EIHL Review: What on earth is going on?

Belfast are on a three-game winning streak (PHOTO: William Cherry/Press Eye)

We’re at the end of October and the best thing we can garnish from the latest weekend is there is no-one who can say they are getting the consistency.

Belfast Giants might be the only team who can come closest in a weekend where they were the only side to register two wins out of two.

But it’s also easy to point out that it wasn’t that long ago where they were stuffed 3-0 by Manchester Storm so we’re back to square one.

Is it a case of early season form or is this season genuinely starting to look as tight and close as we’ll see it going forward?

We just don’t know.  You can argue of the three wins Belfast have picked up over the last week, two of those have been at Dundee and Fife, whose fans simply don’t know which of their teams will show up on any given night.

However their standout result was Friday’s 5-0 road win at Nottingham Panthers – their second win in four in league play this season.

Giants stunned Panthers with a 5-0 road win on Friday (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

We’ve written about Scott Conway and how good he’s been, but it is a team that has been put together well by Adam Keefe and while he wasn’t there to see them this weekend, the signs have been good.

They’ve concentrated on their Challenge Cup campaign first, winning seven out of their eight group games and ended Group A on top so they’ll get preferential seeding when it comes to the quarter finals.

Add to Conway’s contribution, David Goodwin (15 points), JJ Piccinich (12) and Jordan Boucher (11) have all done their bit to help get them through.

In fairness, they have been up against two teams whose form has been somewhat erratic at times.  Regardless, they can only play what’s in front of them and they’ve did what’s been required.

It’s worth reminding that Keefe missed out due to isolating because of Covid, but there’s no doubting the pleasure he would have had in seeing two more big wins for his team.

Next week will see a stern challenge on the road at Sheffield Steelers before they play host Glasgow Clan, playing their first game of the season after their extended lay-off.

If they can pick up four points from those games then their league campaign will officially start, but right now, as the league’s ‘form’ team, it’s a nice place to be.

Paul Dixon was put through the wringer by his team this weekend (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

OTHER TALKING POINTS

  • You would hope Paul Dixon, the Guildford Flames coach, isn’t having any issues with a heart condition right now because if he didn’t beforehand, he might have after this weekend.  A sobering 7-0 loss to Dundee Stars before giving up a 5-1 lead over Manchester Storm to see them pull level at 5-5, then his team sticks in the winner.  That’s not good for anyone.
  • Josh Waller is certainly making an impact with Cardiff Devils so early in the season and his tally of seven points this season already sees him two off what he got with Guildford Flames in the entire 2019/20 campaign.  Another goal against Coventry edged him closer to double figures as his performances continue to impress.  Is it too early to ask if Pete Russell is watching yet?
  • For a team to score 12 goals this weekend and end up with only a point to show for their efforts, you can only imagine the frustration Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty is feeling right now.  Three wins in 13 all in, but on the plus side, a hat-trick for Liam Morgan and their first point on the road after a stunning fightback in Guildford.  It’s the little things.

1 Comment

  1. We were at the panthers game on Friday, Belfast may have won 5-0, but panthers were the better team. 3 of the goals were absolute gifts,almost as though there was a leprechaun wreaking havoc around the ice!

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