A new season for the top division of the EIHA’s National Leagues – the Planet Ice-sponsored National Division dropped the puck on their regular season Friday evening with a full slate of games.
With the country still in its period of mourning for the death of Queen Elizabeth II much of the pre-game ceremony was held off at the rinks, with teams, officials and fans observing a two-minute silence before face off.
When the action did get underway, Peterborough Phantoms were the first winners – defeating Bees 6-3 at Bretton in the Friday night opener. Glenn Billing and Austin Mitchell-King each netted a brace for the Phantoms.
In Saturday’s play, Phantoms made it two from two with a 5-2 road win at Basingstoke Bison to book a spot at the head of the early league table. Division newcomers Hull Seahawks had a baptism of fire at Swindon, going down 12-0 at the Link Centre – Dean Skinns picking up the shutout, with a brace from Jack Goodchild.
Hull’s fellow newbies, Bristol Pitbulls, hosted their first National Division game at the Pound, losing a seven goal thriller to Raiders. Erik Piatek’s goal at 39.56 proved to be the game winner. Owen Sobchak netted two on his debut for Bristol.
MK Lightning and Sheffield Steeldogs needed bonus hockey to decide the winner; Dogs were ahead 3-2 in the dying moments when Sean Norris scored the equaliser with the extra skater on the ice. Liam Stewart’s hat-trick marker sealed the win for the home side in the extra period.
Finally on Saturday, Leeds Knights defeated Telford Tigers 7-4. Kieron Brown topped and tailed the Leeds scoring, with a hat-trick from Grant Cooper in between for the home side. Vlad Luka scored twice for Telford.
In Sunday’s action, the Bees bounced back from Friday’s loss to defeat rivals Basingtoke 6-3. Alan Lack bagged a hat-trick and Adam Goss made 38 saves for the home side.
Swindon travelled to Sheffield and a scoreless game through 39 minutes eventually went the way of the Wildcats, 3-0 the final. Player-coach Aaron Nell collected his 1,000th point for Swindon with an assist on the second goal, Renny Marr picking up the shutout.
Hull opened their home campaign against MK by retiring the #27 jersey of former Hull star Jereme Tendler. However the Seahawks – minus their non EIHA trained players and other key squad members – were blanked for a second night, Liam Stewart picked up a second hat-trick of the weekend as the Lightning won 9-0.
Defending champions Telford won their home opener 7-4 over Bristol, opening the scoring just 18 ticks in and seeing Vlad Luka bag a hat-trick.
Finally Leeds made it two from two, with a 6-2 road win at Raiders, Cole Shudra scoring twice for the Knights.
Article: EIHA Media Team
Image: Tim Oliver