UK Ice hockey round-up (w/e 17th March)

Dragons’ hat-trick hero Ben Simister

Coventry Blaze boosted their NIHL1 North survival hopes with a 6-4 win at Trafford Metros – Gareth Owen (2) & Rikki Bryniarski (2) led the scoring. Blaze now face a play-off against Deeside Dragons or Solihull Barons to avoid the drop, while the result confirmed Metros’ relegation to NIHL2.

Struan Tonnar scored a couple as champions Solway Sharks won 6-3 at Sutton Sting – while Blackburn won 7-4 at Coventry – Hawks’ Aaron Davies hit a hat-trick. Whitley Warriors won 8-1 at home to Telford Titans – Callum Watson scored three. Nick Manning bagged a brace as Sheffield Spartans beat Trafford 7-2.

In NIHL2 North, Deeside Dragons took a step closer the promotion play-off game with a 6-1 win at Sheffield Senators – Ben Simister scored three. Nottingham Lions celebrated their title win by crushing Fylde Flyers 15-0. Blackburn Eagles are still without a point as they fell 6-2 at Hull Stingrays.

NIHL1 South leaders Chelmsford Chieftains enjoyed a four-point weekend – winning 4-1 at home to Cardiff Devils and 8-1 at Romford Raiders. Craig Tribe scored twice as second placed Wightlink Raiders won 5-4 at Invicta Dynamos. Juraj Huska’s hat-trick helped Romford to a 9-3 win at MK Thunder, while Andy Smith scored twice as Invicta won 5-2 at Bracknell Hornets.

Guildford Flames have clinched the EPL title for the second year in a row. Flames picked up a point in 2-1 overtime loss at Sheffield Steeldogs, while Curtis Huppe hit the shoot-out winner as they beat Swindon Wildcats 5-4. Basingstoke Bison secured second after a mixed weekend against MK Lightning. Bison lost 3-2 on home ice, but two goals by Joe Greener helped them to a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture.

Manchester Phoenix slumped to an 8-2 defeat at Telford Tigers – Scott McKenzie hit a hat-trick – but bounced back with a 3-2 win at home to Sheffield. McKenzie hit another trio as Tigers won 8-4 at Peterborough Phantoms. Frantisek Bakrlik grabbed the winner for Slough in their 2-1 win over Peterborough, and the Jets followed up with a 4-3 success at Bracknell. The Bees did pick up a win of their own as they edged past Swindon 3-2. Two goals each by Milos Melicherik & Curtis Huppe helped Guildford to a 4-2 lead after the first leg of the EPL Cup Final.

Nottingham Panthers secured the Elite League title on Friday night, after a 5-3 win over their nearest challengers Belfast Giants. The teams were level at 3-3 going into the final period, but goals by Pat Galivan and Matt Francis sealed the points. Giants gained a little revenge the following night as they ran out 5-2 winners over the champions.

Sheffield Steelers notched a pair of wins – defeating Coventry Blaze 8-3 & Cardiff Devils 4-3. Braehead Clan returned to winning ways with a 5-1 win at home to Fife Flyers. Clan followed up with a 6-3 success against Dundee Stars – Ash Goldie hit a hat-trick. Fife recovered with a pair of wins over Edinburgh Capitals – 5-1 on home ice and a 4-2 road success. Ben Davies scored twice to help Cardiff to a 4-2 win at Hull, and the Stingrays completed a miserable weekend with a 5-0 loss at Dundee.

(Image permission: PSD-Images)

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