85 goals were scored in the NIHL National at the weekend. We take a look around the league at the scores from across the country.
Raiders 6-3 Hull Pirates
Raiders goalie Ethan James collected a win and the man of the match award in his first game for the club. In the other goal, it was a night to forget for Ash Smith, as he conceded 6 goals from 29 shots faced. The Raiders’ six goals were scored by six different scorers, whilst Bobby Chamberlain netted two of the Pirates’ goals.
Swindon Wildcats 6-4 Peterborough Phantoms
Two Aaron Nell shorthanded goals put the Wildcats in control against the Phantoms, but Slava Koulikov’s team battled back to send the game into the final few minutes at 4-4. But the referees then moved to centre stage, calling Jarvis Hunt for diving and Callum Buglass for tripping inside ten seconds of each other, giving the Cats and Eddie Bebris the chance to win the game for the Wiltshire side.
Basingstoke Bison 2-4 Leeds Chiefs
On Friday, the Chiefs lost the services of Radek Meidl, James Archer and Brodie Jesson, who all requested release from the club. But they travelled to Basingstoke on Saturday night and claimed one of the results of the season. They arrived in Basingstoke with just 12 players and two goalies but battled hard to claim an impressive 4-2 win. Sam Gospel was the star of the show, saving 40 of the 42 shots he faced.
Milton Keynes Lightning 5-2 Sheffield Steeldogs
The MK Lightning continued their upturn in form with victory over the Steeldogs on Saturday night. Robin Kovar scored twice, with further goals being added by Tomas Kana and Russell Cowley, before Liam Stewart scored on the empty net. Ben Morgan and Charlie Thompson netted for the Steeldogs but found Jordan Lawday in good form between the pipes for MKL. Former Phantom Tom Carlon received a match penalty for fighting in the second period.
Telford Tigers 5-4 Bracknell Bees
The Tigers and Bees shared 9 goals on Saturday night, all coming in the first 38 minutes of the game. Dominik Gabaj continued his impressive start to life in a Bees jersey, netting another two goals. Caly Robertson, another new Bees recruit, scored the other two. It was a game of braces in Telford, but Brandon Whistle’s two goals proved to be the game winners for the Tigers.
Sheffield Steeldogs 3-4 Milton Keynes Lightning
MKL completed a four-point weekend with their second win over the Steeldogs in as many days. They led 2-0 through Russell Cowley and Cale Tanaka but were pegged back by Alex Graham and James Spurr. They restored their two-goal lead through Harry Ferguson and Liam Stewart, and despite Vladimir Luka’s late goal in the second period, MKL were able to hold on for the two points.
Peterborough Phantoms 6-4 Raiders
Six goals from six different scorers saw the Phantoms return to winning ways on Sunday evening. James Ferrara, Tom Norton, Nathan Pollard, Ales Padelek, Will Weldon and Corey McEwen all found the back of the net for the Phantoms. The Raiders staged a late fightback with a brace from Lukas Sladkovsky, but McEwen’s empty net goal sealed the deal for Slava’s side.
Leeds Chiefs 3-2 Basingstoke Bison (After OT)
Sam Gospel came up big for the Chiefs once again and they sealed a four-point weekend in overtime. After Sunday’s game, Gospel ended the weekend with 81 saves from 85 shots faced. The Bison took a two-goal lead through Adam Jones and Michal Klejna, before two goals in two minutes from Liam Charnock sent the game into overtime. Lewis Houston was the hero for his new side, netting the overtime winner in his first weekend as a member of the Leeds Chiefs.
Hull Pirates 6-2 Bracknell Bees
Bobby Chamberlain netted a hat-trick against the Bees to take his weekend goal total to five. The Pirates ran into penalty trouble, picking up 34 penalty minutes in the game, including ten-minute penalties for both James Archer and Lee Bonner. But they didn’t let it stop them, as they stormed to victory over Doug Shephard’s side.
Telford Tigers 8-6 Swindon Wildcats
A Tyler VanKleef hat-trick wasn’t enough for the Wildcats to seal a four-point weekend. Instead, their opponents and rivals in the league table, managed to claim all four points on their own weekend. Dominik Florian, Brandon Whistle and Jason Silverthorn all bagged twice each for the Tigers in the highest scoring game of the weekend.
THE LEAGUE TABLE
A four-point weekend for the Telford Tigers means they will spend Christmas at the top of the NIHL National table. They sit five points ahead of Swindon, whilst the Phantoms are four points behind Swindon, in third.
The Basingstoke Bison remain in fourth despite picking up just one point over the weekend, with the Hull Pirates a point behind in fifth on 28 points.
Sheffield Steeldogs are sixth, and Bracknell Bees seventh. MKL’s four-point weekend sees them move up a place to eighth, with the Raiders dropping down to ninth.
The Leeds Chiefs completed a four-point weekend, reducing the gap between themselves and second bottom. They now sit on 13 points, five points behind the Raiders with three games in hand.