A look around the league after the latest round of fixtures in the NIHL National.
Bracknell Bees 2-3 Peterborough Phantoms
A Petr Stepanek thunderbolt was enough to seal an away win for the Phantoms at the Hive. The Phantoms were pegged back twice, as Aidan Doughty and Robin Kovar cancelled out two Glenn Billing goals, but Stepanek’s goal with 3:29 to play was enough to see the Phantoms leave Berkshire with the victory.
Swindon Wildcats 5-2 Raiders
Aaron Nell’s Wildcats made it seven wins on the spin with a comfortable victory over the Raiders. Nell and Birbraer struck twice each, and Floyd Taylor added the other goal as the Cats consolidated their place at the top of the table. Raiders captain Aaron Connolly struck both goals for the visitors.
Basingstoke Bison 3-2 Milton Keynes Lightning (After OT)
Adam Harding was the Bison hero on Saturday night, striking 1:49 into overtime to condemn the MK Lightning to another defeat. Tom Carlon gave MKL the lead, but goals from Alex Sampford and George Norcliffe saw them fall behind. Ari Närhi levelled the scores to earn a point for the visitors, but Harding’s strike saw Ashley Tait’s side claim the extra point.
Telford Tigers 5-3 Leeds Chiefs
The Leeds Chiefs led the game after a high scoring first period which saw them go into the intermission 3-2 ahead. They levelled twice before taking the lead thanks to Steven Moore at 14:44. But that was the end of the Chiefs’ scoring, Thomas McKinnon, Scott McKenzie and Andy McKinney struck further goals for the Tigers to claim both points against Sam Zajac’s side. The game boiled over on 39 minutes after a boarding penalty on Chiefs import Radek Meidl saw him drop the gloves with Tigers import, Dominik Florian.
Leeds Chiefs 3-6 Sheffield Steeldogs
The Chiefs tasted defeat in their first ever ‘home’ game. Zajac’s side played at Blackburn with final preparations on their own rink still being made, and it was the Steeldogs who claimed the points. Nathan Salem continued his impressive goal scoring season with another two goals, whilst Jan Danecek also netted twice.
Milton Keynes Lightning 1-5 Swindon Wildcats
The Wildcats were missing prolific forward Max Birbraer on Sunday night, but showed the depth in their forward lines with five different scorers scoring their five goals. Chris Jones, Toms Rutkis, Tomasz Malasinski, Floyd Taylor and Eddie Bebris all netted for the Cats, with Cale Tanaka getting the only MKL goal. MK forward Rio Grinnell-Parke was assessed a 5+game penalty for boarding with just over five minutes left.
Raiders 6-5 Bracknell Bees
It was the Ivan Antonov show in Romford on Sunday night, but not all for the right reasons. The 22-year-old forward scored twice and assisted a further goal but was then assessed a 10+game+match penalty for abuse of the official at the final buzzer. The game winning goal came with 38 seconds left in the third period and involved two former Phantoms. Erik Piatak set up Jack Flynn, who collected the primary assist on Mason Webster’s goal.
Peterborough Phantoms 3-5 Basingstoke Bison
The Phantoms paid the price for not taking their chances as Ashley Tait’s team completed a four-point weekend. Phantoms outshot their Hampshire opponents by 48-20, but only found the net on three occasions. Captain James Ferrara struck twice, after Petr Stepanek’s opener, but Adam Jones scored the game winner before Tait put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal from his own zone with just over a minute to play.
Hull Pirates 5-4 Telford Tigers (After OT)
Jason Hewitt was the hero for the Pirates, scoring inside the first minute of overtime to give Hull a victory in their only game of the weekend. The Tigers were depleted with Jonathan Weaver, Ollie Lord, Rick Plant, Jason Silverthorn, Brandon Whistle, Adam Taylor, Joe Aston and James Smith all missing out, but Tom Watkins’ side still managed to claim a point. They trailed the Pirates four times but found a leveller on all four occasions before Hewitt struck the OT winner.
THE LEAGUE TABLE
The Swindon Wildcats sit top of the table, two points clear of Telford, who have a game in hand on the Cats.
Phantoms remain in third with 17 points from their 14 games, whilst the Basingstoke sit two points behind in 4th.
Next come the Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs, both on 14 points, before Bracknell in 7th on 11 points from 13 games.
Raiders are a point behind the Bees in 8th. The Chiefs are in 9th with 7 points from 12 games, a point behind basement club MKL who have 6 points from 13 games so far this season.