Solway Sharks (left) claimed the first silverware of the NIHL North season on Saturday, with a 9-4 aggregate win over Billingham Stars in KD Welding Specialists East/West Trophy final. Sharks held a 3-1 lead after the first leg and ran out 6-3 winners on home ice – Nathan Salem & Adam Reynolds both scored twice.
Sharks completed a successful weekend by keeping their NIHL1 North title bid on track with a 3-0 win at Sutton Sting. Stars stay second after beating Whitley Warriors 3-2 – Karl Culley grabbed the winner. Despite the defeat, Sting are up to third after a 9-4 win at Coventry Blaze – Ryan Johnson hit a hat-trick for the visitors. Sheffield Spartans beat Telford Titans 4-3 – Ollie Barron (2) led Spartans’ scoring – but Titans gained revenge in the reverse fixture with a 3-1 victory – Karol Jets scored twice.
Nottingham Lions boosted their NIHL2 North title hopes with an 8-3 win over Solihull Barons – Lions’ Joe Wightman hit a hat-trick. Sheffield Senators stay in the promotion hunt after a 9-2 win at Blackburn Eagles, while Deeside kept their challenge alive with a 6-3 success at Fylde Flyers – James Parsons & Steve Fellows both scored twice for the Dragons.
Chelmsford Chieftains are the new leaders of NIHL1 South after Tibor Schneider’s goal capped a 3-2 win at Invicta Dynamos. Robbie Brown’s hat-trick helped Wightlink Raiders to a 5-4 victory over Romford Raiders. The Essex outfit missed the chance to stay top as they fell by the same score at home to Bracknell Hornets. Peter Vaisanen hit four as Invicta ran out 10-3 winners at Solent & Gosport Devils. In the NIHL South Cup Chelmsford beat Streatham Redskins 14-3 – Julius Sinkovic scored eight – while Wightlink lost 4-3 at MK Thunder.
Basingstoke Bison moved back to the top of the EPL after a pair of wins over Peterborough Phantoms. Greg Owen’s hat-trick helped Bison to a 5-1 success on home ice and they followed up with a 5-2 victory in the return – Joe Miller (2) & Nicky Watt (2) led the scoring. Guildford Flames drop to second after a mixed weekend, losing 2-1 at MK Lightning before recovering to see off Telford Tigers 7-4.
Manchester Phoenix lost 2-0 at home to Bracknell Bees but bounced back to win the reverse fixture 3-1. Lubomir Korhon hit a hat-trick as Sheffield Steeldogs beat Telford 6-4, and they completed a four-point weekend with a 3-2 home win over MK Lightning. Slough lost 4-2 at home to Swindon Wildcats, but the Jets gained revenge in the return to win 5-4 – Frantisek Bakrlik (2) & Darius Pliskauskas (2) led Jets’ scoring. Bakrlik bagged another brace as Jets beat Bison 3-2 in the first leg of the EPL Cup Semi-final.
Elite League leaders Nottingham Panthers enjoyed a four-point weekend, beating Coventry Blaze 8-3 – David Clarke hit a hat-trick – before following up with a 4-2 win at Cardiff Devils. Belfast Giants slipped to a shock 6-2 defeat at home to Braehead Clan, but bounced back to down Edinburgh Capitals 5-0. Sheffield Steelers stay in touch following a 5-4 win at home to Cardiff and a 3-2 overtime victory at Edinburgh. Davide Nicoletti hit a hat-trick as Braehead Clan won 4-2 at Dundee Stars. Hull Stingrays beat Fife 5-2 – Sylvain Cloutier scored a couple – but the Flyers gained revenge on home ice with a comfortable 5-1 success.
In the Challenge Cup Quarter-final first leg, Nottingham won 3-2 at Fife – David Ling got the winner. Mike Wirll scored twice to help Dundee to a 4-2 home win over Sheffield, while Coventry and Braehead drew 2-2.
(Image permission: David Morrison)