10 away in Blackburn a fortnight ago - as the visitors took the lead on 7.26 and then went 2-0 up just 30 seconds later.

The Raiders had just had a goal of their own disallowed as the whole of the puck had not crossed the line so this was a significant set-back and, although Jack Walker fired in their first goal of the game on 10.21, the score remained 1-2 at the end of first period.

The Raiders’ cause was not helped by the penalties that they kept picking up throughout the game and it was during two such shorthanded spells after the restart that they fell further behind by goals at 23.11 and 28.34. 

They pulled another goal back on 30.08 during a delayed penalty call on the Buccaneers for slashing which saw the home netminder pulled in favour of an extra attacker and Adam Jenkins slotted the puck home to make the 2-4. 

The home team upped the pressure after this breakthrough in attempt to pull themselves back into contention and pressed the Blackburn defence as the period went on.  It was to no avail, however, and it looked as if the period was going to finish with the score at 2-4 until, in the very dying seconds, Raiders netminder Charlie Perry (who otherwise played a blinder all game...) came out of his goal to make an easy clearance which, instead, ended up on a Blackburn stick and in the back of the unguarded net!

With the score at 2-5 after 40 minutes of play, the Raiders needed something special in the final period and that is, indeed, what happened. 

Two goals within a minute of each other by Owen Tennant (42.13) and Anthony Hughes (42.59) dragged the home side to within touching distance of the visitors and then a goal by Raiders’ top scorer of the campaign Gez Evans on 45.25 tied the score at 5-5 with 15 minutes still to play.  

The game really heated from this point with both teams trying to make a breakthrough. The electric atmosphere was buoyed by a sizeable contingent of Blackburn supporters and the tension around the rink was almost unbearable.

The arena erupted at 55.14 when Owen Tennant fired the home side in front for the very first time in the game but the euphoria was short lived as the Buccaneers hit back to equalise just 15 seconds later.

The clock ticked down and the Raiders’ attempts to force a late winner were hampered by more minor penalties.  Then, with just 90 seconds left on the clock - and a man just coming out of the penalty box - Gez Evans scored to edge the Raiders’ prow in front once more.

The game was made safe with just 26 seconds remaining on the clock when Owen Tennant fired in his 3rd goal of the game – a powerplay goal – to propel the Raiders into the play off semi-finals.

The result sees the Raiders finish level on points with Grimsby Stormers at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table, however, they end up in second place overall as teams on equal points are separated by overall goal difference. This benefits the Stormers as they were able to notch up a couple of high scoring wins over short benched opposition in matches at their home rink whereas had the usual rules of teams being separated by results between themselves been used, that would have put the Raiders top as they have a +1 goal advantage from their two games against Grimsby.

The Raiders do, at least, have home advantage in their play-off semi-final game against the Wyre Seagulls which takes place next Sunday 30th July at Silver Blades Widnes. The game has a later face off time than usual - 8.30pm – as it follows the Widnes Wildcats Summer Cup game - and admission is free.   

See lots of great match photos from David Law Photography HERE

Saturday 22 July 2017

STOP PRESS! 2017 Yearbook To Include Elite League & EPL

Following Stewart Roberts’ shock announcement that he will not be producing the eternally excellent Ice Hockey Annual this year – and a bit of arm twisting from a few people behind the scenes as well - we have decided that we will extend this year’s Ice Hockey Review Yearbook to include brief details of the Elite League and EPL for the 2016/17 season.

This won’t necessarily be the full team by team coverage that we devote to the NIHL teams as we are too far along with arrangements to be able to drastically change content at this late stage but there will certainly be league tables, scoring charts and a few photos and articles to, at least, maintain a presence.

As we will also be featuring the EIHA women’s leagues for the second season in a row and also dipping an exploratory toe into the Scottish National League as well, we believe that this will be the first time in recent years – or maybe even ever - that a printed publication has included EIHL, EPL, NIHL North 1 & 2, NIHL South 1, 2E & 2W, WEL, WPL, WD1N, WD1S and SNL.

Despite all this extra content, the original “earlybird” offer price still applies for orders placed before 1st September.  You can reserve your copy now by following the link below. 

Monday 17 July 2017

Summer Cup: Widnes Wildcats 3 - Kingston Cobras 2

Sunday 16th July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Widnes Wildcats 3- Kingston Cobras 2
Period Scores: 2-0, 0-2, 1-0
Penalties in Minutes:  Widnes 18 – Kingston 6
Widnes Scoring: Martin Dietrich 3+0, Neil Herring 0+1, Andrejs Tenbergs 0+1

The Widnes Wildcats picked up their first win in this season’s Summer Cup competition with a well fought 3-2 victory over 4th place Kingston Cobras at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The game started late due to excess surface water on the ice and, because of that, the first two periods were played “running time”, without stopping the clock for minor stoppages. This shortened game time gave the match an extra urgency and both teams played good flowing hockey throughout with very few hold ups.

After a very evenly balanced opening, it was the Wildcats who took the lead after 15 minutes when, on a powerplay, Martin Dietrich prodded the puck through a mass of players in front of the Cobras’ goal to put the home side ahead.

The lead was doubled just 50 seconds later when Dietrich, again, fired in a long shot from wide of the left wing and the score remained 2-0 to the Wildcats at the end of the first period.

The second period was also very evenly matched and keenly contested by both sides.  The visitors pulled a goal back on 28 minutes and then equalised on 33 minutes, leaving the contest on a knife edge with still almost half the game to be played.

The score was still 2-2 at the second break and both sides still had everything to play for in the last period.

The third period was played in normal “stop time” – with the clock being stopped each time the whistle was blown but the game was played at a furious pace with the action switching so quickly from end to end that there was hardly a moment to draw breath.

The deciding goal came in the 50th minute - scored, once again, by the Wildcats’ Martin Dietrich – and it was all the more of an achievement as the home side were shorthanded at the time due to an interference penalty. 

The home side had chances to extend the lead in the closing minutes but they were repelled by a resolute Kingston defence and the Cobras also had opportunities to snatch a late equaliser.

With just 90 seconds left on the clock a Kingston attacker hit the post and then, in the very last seconds of the game, the Wildcats netminder made a fine close-range save to block another attack but found himself sprawled on the ice outside his goal with the loose puck rolling in slow motion towards two Cobras players. The resulting shot hit the side netting and went wide and the Wildcats held on to notch up a well -deserved - and highly entertaining 3-2 victory.      

Despite this win, the Wildcats remain they are bottom of the Summer Cup table with 3 points from their 6 games to date.  They are just one point behind second bottom Solihull Vikings and two points behind Grimsby Lightning and Blackburn Falcons, with games in hand over all the other teams, so there is still a lot to play for in terms of final league position and possible play off qualification.

They are away next Sunday against Blackburn Falcons and play at home the Sunday after - 30th July 2017 – when they entertain Grimsby Lightning in a 4.30pm face off at Silver Blades Widnes.   

You can watch video highlights of the Wildcats’ win over Kingston – and lots of other games as well - courtesy of official Widnes Wild videographer Colin Ellis on YouTube, here: HERE
Next Sunday – 23rd July - the Riverside Raiders are in action at home to Blackburn Buccaneers in their last group game of the Puckstop Summer Classic at Silver Blades Widnes. The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.

Sunday 9 July 2017 Summer Classic: Blackburn Buccaneers 1 - Riverside Raiders 10

Adam Jenkins scored 4 goals for the Raiders at Blackburn
(Photographer credit to be advised)
Saturday 8th July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Blackburn Buccaneers 1 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 10
Period Scores: 1-2, 0-3, 0-5
Penalties in Minutes:  Blackburn 10 – Raiders 22

Raiders Scoring: Gez Evans 4+1, Adam Jenkins 4+0, Owen Tennant 1+1, Howard Hughes 1+0, Adam Murphy, Dave Priestley & Eemeli Vuorihovi all 0+2, Jack Walker and Mike Teinert both 0+1

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders maintained their challenge for honours at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table win a creditable 1-10 win over the Blackburn Buccaneers away at the Silver Blades Blackburn Arena on Saturday night.

They needed a hatful of goals in order to try and make some headway into the goal difference advantage that league leaders Grimsby Stormers currently enjoy and while the result was eventually quite emphatic, for much of the game, it was an awful lot closer.

The opening phase was very tense affair with both teams testing each other out while trying to give away.    The score actually remained at 0-0 until the 14th minute when Owen Tennant broke the deadlock in favour of the visitors.  Gez Evans doubled the advantage   3 minutes later but the Buccs pulled a goal back within 30 seconds of the restart to end the period just 1-2 behind.

The Raiders began to take control in the second period and two goals from Adam Jenkins reinforced their superiority.  Owen Tennant fell foul of the match referee at the mid-point after questioning a decision and was banished for the remainder of the game for “abuse of an official” but a goal from Howard Hughes in the dying seconds of the period extended the lead and put the Raiders well on top heading into the final third.

Any hopes that the Blackburn team had of pulling themselves back into the game were hampered by the string of penalties that they picked up in the third period.  The first of these – for hooking – was punished by a powerplay goal by Gez Evans in the 47th minute and further strikes by Evans (2 more) and two more for Adam Jenkins rounded off the scoring for the night.

The result sees the Raiders move to within 2 points of Grimsby Stormers at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table with a game in hand. They could match the Lincolnshire side on points if they win their last game at home to the Buccaneers on Sunday 23rd July.

Next Sunday - 16th July - the Widnes Wildcats are in action at home to Kingston Cobras in the Summer Cup at Silver Blades Widnes, where they are still looking to pick up their first win of the competition.   The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.

Monday 3 July 2017

Raiders Edged Out In Thirteen Goal Thriller

Raiders' Dave Priestley (#70) scored a goal and was named MVP. 
Photo by David Law Photography
Sunday 2nd July 2017 – Challenge Match
Riverside Raiders 6 – Telford Spartans 7
Period Scores: 1-2, 1-4, 4-1
Penalties In Minutes: Raiders 4- Telford 0              

Match Officials:  Josh Humphreys, Matt Humphreys.

Raiders Scoring:  Owen Tennant 2+0, Dave Priestley, Anthony Hughes, Jack Walker, Eemeli Vuorihovi all 1+0, Ben Donkin & Jordan Birtwistle both 0+1, Sam Plant 0+3

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders team narrowly lost out 6-7 in a thrilling and highly entertaining challenge match against the Telford Spartans at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

This was a welcome break from the rigours of the competitive Summer Classic competition which they take up again next weekend and was just the sort of the test they needed ahead of the latter stages of that event.

The game was played in good spirit throughout and was closely contested. The Raiders opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a great strike from Owen Tennant, assisted by Sam Plant.

The lead did not last long, however, as Telford equalised some 4 minutes later and then edged ahead with a second strike on 13 minutes and the score remained 1-2 at the first break.

Despite being numerically inferior – having only travelled with 9 skaters and one netminder – it was the Telford team who were quicker out of the blocks for the second period and they extended their lead with two goals within 90 seconds of each other - at 24.18 & 25. 57.  The Raiders finally managed to rally and pulled one back through Eemeli Vuorihovi but two more quick fire goals from the Spartans with 10 seconds of each other around the 33rd minute mark left the home side with a mountain to climb in the final period.

At 2-6 down, the Raiders needed a special period to turn things around and it got off to a great start when Anthony Hughes poked in a loose puck after it had been fumbled by the Spartans’ netminder on the goal line just 46 seconds after the restart.  

More goals followed - from David Priestley (43.48 - asst Plant & Donkin) and Jack Walker (47.23 - asst Birtwistle) and, with Telford visibly tiring through lack of numbers, it looked as if a comeback might be on the cards. 

The Spartans called a time-out at 49.33 and that may well have won the game for them as it completely interrupted the Raiders’ momentum and Telford came out looking revitalised and went on to score their 7th goal.  With just under 10 minutes to go, there was still all to play for and the Raiders pulled a goal back at 54.09 through Owen Tennant (asst Sam Plant).

The last 5 minutes were incredibly tense as the home side pushed forward trying to score an equaliser while the Spartans battled doggedly to keep them out and also threatened the Raiders’ net on several breakout opportunities.

The resulting 6-7 scoreline will have been a disappointment to the Raiders who played well overall but just let the Spartans edge too far ahead in the second period to be able to rein them in.  

The Riverside Raiders are away next weekend when they play the Blackburn Buccaneers at the Silver Blades Arena in Blackburn.  They play their last Summer Classic group game on Sunday 23rd July at home at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.


The Widnes Wildcats are in home action a week on Sunday (16th July) when they take on the Hull-based Kingston Cobras in the Summer Cup.  Once again, face off is ta 4.30pm and admission is free.


You can see video highlights of the Raiders v Spartans game – and lots of other great games played at Silver Blades Widnes - on YouTube, courtesy of the Widnes Wild official videographer Colin Ellis.    CLICK  HERE  TO VIEW

Photo by David Law Photography - see more great photos HERE

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