Alarms sound, mascots leave the rink and gloves drop Week 3 of the NIHL South brings joy to Solent, pain to Streatham and panic to Invicta

LONDON, UK – Anyone who reads this column on a regular basis will be aware that we always bring the hardest hitting news stories from around the NIHL South so you can bask in the knowledge that this week we have secured the ultimate exclusive.

Wightlink joy (Nicky Craft)

Wightlink joy (Nicky Craft)

Chelmsford Chieftains mascot Frizzy Bear paid a visit to Colchester Zoo this week, as he opened wounds of the past by returning to the scene of his highly disappointing fourth place finish in the Essex mascot race that took place in July HERE.

This time round, Frizzy didn’t have to contend with a cheating Kangaroo or a menacing looking Colchester United mascot, and simply promoted the hockey team to kids visiting the popular zoo, that also sponsors the Chieftains match night ‘Chuck a Puck’.

A club that are rarely in the news but are certainly one of its longest standing members, namely the Bracknell Hornets, had some web attention thanks to a new website that gives more exposure to NIHL South.

Freezing the Puck has already posted a number of interviews with players across the league and this week Hornets forward Tom Fisher spoke up, after his side narrowly went down at home to Wightlink Raiders.

“We battled for 60 minutes and in my opinion deserved at least a point from the game” explained Fisher, who last season played team snitch in a PHN feature HERE

“We proved last season that we can take points off of the top teams in the league, despite having such a young team.  As long as we go into each game with the same high level of intensity, we should be capable of causing some upsets”

“Having such a young team means we can play with high energy for most of the game, that is where we caught teams out last year”

Bring it on kangaroo

Bring it on kangaroo

London Raiders defenseman Jason Buckman was delighted with his sides’ opening weekend win over Solent & Gosport Devils.

“It was the perfect kind of game for us to start with” said the new Raiders Captain in an interview with the Romford Recorder.

“Solent are the type of team to never stop skating and we knew they would play until the end”

“It was a bit scrappy at times but that’s expected with lines still gelling and guys getting their timing back after the summer break”

“The young guys are already showing they can step up when needed which is good to see, playing with lots of confidence”

Indeed by all accounts the Raiders opener at their new home in Lee Valley went down a storm with the club’s official Facebook account heaping praise on the parking, the rink staff and most pleasingly the cheesy chips served by the café.

Hockey fans are not the fussiest of customers in the UK and the same Facebook account then posted a cryptic message on Friday to suggest an extra player would be returning to the line-up for the game against Invicta.

Most took that to mean a return for retired former forward AJ Smith, who decided to hang up his skates this summer when it appeared the club would not ice a team.

One of Smith’s other former clubs, namely Invicta Dynamos announced earlier in the week that experienced defenseman Tyrone Miller was leaving the club with immediate effect.

In a press release posted on the Dynamos website, the club outlined their reasons for releasing the former Romford and Streatham man.

“Tyrone was still carrying an injury from the last year and was unlikely to be available for selection for a number of weeks”

Chips fit for a king .. or GM

Chips fit for a king .. or GM

“We also considered it possible that his injury could flare up again in the future leaving us short at the back for a prolonged amount of time and this was a risk I am unable to take”

“It’s an unfortunate situation but regrettably an issue that happens in hockey and we wish Tyrone the best for his recuperation”

The reasons outlined almost mirror those of Streatham when they released the Londoner midway through last season. Tyrone has seemingly been unable to shake off his injury problems and it remains to be seen if he will return to the game in the future.

Despite this bad news, the mood was not too downbeat at Silverblades after the Mo’s gave Chelmsford a good game the previous weekend earning a 6-6 tie in the cup against the league and Play-Off double champions.

“We’ve got a good bunch and everyone has a role to play” said Coach Kev Parrish in an interview with Kent Online.

“Everyone is talented and we’ve got a good mix. Some people questioned whether we would have too many egos but Sunday showed that they are up for it and that they want to play for this club”

The most amusing interview given by a NIHL South player during the week came from Haringey London Racers blueliner Alastair Band who pulled no punches in an exchange with the aforementioned Freezing the Puck website.

6 new teeth and a skin graft please doctor

6 new teeth and a skin graft please doctor

When asked why he previously played as a forward, the former Bristol, Cardiff and Invicta man replied:

“Playing forward came about from my time in Romford in the EPL where it was a case of play defense and sit on the bench or play forward and sit on the bench. I chose the latter as there was a slim chance I might touch the ice beyond skating to the penalty box to sit a bench penalty”

For a full transcript of the interview click HERE 

Last but not least is this week’s bruise of the week, or more accurately, worst hockey injury of the season so far. The unlucky player was Cardiff’s Rupe Quiney who took a puck to the face and ended up with a multitude of injuries.

Apologies to those of you reading whilst eating, but as the saying goes, a puck astray keeps the dentists in high pay. Obviously we just made that up but its not too bad as it goes. Get well soon Rupe from all at Pro Hockey News.

Saturday Round-up

An autumn trip to the Isle of Wight is the stuff that dreams are made of, until you see a choppy Solent Estuary, grey skies and then get spanked 12-3, which is exactly what the Streatham Redskins endured as they played the Wightlink Raiders.

A three minute spell in the opening period in which the Raiders despatched five unanswered goals past us, left the team with two choices, either dig in and try and grind our way back into the game, or fall apart.

Wightlink beat Streatham (Nicky Craft)

Wightlink beat Streatham (Nicky Craft)

What happened was somewhere in the middle  of those two options and that is making the assumption that the Raiders gave us any choice, which they didn’t thanks to some excellent finishing in front of goal.

Steve Osman proved just how vital he will be to the Raiders this season with four goals and there were braces for Matthew Vizzari, Alex Barker and Craig Tribe. Raiders other goals came from Nick Compton, Richard Nembhard and Richard Facey.

For Streatham Callum Best, Michal Oravec and Steven Fisher got a goal each.

There were a couple of scuffles as Streatham’s Russ Stevens and Niall Bound dropped the gloves, before Raiders Coach Jeremy Cornish joined them both for an early shower (not literally) as he was called third man in.

The two man officiating system then had to deal with a fight between Adam Mahoney and Corey Watkins as tempers continued to flair.

It was a shame for the stripeys as they had called a good game for most of the encounter, but obviously it is hard to break up fights and take notes of everything else at the same time. Overall they did well under the circumstances.

Sadler v Bartlett (Tim Bowers)

Sadler v Bartlett (Tim Bowers)

In Cardiff a young Devils side faced the might of the visiting Chelmsford Chieftains at the Big Blue tent.

Luke Brittle continued his superb start in a Chieftains jersey as he bagged a hat trick for his team and Player Coach Gary Clarke got himself a couple. There were lone goals for James Ayling, Tom Castle, Tibor Schneider, Ross Brears and Matt Turner as the visitors romped to a 10-4 win.

For Cardiff it was the teen angels of Callum Buglass with two goals and one each from Owen Griffiths and Adam Wood.

Devils David Sadler and Chieftains forward Grant Bartlett dropped the gloves to add to the match report.

Sunday Round-up

The big clash of the night took place in Kent as the Invicta Dynamos hosted the London Raiders in a clash that was always likely to be a close affair.

Elliott Knell, Arran Strawson and former Raider Anthony Leone scored a goal each to give the Mo’s a morale boosting 3-2 win over their rivals, with Billy Phillips and JJ Pitchley on target for the visitors.

Evacuate? You got skate guards?

Evacuate? You got skate guards? Billy Phillips

It was a bad tempered encounter with referee Blaine Evans and his team having to sort out a few fights at the end of the second period as tempers boiled over, with Andrius Kaminskas and Alan Lack tangling amongst others as the teams left the ice.

The amusing sidenote to this game was that everybody had to evacuate the building during the first period as the fire alarm went off.

No confirmed reason for the alert however rumours spread that it was set off by the afore-mentioned AJ Smith’s girlfriend Hayley Allard, in a last ditch attempt to stop him returning to the beautiful game. Some girls will do anything to keep their hockey playing boyfriends on the sofa watching X-Factor on a Sunday.

Solent & Gosport Devils fulfilled their promise of being a new look team this season as they shocked the Bracknell Hornets 6-2 in Gosport.

Despite their new signings it was the old guard that sealed a valuable two points for the South Coast club as Kris Abbott scored two and the other goals came from Will Francis, Shaun Rudkin, Kent Johnson and Kevin Tanner.

The Abbott Show (Photo by Paul Shergold)

The Abbott Show (Photo by Paul Shergold)

Abbott had given the home side the lead after only 41 seconds and skated off with the man of the match award to cap a decent evening for the former Oxford man. Peter Jasik got the two goals for Bracknell.

The night was soured by an injury picked up by referee Rene Ross who had to leave the game midway through (later confirmed as a broken wrist).

The final game of the evening took place in Chelmsford as a youthful looking Milton Keynes Thunder side took a 10-0 pasting from the Chieftains.

Thankfully for the Thunder this was yet another cup game, so they still have time to sort out their roster before the league action starts.

For Chelmsford it was a confidence boosting exercise, not least for new import Daniel Volrab who notched a hat trick, as did Matt Turner. Lone goals from John Connolly, Luke Brittle, James Ayling and Darren Brown took the Chieftains to double figures.

Aside from a host of under 18’s in their line up the Thunder also featured Haringey goalie Denis Bell in between the pipes and the teenager will surely benefit from this NIHL 1 experience.

Saturday 21st September 2013

Wightlink Raiders 12-3 Streatham Redskins

Cardiff NIHL Devils 4-10 Chelmsford Chieftains

Sunday 22nd September 2013

Invicta Dynamos 3-2 London Raiders

Solent & Gosport Devils 6-2 Bracknell Hornets

Chelmsford Chieftains 10-0 Milton Keynes Thunder (Cup)

Contact the author david.carr@prohockeynews.com

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