Ice Hockey – UK round-up (games played 22nd – 25th March)

Billingham Stars celebrated winning the ENL1 North title (Paul Windridge pictured with trophy) with a 4-2 victory at home to Blackburn Hawks – James Udell (2), Anthony Price & Andy Fletcher got the goals. Stars now meet Telford in the end-of-season play-offs.

Titans ended their season on a high with a 15-3 success over relegated Solihull, though the Barons said goodbye to ENL1 with a 3-2 win at home to Whitley. The Warriors now face Blackburn in the other play-off semi-final. Rhys Gillat (2) and Kieran Papps were on target as Coventry Blaze won 3-2 at Trafford Metros.

ENL2 North runners-up Sutton Sting fell to a surprise 7-4 loss at Fylde Flyers, while the only other fixture saw Sheffield Senators beat Lancashire Raptors 10-1.

Chelmsford Chieftains completed their ENL1 South league fixtures with a pair of wins – 8-0 at MK Thunder and 2-0 at home to Slough Jets. Chieftains are two points ahead of Romford after the Raiders won 4-1 at Cardiff Devils. Romford’s final two games are against Slough (A) and Wightlink Raiders (H). Invicta Dynamos clinched fourth place after winning 7-3 at Bracknell Hornets and 4-2 at home to Bristol Pitbulls.

Manchester Phoenix strengthened their grip on second place in the EPL with a couple of impressive performances. Two goals from Luke Boothroyd helped them on their way to a 5-4 win at Swindon Wildcats and they followed up with a 5-2 success at home to champions Guildford. The Flames suffered a rare pointless weekend as they also fell 6-5 at home to Bracknell Bees – Martin Masa (right) & James Galazzi both scored two for the visitors. Shaun Thompson’s overtime winner improved the Bees’ play-off prospects as they beat MK Lightning 4-3.

Janis Ozolins grabbed a hat-trick as Sheffield Steeldogs won 6-2 at Basingstoke, though Bison gained revenge with a 2-1 shoot-out success in the reverse fixture. Slough Jets split their weekend series with Telford Tigers winning 4-1 on home ice, but slipping to a shock 4-3 loss in Telford. Peterborough Phantoms dropped out of the final play-off slot after crashing 4-1 at MK Lightning, but a 4-3 win at home to Swindon keeps them just a point behind Bracknell with two games to go.

Elite League champions Belfast Giants finished the regular season in style with a 4-3 overtime win at home to Nottingham Panthers. Second placed Sheffield Steelers crushed Edinburgh Capitals 13-2, but followed up with a disappointing 5-4 loss at home to Braehead Clan. The play-off line-up is complete with Belfast facing Dundee Stars, Nottingham meeting Braehead, Sheffield clashing with Hull Stingrays and Cardiff Devils up against Coventry Blaze.

(Image permissions: Paul Windridge – Colin Lawson; Martin Masa – David Steadman)

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