Amid the most topsy-turvy season in Elite League history, selecting a weekly all-star squad has become quite the challenge. There were standout performances across the competition this weekend, but only the Belfast Giants – who struggled immensely earlier in the month – put together a four-point effort and iced a former Premier League winner in gameweek ten.
That’s right – Petr Cech actually played for the Giants and survived his professional debut with an unimpeachable save percentage through just over four minutes of ice time against the Glasgow Clan on Saturday [25 November]. (For the avoidance of doubt, he saved the only shot he faced.)
Elsewhere in the Elite League, the Cardiff Devils asserted their dominance with an emphatic 6-0 win over the Fife Flyers, clinching the only shutout of the week on Sunday [26 November].
Cardiff’s fine form saw them move into second in the standings, albeit only four points above the Guildford Flames, who sit outside the playoff positions in ninth.
Gameweek Ten Elite League All-Stars:
Now, as the ice settles, and the players catch their breath, it’s time to recognize the outstanding contributors to this week’s thrilling matchups. With that in mind, Luke James presents his tenth all-star selection of the season.
Netminder: Tyler Beskorowany, Belfast Giants
Beskorowany was at his level best in gameweek ten, producing a 40-save performance through wins over the Nottingham Panthers (4-2) and Clan (5-1).
The 33-year-old’s level of play is made all the more impressive by the fact that he is one of the most overworked netminders in the Elite League, with injuries to Jackson Whistle and Andrew Dickinson forcing the Giants to loan Cech.
Beskorowany was excellent versus the Panthers, turning aside all three of the high-danger scoring chances he faced at the Motorpoint Arena.
Ben Bowns warrants an honourable mention for his shutout win over Fife, although he enjoyed a relatively straightforward night with only 20 shots sent his way.
Defenceman: Marcus Crawford, Cardiff Devils
The Devils hammered Fife on Sunday, with defenceman Marcus Crawford playing a key role for Pete Russell’s side.
The Canadian clocked just under 26 minutes of ice time, tallied an assist, and fired five shots on net through an imposing two-way performance.
Crawford, one of the best puck-moving defencemen in the Elite League, had himself quite the week from an offensive perspective, tallying three points (one goal, two assists) in a 7-5 defeat to the Guildford Flames and two points (both assists) in a 4-2 win over the Coventry Blaze.
The 26-year-old is far from perfect in his own end – but his production is hard to ignore.
Defenceman: Dominic Cormier, Sheffield Steelers
Dominic Cormier joined the Sheffield Steelers amid difficult circumstances, but has made the perfect start under Aaron Fox’s tutelage.
Sheffield only played once in gameweek ten, beating the Guildford Flames 6-2 on their travels to Surrey.
Cormier recorded two assists and finished the game plus two through a shade under 25 minutes of time on ice.
The 25-year-old already looks like the perfect fit alongside Kevin Tansey in Sheffield’s top four.
Forward: Ara Nazarian, Belfast Giants
Ara Nazarian is on a tear.
The American potted four points (two goals, two assists) versus Nottingham and Glasgow, closing out the weekend with a plus-five rating alongside Bobby MacIntyre and Kohei Sato.
Nazarian led the Giants in expected goals (0.75) against the Panthers and drove play to help Sato finish second on the leaderboard (0.51).
The 27-year-old is up to 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 19 appearances and has started to click under Adam Keefe.
Forward: Cole Ully, Cardiff Devils
Cole Ully scored a hattrick in Cardiff’s 6-0 dismantling of the Flyers, causing havoc on the first line alongside Jamie Arniel and Justin Crandall.
The Canadian is a high-volume shooter – which explains the nine attempts he aimed at Shane Owen – who has grown into role in Cardiff.
With the Devils flying high in the standings, Ully’s eye for goal could be the difference for Russell and his side down the stretch.
Forward: Peter Crinella, Guildford Flames
Finally, Peter Crinella – who remains a point per game player in the Elite League.
The American scored twice in Guildford’s crucial Challenge Cup win over Cardiff on Saturday, firing the away side to a 2-0 lead within 12 minutes of puck drop.
Dangerous at even strength and on the powerplay, Crinella is a player to watch as the festive period approaches.