Five Things We Learned: The best Elite League defence

(PHOTO: Flyers Images)

As we bid farewell to another weekend full of highs, lows, drama and twists, here’s what we picked up from what we observed over the last few days.

1. The best Elite League defence is…

Not who you think.  Sure, Sheffield Steelers, Cardiff Devils and Belfast Giants are occupying the top spots, but we’ve discovered the one team with the best defence is…Guildford Flames.

Paul Dixon’s side seem to have got more and more solid as the season has progressed and you just need to see how well they kept the door shut in Glasgow on Saturday to prove that.

A tally of 53 goals conceded is made even more impressive when you consider Belfast have let in 63, Cardiff 67 and league leaders Sheffield Steelers 82.  We’ll say it again, watch out for those Flames.

Dundee Stars need to turn things around and quickly (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

2. Dundee Stars could be in big trouble

We know it’s way too early to start writing anyone off and that’s exactly how it’s going to sound here, but Dundee Stars are the only team not winning right now and that’s a bit of a problem.

Seven straight losses, granted one of those in the Challenge Cup, leaves them seven points off the play-offs and needing one hell of a run to get them back in reckoning.

They have the talent there and are capable of delivering some results, but it’s not going too well for them right now and while the additions of Alex Schoenborn and Matt Carter gives them another couple of options, the hill is getting bigger for the Stars to climb.

“Hi Gary, we’re over here” (PHOTO: BBC)

3. Gary Lineker doesn’t know who we are

Did we really think BBC’s top sports presenter or any of his colleagues would give Great Britain’s ice hockey team even a glance?  Of course not and in fairness, not after a year of arguably bigger achievements in other fields.

It would have been nice to even get a throwaway mention, but alas, no and ice hockey remains in the wilderness in the corridors of BBC Sport.

A tough year lies ahead for GB with an Olympic qualifying campaign and what looks to be a tougher ask in the World Championships.  If Pete and the boys get some level of success here, we can only hope we get Clare Balding’s attention at least.

Brandon Whistle kept up his great form as Telford recorded two wins over the weekend (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

4. Tigers playing to the Whistle

Telford Tigers have opened up a five-point lead at the top of the NIHL National League and in a strong position at this point following another full complement of victories.

The fact they defeated nearest challengers Swindon Wildcats 8-6 on Sunday has helped with that and they’re very much the team to beat.

Brandon Whistle has been superb and is on a streak of six goals and four assists in his last five games and has become a focal point of attack for Tom Watkins’ men as they get ready for two more tough encounters against Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs.

Leeds Chiefs player-coach Sam Zajac was a happy man over the weekend (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

5. Short-handed Chiefs find a way

It’s fair to say November hasn’t been the best of months for Leeds Chiefs, but the week took something of an unexpected upturn which has the Chiefs fans smiling.

A rare four-point weekend was made even better considering the fact they only had 12 skaters to hit the ice as Sam Zajac rejigged his team through the week.

Now the news they’ve wanted that they would be back playing at home early in the New Year has made it a fantastic couple of days and when you consider they had their equipment stolen last month, things are looking up in Leeds.

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