Ice Hockey – UK Round-up (from Blackburn Hawks match programme 26/02/11)

Nottingham Lions boosted their English National League Division One North play-off hopes with a 5-2 win over Northern Stars. Sheffield Spartans beat Telford Titans 4-1 and Blackburn Hawks thumped Coventry Blaze 7-3 to stay firmly in the picture.

Division One South leaders Wightlink Raiders extended their winning run to twenty with wins over Bristol Pitbulls (14-3) and Cardiff Devils (4-2) but Chelmsford Chieftains, Invicta Dynamos and Romford Raiders all enjoyed unbeaten weekends and with games in hand can still challenge the islanders.

Flintshire Freeze moved into second place in Division Two North with a comfortable 8-2 win over Bradford Bulldogs – Chris Jones bagged five for Freeze. Champions Solihull Barons hit double figures yet again – demolishing Kingston Jets 12-3 while Sutton Sting beat Sheffield Senators 6-3.

Fife Flyers (above) need one more win to clinch the Northern League title. Stephen Gunn hit three for the Flyers in their fiesty 10-2 win over Northern Stars and they recovered from 2-0 down at Solway Sharks to win 3-2 – Steven Lynch grabbing the winner in the final minute. Whitley Warriors stay second after beating Flintshire 10-1.

Manchester Phoenix forward Curtis Huppe capped a remarkable weekend with an eight goal haul. The Canadian hit a hat-trick as the EPL leaders beat Bracknell Bees 6-3 and then smashed five against Peterborough Phantoms. Despite Huppe’s heroics, Phoenix only snatched both points courtesy of Marcus Kristoffersson’s overtime winner. Guildford Flames stay six points behind Phoenix after wins over Peterborough (6-4) and Sheffield Steeldogs (5-1). Basingstoke Bison beat Sheffield 3-1 to stay third but lost 4-3 after a shoot-out to MK Lightning and are now just a point ahead of Slough Jets who beat Swindon Wildcats twice (7-0 & 6-3).

Basingstoke booked their place in the EPL Cup Final with an 8-7 aggregate win over Manchester. Phoenix looked favourites after winning the first leg 3-2 but two goals from Ondrej Lauko helped Bison to a 6-4 win in the return. They will meet either Slough or Guildford in the final – the Jets won the first leg 8-4.

Elite League leaders Sheffield Steelers beat title rivals Cardiff Devils twice – following up a 5-4 overtime success with a comfortable 5-2 win. Belfast Giants move into second place after wins over Newcastle Vipers (7-1) and Dundee Stars (3-1).

(Image reproduced by kind permission of shotbyagunnphotography)

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