We take a look at the results from around the league as we approach the final two weeks of the inaugural NIHL National league season.
Basingstoke Bison 3-4 Swindon Wildcats
In an ill-tempered game in Basingstoke on Friday night, it was the Wildcats who took both points in the closing minutes of the game. Eddie Bebris and an Aaron Nell penalty shot put the Cats 2-0 up, before Alex Sampford and Richard Bordowski levelled the scores. Sam Godfrey put the Cats back in front at 49:21, but Sean Norris made it 3-3 with 4:33 to play. Nell scored the winning goal with just 1:16 to play in the game.
Bracknell Bees 1-2 Raiders (After OT)
Aaron Connolly netted after 29 seconds of overtime to give the Raiders their fifth win on the bounce against their closest rivals in the league table. Jake Sylvester scored the opener at 27:27, before Aidan Doughty levelled the scores in the closing stages of the middle period. But that set the stage for Connolly to further bolster the Raiders’ playoff chances.
Swindon Wildcats 3-4 Basingstoke Bison (After OT)
A brace from Aaron Nell and a last-minute Tomasz Malasinski strike were not enough to see the Wildcats take both points on Saturday night. Michal Klejna, Ash Tait and Alex Sampford netted for the Bison in regulation before Malasinski received a 2+10 for checking from behind after 1:14 of OT. Adam Jones hit the match winner a minute later for the Bison.
Peterborough Phantoms 7-6 Hull Pirates
Phantoms battled back from two goals down in the closing stages to take a dramatic win on Saturday night. Goals from Matty Davies (2), Sam Towner (2), Lee Bonner and Jason Hewitt saw the Pirates lead 6-4 with seven minutes to play, but James Ferrara started the comeback at 54:35. Tom Norton levelled on the powerplay at 57:27, before Martins Susters scored the game winning goal at 58:58. Susters, Nathan Pollard. Will Weldon and Conor Pollard netted the other Phantoms goals.
Telford Tigers 3-4 Sheffield Steeldogs (After penalties)
The Steeldogs took the penalty shot win in Telford on Saturday night. Scott McKenzie gave Telford the league before Vladimir Luka levelled in the second period. Sam Watkins scored his first senior Tigers goal, before James Spurr tied it up once again. Luka got the go-ahead goal for the Dogs, only for Brandon Whistle to score in the final minute. Jan Danecek scored the only goal of the shootout to send the Dogs home with the extra point.
Milton Keynes Lightning 7-4 Leeds Chiefs
MKL took the spoils in a high scoring game in Milton Keynes on Saturday. James Griffin, Russell Cowley (2), Liam Stewart, Rio Grinnell-Parke (2) and Harry Ferguson all hit the net for the Lightning, whilst Lewis Houston (2), Adam Barnes and Lewis Baldwin got on the scoresheet for the visitors.
Raiders 7-2 Peterborough Phantoms
Three games in as many days was too much for the Phantoms as they fell to defeat in Romford. Glenn Billing put Phantoms ahead, only for Jake Sylvester, Erik Piatak, JJ Pitchley, Aaron Connolly and Blaho Novak to make it 5-1 by 21:11. Will Weldon pulled a goal back after good work by Nathan Pollard, but Piatak and Lukas Sladkovsky sealed a comfortable win for Sean Easton’s side.
Hull Pirates 6-5 Milton Keynes Lightning
Tomas Kana netted a hat-trick for the visitors in Hull on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough as the Pirates took both points. Kana’s goals were added to by Lewis Christie, and Grant McPherson, but strikes from Sam Towner, Lee Bonner (2), Jordan Fisher, James Archer and Matt Bissonnette saw Jason Hewitt’s side return to winning ways.
Leeds Chiefs 3-4 Telford Tigers
Scott McKenzie scored the first three Tigers goals to help his side to victory. Lewis Houston gave Leeds the lead, before McKenzie equalised. Lewis Baldwin put them back in front before McKenzie turned the game on its head with two more goals. Brandon Whistle made it 4-2 to the Tigers, with Richard Bentham ensuring the Chiefs made a game of it in the final period.
Bracknell Bees 7-1 Sheffield Steeldogs
It was another big night on home ice for the Bees who kept up the pressure on the Raiders in the playoff race. James Spurr put the Dogs in the lead after 1:29, but that was as good as it got for his side. Goals Josh Ealey-Newman, Dominik Gabaj (2), Aidan Doughty (2) and Roman Malinik (2) ensured the Bees claimed one of their biggest wins of the season.
THE LEAGUE TABLE
With four games to go, Telford are now on the verge of sealing the league title. They’re seven points ahead of Swindon with four games to play.
Phantoms are in third, a point ahead of Basingstoke. Hull are six points behind Bison in fifth, with MKL in sixth. Sheffield are seventh.
Raiders currently occupy the last playoff spot – they’re three points ahead of Bracknell ahead of the two sides’ meeting next week.
Leeds are in tenth.