UK Ice hockey round-up (w/e 16th March)

Sutton’s Zimozdra looking to lead Sting to Cup glory

The line-up for the NIHL North (Moralee Conference) play-offs has been finalised after Whitley Warriors won their final game of the regular season.

Their 11-0 success against Telford Titans means they now face Solway Sharks in the end-of-season showdown. Billingham Stars, who completed their fixtures with a 3-3 draw against Sheffield Spartans, face Blackburn Hawks in the other semi-final.

Sutton Sting miss out despite beating Solway 4-2, but they can look forward to the final of the KD Flavell & Sons Northern Cup after a 6-4 win at Manchester Minotaurs – Thomas Stuart-Dant (2) & Simon Butterworth (2) led the scoring.

Solihull Barons clinched the Laidler Conference title with a 3-1 win at Coventry Blaze – Josh Bruce scored twice. Bobby Caunce scored a couple in Widnes Wild’s 5-4 success against Deeside Dragons. Blackburn Eagles lost 5-1 at home to Sheffield Senators and 3-0 at Nottingham Lions.

Chelmsford Chieftains retained their NIHL1 South crown after a four-point weekend. Gary Clarke scored a couple in their 6-3 win at Cardiff Devils and he repeated the feat in their 3-1 victory against Invicta Dynamos. Wightlink Raiders won 6-1 at home to MK Thunder, and followed up with an 8-3 success in the reverse fixture – Matt Vizzari scored three in both games. Steven Fisher’s late strike sealed a 6-6 draw for Streatham Redskins at Invicta, and he added a hat-trick in their 7-1 win at home to Solent & Gosport Devils. London Raiders beat Bracknell Hornets 5-2.

Oxford City Stars and Swindon Wildcats moved to within one point of NIHL2 South leaders Slough Jets after comprehensive victories. Stars beat Cardiff Devils 10-1, while Wildcats won 7-1 at Wightlink Tigers. Bristol Pitbulls beat Invicta Mustangs 8-1, Haringey Racers triumphed 4-1 against Lee Valley Lions, while Chelmsford Warriors drew 2-2 with Basingstoke Buffalo.

Manchester Phoenix are the new EPL champions. Phoenix slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Swindon Wildcats, while title rivals Basingstoke Bison had kept their hopes alive with a 4-3 win against Sheffield Steeldogs. However, Phoenix proved too strong on home ice against Bison as they ran out 5-2 winners to claim the title.

Guildford Flames won 5-2 against Sheffield, while MK Lightning won 3-1 & 5-2 against Peterborough Phantoms. Telford Tigers won 5-2 at Slough Jets and followed up with a 6-1 success in the return game. Lee Richardson scored the only goal of the game as Swindon won 1-0 at Bracknell. Basingstoke won the EPL Cup after a 4-3 defeat at home to MK Lightning completed a 7-5 aggregate success.

Elite League champions Belfast Giants’ long unbeaten run ended as they fell 6-2 at Fife Flyers. However, Giants picked up a four points during the week with wins against Nottingham Panthers and Braehead Clan. Sheffield Steelers won 3-1 at Edinburgh Capitals and 3-2 at home to Hull Stingrays.

Hull beat Fife 7-3, but their play-off hopes suffered a blow as they crashed 8-2 at Dundee Stars. Ned Lukacevic hit the winner as Fife won 4-3 after a shoot-out at Dundee. Coventry Blaze beat Nottingham 4-3, while Cardiff Devils won 4-2 at Braehead and 7-2 at home to Edinburgh.

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