Five Things We Learned This Weekend: Brex-in?

Cardiff Devils are returning to Sweden for CHL action (PHOTO: Helen Brabon)

For some, it was still pre-season. For others, there was competitive action, but it’s given us an idea of just how each team looks as we sum up the five things we’ve learned across the friendlies, Challenge Cup and Champions Hockey League action.

1.  Brex-in?

With ten points from a possible 12 from the British teams in the Champions Hockey League, the early signs are good for both Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils after their opening two games.

Two wins from two by the Devils means they’ve already trebled the points tally they picked up in six games of last season’s competition so it’s an impressive start.

Belfast may have lost their second game in overtime, but it’s a point on the board to go with the three they got on Thursday so they’ve taken to the competition like a duck to water.

The real tests will come when both clubs visit the two teams this weekend they’ve just hosted, but there’s enough to suggest they could more than hold their own in these venues.

There’s certainly plenty to be excited about if you’re a fan of the Giants and the Devils in the coming weeks.

It was one win apiece for Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers this weekend (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

2. Panthers and Steelers entertain their fans

With plenty of changes from both teams, this was a great time to see what the new-look Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers were all about and it seemed to leave both sides happy.

Panthers had the lead twice on Saturday, but Steelers came back in the third period to take the result before reclaiming the points on Sunday with a 5-1 win.

Both sets of fans saw plenty of goals, but perhaps a work in progress in defence as Tim Wallace and Aaron Fox set about making their mark on their teams.

It’s early days to know whether either team can be up there with Belfast and Cardiff, but on these performances, they can certainly ask questions.

A mixed weekend for both teams, but something to build from.

Glasgow Clan coach Zack Fitzgerald looks ruefully after his team’s two losses this weekend (PHOTO: Derek Black)

3. Concern but no panic from Clan

Glasgow Clan’s hopes of starting the new season off well were wide of the mark, losing 6-3 then 7-2 to Dundee Stars in their first two games.

You certainly can’t start throwing coach Zack Fitzgerald or any of his players under the bus after two games, but Fitzy will rightly be concerned over the goals lost in the two games.

It was a steep learning curve for him in his first weekend coaching in competitive games so how he reacts to it will be one closely watched by fans and observers.

Is the Clan season heading for disaster?  Steady on there.  It’s only two games, in the same way Dundee’s campaign won’t be judged on these either.

It’s going to be tough week for the Glasgow boys before they play Fife on Saturday.

Dundee Stars forward Elgin Pearce has enjoyed a great first weekend in the Challenge Cup (PHOTO: Derek Black)

4. Elgin Pearce is a pest

Before Dundee fans start looking tweet us in rage at saying this, it’s most definitely meant in a complimentary after signalling his arrival to the EIHL in explosive fashion.

He’s a player that will mix things up, has good physicality and as Glasgow Clan have learned at close quarters, he will punish you if he gets in those areas around the blue paint.

Omar Pacha could very well have unearthed a gem here, based on these two performances so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the other teams in the coming weeks and months.

Early days, but if he partners as well with Anthony Beauregard through the season, the Stars could have something to hang their hats on.

An impressive start by the Dundee #7 this weekend.

Manchester Storm lost both games this weekend to Heilbronner Falken, but coach Ryan Finnerty saw positives in their performances (PHOTO: Mark Ferriss)

5. Now for the others

Four other teams used the weekend to work on their teams and systems so they’ll have a better idea of how they stand after their two games.

Fife Flyers won in overtime on Saturday lost on Sunday, Guildford beat Coventry on Saturday then it was reversed on Sunday, while Manchester Storm lost both games to Heilbronner Falken.

What does that mean? Manchester Storm will finish bottom of the league on account that they didn’t win over the weekend.

We’re kidding of course and it’ll be more about what Todd Dutiaume, Paul Dixon, Danny Stewart and Ryan Finnerty learn from their players as the new season starts.

By next week, under more competitive conditions, we’ll start to know more of what these teams are capable of going forward.

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