ELITE LEAGUE ICE HOCKEY:
A round up of games in the Elite Ice Hockey League on Sunday March 25.
Sheffield Steelers 4 Braehead Clan 5
A goal only three seconds from the end of regulation by Mike Wirll gave Clan the win on the road as Steelers threw away a 4-2 lead early in the second period.
The result will be a big confidence boost to Clan as they go into their tough Play-Off quarter final series against Nottingham, even more so as they iced backup goaltender Michael Will and rested both player/coach Drew Bannister and skipper Jordan Krestanovich.
One player not rested however was Jade Galbraith and the outstanding offensive talent bagged 1+2 on the night to break the 100 point barrier for the season.
The game started with a bang for Steelers with Jeff Legue firing them ahead after only 25 seconds but Clan were in no mood to make up the numbers and they tied the period when Galbraith scored on the powerplay at 15.46.
The second period saw Steelers seemingly take control when goals at 28.57 from skipper Jonathan Phillips and 47 later from Matt Stephenson on a delayed penalty call had them 3-1 ahead. Clan however reduced the leeway at 34.21 when Adam Walker stepped out of the penalty box to race clear and score shorthanded.
When Legue scored his second of the game at 44.21 Steelers were 4-2 ahead and looking good for the points but Clan dug deep and dominated from that point in. Mike Bayrack pulled one back at 50.04 and then at 54.18 on the powerplay it was 4-4 with Ryan Campbell on target for the visitors.
The game looked destined for overtime but with only three seconds remaining Mike Wirll was the visiting hero as he stepped up to fire past John DeCaro and win it for his side.
Cardiff Devils 4 Coventry Blaze 3
Devils ended their home campaign with a narrow success by the odd goal in seven over a Blaze side they will now meet again home and away next weekend in the Play-Off quarter finals with a game winner from Phil Hill in the 36th minute.
An impressive end to the league season at home for the Welsh side as they picked up a seventh win in a row but for Blaze the loss snapped their fine five game winning run.
Devils took a very early lead in this one with skipper Stuart Macrae on the spot to score after only 103 seconds and at 5.42 their quick start saw them go 2-0 ahead with a strike by Jeff Pierce. Blaze however, hit back quickly and at 6.21 on a delayed penalty call Shea Guthrie got them on the board.
Devils were not finished in the period though and with 49 seconds remaining Scott Dobben made it 3-1 for the Welsh side while on a 5 on 3 powerplay opportunity.
The second period saw scoring later in the period with firstly a powerplay goal by Guthrie pulling Blaze to within one at 33.33 but Devils regained their two-goal lead again at 35.33 as Hill scored.
Only a single goal in the final period, coming the way of the visitors at 42.08 with Dustin Wood firing in on the powerplay but despite near things at both ends the scoring was complete and Devils took the points and perhaps some bragging rights going into a hard to predict Play-Off series.
Hull Stingrays 6 Dundee Stars 2
Stingrays posted a fine 6-2 win to go into a difficult Playoff series against Sheffield with star sniper Jereme Tendler right back in form with 3+2 against a Stars side who did their job the previous night by winning in Fife to set up their series with league champions Belfast.
Three home wins in their last four for Stingrays in what turned out to be a chippy contest throughout with 66 penalty minutes in total.
A very even opening period but no net finders, although that changed in the middle session as both sides shared four goals.
Stars took the lead with a strike by Chris Zarb at 21.18 but Stingrays hit back with a shorthanded effort by Tendler setting them on their way. Jeff Hutchins had Stars ahead for a second time at 32.27 but equality was restored when Jason Silverthorn netted at 35.14.
All Stingrays in the third period by which time both back up goaltenders were between the pipes. It took until 48.36 for Dominic Osman to score what turned out to be the game winner for Stingrays but after that further goals came from Tendler at 55.16 and 55.42 to complete his treble and finally Silverthorn again with 27 seconds remaining to end a good night for Sylvain Cloutier’s men.
Edinburgh Capitals 11 Fife Flyers 3
Capitals ended their disastrous second half to the season, which cost them a Play-Off spot with some cheer to their supporters with a big win over local rivals Fife in an explosive encounter of some 309 penalty minutes, with some nine ejections, including Flyers bench coach and trainer.
Capitals were ahead with their first shorthanded strike of the season at 1.51 with Bari McKenzie on target and 2-0 up at 3.04 with a strike by Peter Holecko. McKenzie on the powerplay made it 3-0 at 4.18 before the game settled down until a late scoring burst saw firstly Danny Stewart pull one back for Flyers at 17.10, Richard Hartmann make it 4-1 at 19.26 and Stewart again net for Flyers at 19.43 to leave the score 4-2 after the opening exchanges.
Capitals took complete control in the second period before the fun and games really started. A powerplay goal by Marcis Zembergs at 25.49, Tomas Valecko at 27.33 and Sean Menton at 30.31 had Capitals 7-2 in front before Chris Wands pulled one back at 30.17.
The first blow up came at 32.32 and saw a fight involving Steven McAlpine of Flyers and Jan Safar of Capitals joined by Josef Sladok of the home side (game for third man in). At the same time both Steven Lynch the flyers bench coach and the visitor’s trainer were assessed game misconducts.
Further home goals followed from Menton at 32.49 and Rene Jarolin at 36.39 before flashpoint number two took place with 12 seconds of the period left.
Danny Stewart of Flyers was assessed a five plus game for fighting in addition to a match penalty for bringing the game into disrepute, with Valecko of Capitals receiving a five plus game for high sticks.
From the opening face-off of the thirds period they were dancing once more with Denis Kadic of Flyers copping a fighting call along with Capitals Martin Petrina, with Jarolin joining them on a five plus game for fighting.
McKenzie completed his hat trick as Capitals went 10-3 ahead at 41.26, at 42.06 we had Thomas Muir of Flyers and Safer of Capitals on a 5 plus games for fighting, before Zembergs scored to make it 11-3 Capitals and finally at 55.14 Kyle Horne of Flyers and Holecko of Capitals picked up fighting majors to end quite a night in Edinburgh.