UK Ice hockey round-up (w/e 30th March)

Five-goal weekend for Branin

Solihull Barons extended their winning run to 22 games with a 10-3 success against Deeside Dragons – Joe Henry scored four.

Luke Branin (left) scored twice in Nottingham Lions’ 4-0 win at Blackburn Eagles and he bagged a hat-trick in a 6-5 comeback victory at home to Hull Jets – Dan Hazeldine also scored three.

Widnes Wild kept their play-off hopes alive with a 7-2 win against Coventry Blaze – Filip Supa hit a hat-trick. Sheffield Senators won 9-1 at home to Blackburn.

London Raiders clinched fourth place in NIHL1 South with a 5-4 win at Solent & Gosport Devils. They completed their regular season fixtures with a 10-5 home defeat to Bracknell Hornets. MK Thunder won 5-2 at home to Cardiff Devils. The play-off line-up is: Chelmsford Chieftains v Solent; Wightlink Raiders v Bracknell; Invicta Dynamos v Cardiff; London v Streatham Redskins.

In NIHL2 South Swindon Wildcats won 6-5 at home to Basingstoke Buffalo, while Invicta Mustangs drew 3-3 with Cardiff Devils.

Chelmsford bounced back from a 3-2 first leg defeat at Streatham with a 5-0 win on home ice to secure the NIHL1 South Cup. Oxford City Stars reached NIHL2 South Cup final with a 4-0 win against Wightlink Tigers, while Bristol Pitbulls comfortably defeated Chelmsford Warriors 7-1 in their semi-final. Oxford claimed the silverware with a 3-1 victory in the final.

Manchester Phoenix are through to the EPL play-off semi-final after an 8-6 aggregate win against Bracknell Bees. Basingstoke Bison won 2-0 at Sheffield Steeldogs and 6-2 in the return to secure their place in Coventry.

David Longstaff grabbed the decider as Guildford Flames won 7-6 on aggregate against Telford Tigers. Jan Kostal’s late penalty shot goal sealed a 5-4 aggregate success for Swindon Wildcats against MK Lightning. Wildcats meet Phoenix in the semi-final, while Flames face Bison.

Elite League champions Belfast Giants eased their way into the play-off semi-final with a 7-3 aggregate win against Hull Stingrays. Braehead Clan became the first Scottish team to reach the end of season showdown with a stunning 9-1 aggregate victory over Nottingham Panthers.

Fife Flyers secured their slot in the final four after a hard fought battle against Dundee Stars. Flyers won 4-3 on home ice and followed up with a 4-1 success in Dundee to seal an 8-4 aggregate victory. Sheffield Steelers lead Coventry Blaze 3-2 after the first leg of their quarter-final. Belfast face Fife in the semi-final, with Braehead meeting the winners of Tuesday’s Sheffield v Coventry tie.

Great Britain U18s retained their World Championship Division 2A status after a rollercoaster week in Dumfries. They were beaten by Netherlands and Korea, before securing victory against Romania. Following a heavy defeat to Croatia, GB needed a point from their final game against Lithuania to avoid relegation.

Trailing 4-3 going into the final period, Luc Johnson’s strike nine minutes from time sent the game to overtime and ensured GB’s safety. Lithuania eventually won the game after a shoot-out to secure promotion.

(Image permission: John Knowles)

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