It’s time for us to deliver the final word on the weekend just past and share what the main takeaways were that we picked up on over the course of another action packed few days in British Ice Hockey.
1. Hockey is for everyone…apart from drummers
It’s a big weekend coming up as the Elite League’s You Can Play initiative takes place this weekend spreading the word of inclusivity and the fact that hockey is for everyone. Unless you have a drum in the Sheffield area.
On the back of the story that Glasgow Clan fans were moved on for being too noisy with their drums, Sheffield Steelers and Fly DSA Arena have decided to ban drums and other instruments with immediate effect.
In a sport that’s charged by atmosphere and markets itself as being welcoming for everyone, it’s a bit of a PR gaffe where one of the owners, who also happens to be the Elite League chairman, hands this down. Oops!
2. A chink in the armoury?
Just when we thought Telford Tigers were getting the sort of momentum that could sweep them on to title glory, they hit a bump in the road that could be felt in Swindon.
The Wildcats kicked off a three-game losing run in Thursday’s National Cup semi final first leg, winning 7-4 then Hull Pirates took the points in a 6-3 result on Saturday in the league.
Then Leeds Chiefs, bottom of the table and with only two wins from their last 11, nick an overtime 3-2 win on Swindon’s day off and the gap has been shortened. Could this be a seismic week in the NIHL National League?
3. Blaze on fire for top half spot
They’re in the top half of the table now and two wins over the weekend have certainly helped the strengthen that position, so are we starting to see something the real Coventry Blaze?
Danny Stewart’s men can score goals, but it’s keeping them out at the other end that’s been the issue at times, but 10 points from a possible 14 in the New Year has put them in a good position.
Reaching the play-offs more comfortably than they have in the last couple of years is a real possibility as the gradual rebuild of Coventry continues under a coach who has taken his time to get the team to where they are.
4. A Steelers momentum swing?
The title race has always been up in the air as far as who the possible winners could be, but you can’t help thinking Sheffield Steelers have really stepped up to the mark this weekend.
Victories against second place Cardiff and third place Belfast have moved them on to two losses in 14 games and one regulation time loss in 17 in all competitions.
Devils’ loss in Dundee on Sunday probably wasn’t expected, but there is still the fact that Cardiff have four games in hand which is why you can’t count them out, but Steelers will take this position right now.
5. A team of Carlo Finuccis
While the mood around Fife Flyers right now is not exactly all unicorns and rainbows, they can hang their collective on one guy in their team and that’s their forward, Carlo Finucci.
He equalled the Flyers’ Elite League all-time point scoring record with their second goal against Nottingham Panthers on Sunday, taking him to 200, now level with Bobby Chaumont and needing one more to put him ahead.
Even coach Todd Dutiaume praised him by saying he’s “a shining light in this despair people are suffering now.” If they could clone what he brings, Fife would be in a very different position.