Ice Hockey – UK Round-up (from Blackburn Hawks match programme 12/11/11)

Billingham Stars have extended their lead at the top of ENL1 North. Goals from Alex Lawson and James Udell helped them to a 2-1 win at Trafford Metros and they followed up with a 4-1 home success over Coventry Blaze. Reigning champions Whitley Warriors are now second. Following a 4-1 loss at Blackburn they recovered to defeat the Hawks 4-2 on home ice – Shaun Kippin (left) scored twice. Former Newcastle Vipers netminder Richie Lawson made his debut as Warriors travelled to face Nottingham Lions and helped them to a 4-3 win.

Sheffield Spartans continued their recent good form with a 5-2 win at Telford Titans – Nick Manning and Ollie Barron both scored a couple. Titans bounced back with a 6-4 win at Coventry Blaze with Adam Taylor and Paul Rigby each getting a pair. Two goals from Joe Wightman helped Nottingham to a 6-2 win over Solihull Barons.

Solway Sharks continue to dominate ENL2. Alan Gibson (6), Adam Reynolds (4) and Mark Gallagher (3) led the scoring as Bradford Bulldogs were dismissed 19-2. Second and third placed Sutton Sting and Flintshire Freeze met with Sting running out 11-3 winners – Richie Oliver (below) scored five.

Sutton also crushed Bradford with Ben Lowe (4), Simon Butterworth (3), and Shaun Ashton (3) amongst the goals. Flintshire recovered from the loss to Sting with a 6-3 win over Fylde Flyers – James Parsons scored three. Lancashire Raptors remain pointless after defeats to Bradford (5-1) and Sheffield Senators (7-0).

Billingham bagged their first win in the Northern Cup with a 7-4 success over Blackburn Hawks. In the Southern section, Invicta Dynamos’ Andy Smith reached 700 points for the club with a hat-trick in their 8-4 win over Wightlink Raiders and two in a 3-2 victory over Chelmsford Chieftains.

Chelmsford remain top of ENL1 South. They followed up an 8-2 road success over Bristol Pitbulls with a 4-2 home win over title rivals Romford Raiders – player-coach Gary Clarke scored three. Raiders’ Juraj Huska has been in fine scoring form, hitting two in 6-3 wins over Cardiff Devils and Wightlink and three as they beat Slough Jets 7-6. Wightlink disposed of Slough (8-3) and Invicta (3-2) to stay firmly in the hunt.

Slough Jets have moved to the top of the EPL. Tom Carlon scored three as they beat Telford Tigers 6-3 and Adam Calder repeated the feat in 10-4 success at Peterborough Phantoms. Carlon and Darius Pliskauskas each grabbed a couple in a 7-3 win at Swindon Wildcats but the Jets suffered a shock 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture on home ice.

Guildford Flames are second despite some mixed results. They beat Manchester Phoenix 5-3 but fell to Sheffield Steeldogs 3-2 with Andre Payette bagging the shoot-out winner. Nathan Rempel’s brace helped Flames gain revenge in a 4-3 win over the Steeldogs but their inconsistency continued as they fell 6-4 to MK Lightning. Player/coach Paul Dixon settled the return fixture with the decider in a 4-3 shoot-out win.

Lightning have dropped to third after losing to Peterborough (4-1) and Bracknell Bees (4-3) while Sheffield are fourth following a 3-2 home loss to Phoenix and a 7-5 win at Telford – Janis Ozolins hit a hat-trick. Defending champions Manchester have also struggled for consistency as they thumped Basingstoke Bison 5-2 but lost the return fixture on home ice 3-0.

Bison’s Viktor Kubenko scored three as they beat Swindon 5-2 while Joe Miller’s overtime strike sealed a 4-3 win over Peterborough. Telford’s Juraj Senko hit shoot-out winners at home to Swindon and away to Bracknell while Lukas Smital scored three as the bees routed Peterborough 8-5. Swindon’s clash with local rivals Bracknell was a hard fought affair which the Wildcats edged 3-2.
Belfast Giants are still top of the Elite League. They followed a 3-2 success over Nottingham Panthers with a 3-2 win at Hull Stingrays but a 4-1 defeat at Braehead Clan and a 4-3 shoot-out loss to Coventry Blaze means the lead is down to four points.

Sheffield Steelers are second after wins over Dundee Stars (8-5), Coventry (2-0) and Edinburgh Capitals (6-1) while Nottingham are third. The Panthers lost 3-1 to Cardiff Devils but a 6-0 win over Dundee and a 3-2 shoot-out success against Fife Flyers keeps them in touch.

(Image permissions as follows: Shaun Kippin – John Knowles, Richie Oliver – Gary Apsley)

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