We share the things we picked up from another busy weekend of action and it was certainly an eyebrow-raising couple of days. Check out our main takeaways.
1. It was quite the weekend for milestones
Joey Martin broke one for Cardiff Devils, Robert Dowd moved closer to one for Sheffield Steelers, Glasgow Clan couldn’t quite break theirs and Mark Garside reached 500 appearances for Belfast Giants.
It was certainly a weekend for milestones as Martin became the Devils’ all-time point scorer in the EIHL era and Dowd moved past Ken Preistlay to become Steelers’ fourth highest scorer of all time.
But Clan’s hopes of stretching their winning run to a club record nine in a row were ended by Coventry Blaze taking an 8-6 win away from Scotland.
And well done, Mark Garside on reaching a big number of appearances for the Giants in his testimonial year, showing just how big a player he is for Adam Keefe’s side.
There will be plenty more to come as the season goes on this year.
2. Coventry Blaze are getting a tune
It didn’t seem that long ago that Coventry had lost four in a row and you wondered if it was going to be another season of struggle.
Next thing you know, two wins in Scotland following on from previous wins over Manchester Storm and Cardiff Devils and the Blaze are in the top half of the table.
It’s maybe not looking as bleak as maybe people thought at the start of the season, but the last two or three weeks will have given Danny Stewart, the Blaze coach, some reassurance his team are at least on the right path.
3. We’re still none the wiser over EIHL
To be honest, we’ve no idea how this league is going to pan out. Cardiff and Nottingham trade points, Belfast shared points with Manchester Storm, Sheffield Steelers are top, but for how long?
Taking the relative disparity with games into consideration, there’s still three teams at the top of the table and bottom of the table is just seven points behind.
We may have a better idea of how this league could go, but don’t be surprised if we’re all still scratching our heads in a month’s time.
4. …or in the National League
Because having one really tight league in this country isn’t giving us enough headaches about how it could go, the NIHL National League is proving to be just as competitive.
Sheffield Steeldogs have gone from top dogs to mid-table, er, dogs, Telford Tigers and Swindon Wildcats lead the way while Milton Keynes Lightning got a big two points, but remain second bottom.
It’s going to take someone really brave to able to confidently predict the winner of this new league, but it’s proving to be a compelling watch as an outsider looking in. Fantastic.
5. Sheffield Steelers are full of goals
The top four points scorers in all Elite League matches are all Steelers players, with Marc-Olivier Vallerand, John Armstrong, Ben O’Connor and Robert Dowd all leading the way.
In their ten league games so far, eight of them has seen Aaron Fox’s side score four or more and their average goals per game in all competitions is 4.05.
If you’re looking for value for money in terms of goals, Steelers are the team for you as they bang them in on a consistent basis.