There was a full fixture list in the NIHL National at the weekend; we take a look at how those fixtures played out and the effect they had on the league table.
Leeds Chiefs 2-4 Telford Tigers
Goals from Sam Zajac and Lewis Baldwin gave the Chiefs hope of an unlikely win over the league leading Telford Tigers on Saturday night. The scores were 2-2 at the mid-way point in the game but strikes from Scott McKenzie and Andy McKinney ensured victory for Tom Watkins’ side.
Swindon Wildcats 4-3 Bracknell Bees
Tyler VanKleef netted against his former side as the Wildcats narrowly defeated the Bracknell Bees. Aidan Doughty gave the Bees the lead but strikes from Tyler Plews, VanKleef and Tomasz Malasinski put the Cats 3-1 ahead. Roman Malinik struck back for the Bees before Stevie Whitfield sealed the deal with an empty net goal. Malinik netted again 13 seconds after the Cats’ fourth goal, but Aaron Nell’s side held on for the win.
Basingstoke Bison 5-2 Hull Pirates
Michal Klejna bagged a hat-trick as the Basingstoke Bison eased to victory over Hull. Ryan Sutton and Sean Norris added further strikes to cap off a dominating display for the Bison. Bobby Chamberlain and Lee Bonner found the net for the Pirates, who were outshot 44-27.
Peterborough Phantoms 5-3 Raiders
Nathan Pollard and Martins Susters netted twice each as the Phantoms returned to winning ways on Saturday night. James Ferrara added the other Phantoms goal. But the Phantoms made it hard for themselves, conceding short-handed goals to both Aaron Connolly and Lukas Sladkovsky, with Brandon Ayliffe netting the other Raiders goal. Jordan Marr was in fine form for the Phantoms, making 38 saves from 41 shots.
Milton Keynes Lightning 4-3 Sheffield Steeldogs
The MKL fans were having a disco once again as Liam Stewart netted twice on the way to another win for the league’s in form team. Tom Carlon scored the other two MKL goals in a game which boiled over in the closing stages. Robin Kovar got 2+10 for boarding at 59:59, whilst Rio Grinnell-Parke also got a 10 misconduct. Jack Brammer received a 10 misconduct for the Steeldogs on the final buzzer.
Sheffield Steeldogs 5-4 Milton Keynes Lightning (After penalty shots)
The Sheffield Steeldogs gained revenge over MKL on Sunday night with a penalty shot win on home ice. Ryan Johnson, Jan Danecek, Jack Brammer and Vladimir Luka netted for the Dogs in regulation. Dimitri Zimozdra took the Dogs’ man of the match award, making an impressive 48 saves from 52 shots.
Raiders 3-8 Swindon Wildcats
The Wildcats completed a four-point weekend in style with a comfortable victory over the Raiders. Tyler VanKleef continued his good form with a hat-trick, whilst Eddie Bebris netted twice. Renny Marr got a rest for the final six minutes, with Michael Crisp taking over in goal. He conceded once from 7 shots faced.
Bracknell Bees 4-3 Peterborough Phantoms
The first four-point weekend of 2020 remains elusive for the Phantoms, as the Bees claimed a narrow win on Sunday night. Josh Ealey-Newman scored twice and picked up the man of the match award for the Bees, with Josh Smith and Ryan Webb adding further goals. Corey McEwen and Will Weldon (2) notched the Phantoms goals, whilst Ryan Bainborough picked up the man of the match award.
Hull Pirates 8-1 Leeds Chiefs
Matt Bissonnette scored his first goal for the Pirates as they cruised to victory over the Leeds Chiefs. Jason Hewitt netted a hat-trick, whilst James Archer, Sam Towner, Matty Davies and Lee Bonner also scored. Sam Gospel made 40 saves from 46 shots, before being replaced for the final 5:51.
Telford Tigers 4-3 Basingstoke Bison (After penalty shots)
Telford fought back in the third period after trailing 3-1 at the end of period 2 to send the game into overtime. Dominik Florian and Scott McKenzie netted in the first nine minutes of the final frame, before going on to win on penalties. Brandon Whistle scored the only goal of the shootout.
THE LEAGUE TABLE
Telford remain top of the table after another four-point weekend for Tom Watkins’ side. Swindon are keeping up the pressure on the Tigers, having posted a four-point weekend of their own.
Bison sit third, seven points behind the Cats. Phantoms are a point behind the Bison in fourth.
Hull are fifth, with Milton Keynes in sixth. Sheffield are in seventh, one point behind Hull and MKL.
Bracknell moved back above the Raiders, whilst the Chiefs prop up the table.