Cardiff Devils 2 Hull Stingrays 1 (After Overtime)
Devils completed a four-point weekend but were taken to overtime by a Stingrays side that are now winless in their last eight but picked up their first point in that run.
The opening exchanges saw Jesse Gimblett of Devils and Ryan Hand drop the gloves in the eighth minute and shortly afterwards, while on the powerplay, Devils hit the front with the only goal of the period, scored by Josh Batch at 10.31.
The second session saw Devils continue to look the more likely but Stingrays were still well in the contest. The period remained scoreless despite a good few chances at either end.
Into the third period and with Devils unable to put away their visitors the inevitable happened at 53.56 when Jereme Tendler was on hand to fire home and tie the game.
With no further scoring in regulation it was into overtime and within no time at all Devils claimed the extra point as Mac Faulkner was sent free to fire past Ben Bowns only 18 seconds in and ensure everyone connected to the Welsh side would go into Christmas happy.
Period Scores: 1-0, 0-0, 0-1, 1-0
Penalty Mins: Car 9+0+2+0-11, Hul 11+2+2+0=15
Powerplay: Car 1/5, Hul 0/3
Shots On: Phil Osaer 10+7+11+1=29, Ben Bowns 14+14+8+1=37
Referee: Dean Smith
Coventry Blaze 0 Nottingham Panthers 8
A devastating Panthers display inflicted Blaze’s worst ever home loss in the Elite League’s ten seasons with Craig Kowalski picking up his fourth shutout of the season, making 18 saves.
Panthers go into Christmas four points clear of Belfast at the top of the league standings and are clearly a team right at the top of their form right now with only one loss in eleven, while Blaze have only one win in their last five.
The rout started as early as 109 seconds as David Ling fired the visitors into the lead. Blaze were simply swept away as Panthers scored two more goals in 21 seconds through Robert Lachowicz at 6.23 and Eric Werner at 6.44 to lead 3-0 before Mike Egener of Blaze and Kelsey Wilson of Panthers dropped the gloves at 9.57. Still the scoring was not finished as Panthers scored a fourth at 12.48, with Ling hitting his second of the game.
Panthers went nap at 25.21 with Bruce Graham on target before a second fight took to the stage between Benn Olson of Blaze and Guillaume Lepine of Panthers. The momentum was not changing however and late in the session Wilson hit Panthers sixth of the night at 38.37 allowing Egener and Lepine to finish the period with fight number three at 39.19.
Panthers were in no mood to let up and added a couple of further goals in the third period with Matt Francis at 53.53 on the powerplay and Brandon Benedict at 56.02 completing a great night for the NIC based side but a thoroughly miserable one for Paul Thompson’s troops.
Period Scores: 0-4, 0-2, 0-2
Penalty Mins: Cov 7+12+4=23, Not 9+20+0=29
Powerplay: Cov 0/7, Not 1/3
Shots On: Peter Hirsch 13+14+11=38, Craig Kowalski 4+5+9=18
Referee: Tom Darnell
Dundee Stars 3 Fife Flyers 4 (After Penalty Shootout)
A real thriller in Dundee as Flyers snapped an eleven game losing run on the road with a shootout success with scoring shots by both Bobby Chaumont and Derek Keller were unanswered by Stars.
No fewer than 150 penalty minutes were dished out by referee Neil Wilson with the main flashpoint coming at the end of the opening period which accounted for 101 of those minutes.
Stars took the lead with the only goal of that first session when Mike Wirll fired in at 14.41, a score against the run of play as Flyers outshot Stars by 12 to 4 but the game exploded at the period end and resulted in eight players being penalised, including a 5+game for boarding on Stars Doug Krantz and a 5+game for fighting on Flyers Steven McAlpine.
The second period saw Flyers take advantage of an early powerplay opportunity with Chaumont levelling at 23.58 before there was late scoring for both sides, with firstly Pat Bowen shooting Stars 2-1 ahead on a 5 on 3 powerplay and then Jason Pitton making it 2-2 with 19 seconds remaining in the period.
The third period saw Pitton edge Flyers ahead at 43.01 with his second of the game but within a minute he was ejected from the game on a 5+game for boarding and on the resulting powerplay Bowen made it 3-3.
No further regulation scoring and in overtime Flyers had a brief powerplay opportunity which they failed to take before eventually the shootout decided the extra point and got a rather large monkey off the Kirkcaldy sides back.
Period Scores: 1-0, 1-2, 1-1, 0-0, 0-1 (0-2)
Penalty Mins: Dun 6+51+0+2=59, Fif 4+62+25+0=91
Powerplay: Dun 2/7, Fif 1/6
Shots On: Nic Riopel 12+11+10+2=35, Bryan Pitton 4+13+8+4=29
Referee: Neil Wilson
Sheffield Steelers 1 Belfast Giants 2
The big clash at Sheffield Arena between Steelers and Giants provided a crucial win for the visitors by the odd goal in three, seriously denting the Steelers title challenge but ensuring Giants continue to be Nottingham’s main challengers going into the holiday period.
The unlikely hero for Doug Christiansen’s men, who have now won three straight, was Darryl Lloyd, with one of the league’s top agitator’s hitting a double to sink the home side, while at the other end GB goaltender Stephen Murphy made an impressive 33 saves.
The opening session saw Steelers have more of the play but the period ended with Giants edging ahead thanks to Lloyd’s first strike at 16.31.
Early in the second period Steelers drew level with Simon Ferguson scoring his first goal for the club at 24.37 on a delayed penalty call. Giants then lost defenseman David Phillips on a game misconduct for leaving the bench to join an altercation at 26.28.
No more scoring until the opening minutes of the third period when Lloyd was again on target at 41.45 with this proving to be the game winner as Steelers were unable to penetrate the well organised Giants blueline despite outshooting their visitors by 11 to 6.
Period Scores: 0-1, 1-0, 0-1
Penalty Mins: She 4+6+2=12, Bel 4+26+2=32
Powerplay: She 0/4, Bel 0/4
Shots on: John De Caro 8+6+6=20, Stephen Murphy 14+9+11=34
Referee: Michael Hicks