Sunday 16 June 2024

Match Report: Newcastle Predators 6 - Connah's Quay Cobras 7 (Summer Classic Cup)

Saturday 15th June 2024 - Summer Classic Cup:  Newcastle Predators 6 - Connah's Quay Cobras 7

The Connah’s Quay Cobras took a huge step towards qualifying for the Summer Classic Cup play offs with a nail bitingly close 6-7 win away to their nearest contenders Newcastle Predators in Whitley Bay on Saturday.

Connah’s Quay took the lead with a goal from Slavomir Sykora after just 1.50 of the game and Newcastle equalised 5 minutes later.  The Predators moved into the lead on 12 minutes but the Cobras were awarded a penalty shot – quite a rare occurrence in ice hockey – on 15 minutes and Chris Keating coolly slotted the puck away to level the score once again.

The second period was just as close as the first - with plenty of chances for both sides - and the Predators re-took the lead on 28 minutes with a powerplay goal punishing a Cobras tripping call.  The lead was short lived, however, and Connah’s Quay equalised again 4 minutes later with a goal from Martin Rybka.  Newcastle edged ahead again but a second goal from Rybka with just 32 seconds left in the period saw the score level at the second interval.

The home side snook back into the lead with a goal in the first minute of the third period but were unable to build upon this and the score was tied again at 5-5 with a goal from Sam Plant just 4 minutes later.

Sam Kennedy – playing his first game for the Cobras – edged Connah’s Quay back into the lead on 50 minutes but the Predators countered once again and tied the score at a nerve-wracking 6-6 with 8 minutes left on the clock.

The previous meeting between these two teams had ended as a draw and had to be decided on a penalty shoot out and – for much of the game - this scenario looked very much on the cards here as well, but just 40 seconds later Sykora fired in his second goal of the match to put the Cobras back into the lead and, despite numerous chances for both teams in the latter stages, Connah’s Quay held on to record an important victory.

The win means that the Cobras remain top of the Summer Classic Elite group table with 11 points from 7 games – 1 point ahead of Flintshire Phantoms who beat Blackburn Falcons 3-6 on Saturday and, as a result, now have 10 points.

The top two teams in the final table will qualify to take part in the play offs, which will be held in Sheffield in August, but the Deeside applecart could yet be upset by the Predators who are now lurking in third place but have two games in hand.

The Connah’s Quay Cobras play their final game of the group section of the Summer Classic Cup on Sunday 14th July when they entertain Trafford Thunder at Deeside Leisure Centre, 8.30pm face off.