We’ve seen a lot of interesting developments this weekend and some intriguing narratives from ice hockey in this country, but here are the five things that stood out for us:
1. THERE’S LIFE IN LIGHTNING YET
What a week for Milton Keynes Lightning! Eight games without a win then the bombshell announcement that coach Doug McKay was leaving the club. Three games later, there’s two wins on the board and they’re off the bottom of the table, plus performances have markedly improved. Can this new-found momentum continue? We’ll have to see, but what a reaction from them.
2. BELFAST GIANTS CAN WIN IN EUROPE
They may have lost their final Continental Cup game against Katowice, but there’s no doubt the Giants have what it takes to bring the trophy back to the UK, two years after Nottingham Panthers did it. Tough games await when they meet Arlan Kokshetau and Gomal in January, but the togetherness the Giants have can be a huge key for success.
3. CARDIFF ARE BACK IN THE EQUATION
We knew it would only be a matter of time before the Devils would find their mojo again and so it’s came to pass as the only team in the top area of the table to pick up full points. Okay, the Giants were otherwise engaged, but Fife and Nottingham cutting each other’s throats as well as the Devils beating the Panthers, the champions are simmering nicely, to the ice hockey bookmakers delight no doubt.
4. MATT BECA IS FINDING FORM FOR CLAN
After a prolific couple of years in the Elite League, Matt Beca’s goalscoring form seemed to have eluded him, but there are signs of life in the Glasgow Clan forward in the last couple of weeks. Four goals over the two weekend games has taken him to six goals overall and back in contention for our Player of the Week award, which he won last week.
5. STEELDOGS WON’T BE STOPPED…OR WILL THEY?
With a maximum 24 points out of 24 in NIHL Division 1 North, Sheffield Steeldogs are proudly top of the pile and looking good after two more wins at the weekend, taking them to 24 points from 12 games. However Hull Pirates are behind them with a full 18 points from nine and both teams meet in the NIHL Northern Cup, which makes for a huge contest. Plus don’t forget Telford Tigers a point behind Hull too.