Saturday 22nd September
Guildford Flames continued their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive 8-2 win over MK. Star of the show Ian Watters scored 4 in Guildford’s dominant performance. A Kruise Reddick brace, as well as goals from Evan Ritt and Evan Janssen completed an easy win away at Planet Ice for Flames.
Cardiff also took valuable Challenge Cup points at home to Coventry Blaze. A Mike Hedden double set Cardiff on their way. Joey Martin, Jake Morrisette and Layne Ulmer completed a good night for Devils, with Blaze’s single reply coming from ex Nottingham Panther forward Alex Nikiforuk.
Sheffield has suffered a difficult start to their season, but new signing Brendan Brooks jumped straight off a plane to score a much-needed winner for the Steelers. Storm’s Luke Moffat had given Manchester a 3rd-period lead. However, Josh Pitt equalised, before Brooks was on hand to score the game winner with only 15 seconds remaining.
Glasgow Clan rolled into Nottingham on their 5-week road trip. They shocked the home team and their fans by winning 5-2. A hard working Clan side took the lead through Vaclav Stupka before Dylan Olsen equalised with a pinpoint finish. Clan then took control, with goals from Josh Gratton, Scott Pitt and Brendan Connolly. Alex Guptill gave the Panthers hope, but a late empty-netter from Gratton kept the Clan unbeaten in the league.
Fife Flyers made it a great night for the Scottish teams with a hard-earned victory over Belfast Giants. Jonathan Ferland gave the Giants an early lead. This lasted until the 3rd period, but the home side took the third stanza 4-1 to take the win. Brett Bulmer’s double, along with single efforts from Bari McKenzie and Evan Bloodoff kept the points in Kirkcaldy.
Sunday 23rd September
Fife completed a 4 point weekend over Belfast on Sunday night. This time Challenge Cup points were up for grabs at the SSE Arena, and it was that man Brett Bulmer who again scored a double for Flyers. Carlo Finucci and Paul Crowder also scored for Todd Dutiaume’s men, whilst Kyle Baun scored twice for Belfast. This result leaves the Giants in the middle of a 3 game losing streak after a great start to the season.
After their last-minute winner on Saturday, the Sheffield Steelers were brought back down to Earth on Sunday night at the hands of reigning EIHL champions Cardiff. Devils dominated the opening period of the game, jumping to a 4-0 lead. Stephen Dixon, Craig Moore, Layne Ulmer and Bryce Reddick put Cardiff in total control. A final score of 6-2 piles the pressure on Steelers coach Paul Thompson, who admitted starting goalie Jackson Whistle had not been well before the game.
Manchester Storm got back to winning ways with a shootout victory in Dundee. Despite being heavily outshot, Ryan Finnerty’s men claimed the extra point with Luke Moffat scoring the decisive penalty shot.
Coventry piled more stress on MK Lightning with a 5-2 home victory. An early match penalty to Lightning’s Rihard Grigors for head-butting let Blaze score 2 quick powerplay goals through Shawn Pauly and captain Kevin Morris. However, there was no way back for MK, who are on a worrying losing streak.
The final match of the weekend saw Guildford Flames take on Glasgow Clan. Travis Fullerton produced a superb goaltending performance to shutout the Clan, saving all 43 shots. Goals from Jesse Craige and Swedish D-man Calle Ackered gave Paul Dixon’s men both points against Glasgow.
Sheffield have signed dual national import Brendan Brooks. The former Fife and Braehead man was top points scorer in Glasgow last season. He was also part of the GB national side that secured promotion to Pool A in the Spring. Brooks was able to play this weekend after flying in on Saturday morning. He made an immediate impact scoring the game-winner against Manchester that night.
Former Dundee Stars head coach Marc LeFebvre has signed with Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) as an assistant coach. He was previously in the same role with the Cincinnati Cyclones last season, who also play in the ECHL.
Fife Flyers netminder Shane Owen has been named EIHL player of the week. The goalie, in his second stint with Fife, saved an incredible 143 shots over 3 games last week. All 3 games ended with wins for Fife, twice against Belfast Giants and the other away at Guildford Flames.