LONDON, UK – Chelmsford showed their superiority, Wightlink gain sweet revenge over the Dynamos and Streatham have weekendus horribilus.
London Raiders finally confirmed the signing of Jakub Klima during the week, as the Czech joined his fourth NIHL club in two and a half seasons.
Following spells at Chelmsford, Streatham and Invicta, the likeable Czech now has a jersey collection the envy of anyone in the league and should be a good fit for a Raiders side lacking scoring and finesse up front.
The recently absent Lithuanian utility player Andrius ‘Bomber’ Kaminskas predictably made way for the newly arrived import, thus ending a long association with the boys in blue and gold.
Bombers undoubted skill and passion added to an occasional psychotic edge on the ice when the red mist descended made him a popular figure amongst the Raiders faithful and the tributes were glowing.
“As a coach and team member I have lost a great player who I know turned up every shift to give 100%” said Raiders Coach Danny Marshall.
“Bomber’s mind set has always been ‘what’s the point in being here if you are not going to be the best you can be’ and I respect him for that and believe he achieved this every game, and he can hang his skates up with integrity knowing that he put his heart and soul into the sport he loves, and I am proud to say that I have played with him”
The Lithuanian International retires after a long career in the British game that started with Romford in the EPL in 2004.
Wightlink Coach Jeremy Cornish looked back on a four point weekend in which his side beat both Streatham and Chelmsford on the Island in impressive back to back performances.
“We have had a number of players step up over the course of the last couple weeks and it’s nice to see players like Corey Watkins and Kieran Annis playing well” said Cornish in his regular Coaches Corner piece on the Wightlink website.
“We have been playing three line hockey like we always do for the most part and we now have three lines chipping in with goals and contributing all over the ice”
“As a coach I know it’s vital to have three lines playing well in order to stay in contention around the top of the league. I am really hoping this weekend shows what our team is capable of, when we work hard good things happen and it showed”
In Kent, Invicta Dynamos reflected on the ending of their unbeaten streak in Cardiff with the squad depth a question mark over their title ambitions.
“We’ve had a couple of players in for training and I need to speak to a player’s coach to sort out a two-way contract with his EPL club, so hopefully I will have another one in by the weekend” said Kevin Parrish in an interview with Kent Sports News.
“We did have another player train, who was probably good enough but probably needs a bit more experience”
Invicta had of course handed a debut to new Slovak sniper Marek Nahlik last weekend and Parrish will be hoping that his new import turns out to be a hit at Silverblades.
The opening of MK ICE may have been delayed last weekend; however optimism was still abound that the facility will be in action soon. The temporary rink is also set to host training sessions for the English Premier League side MK Lightning, along with league and cup fixtures for the NIHL side MK Thunder.
“That will really help the guys” said Lightning Coach Nick Poole, on the allocated training slot.
“Next week we’re really looking forward to a good session to get some time on the ice”
“We’ll be able to shoot some pucks and it’ll be good practice for the keepers as well so we’re really looking forward to training on there”
There were celebrations in Oxford as the Oxford City Stars were named Oxfordshire Sports Team of the Year 2013. This topped off a great week that saw the Stars turn on the Westway Shopping Centre Christmas lights the day before.
Streatham’s opening night in their new arena was heralded as a big success, after a massive turnout and subsequent media coverage cemented the team’s return to SW16.
“I never thought I’d see the like in Streatham and the roar from the crowd as we were announced on to the ice is something that I’ve been smiling about all week” said Captain Joe Johnston.
“This team is on the up and with support like that we really can go places. Thank you to everyone who made it what it was and was part of a historic moment for our wonderful club”
“The new rink is still a talking point and will take time for us to get used to. It’s new to us still and we need to make it home”
In other news in South London, new signing Steven Fisher met a TOWIE celebrity on a night out in Beckenham.
The end of the week also coincided with the end of Movember. Pro Hockey News would like to congratulate all the NIHL players who made a big charitable effort this year by growing a tash to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
Lastly thanks to everyone for entering the Pro Hockey News ‘name the NIHL elves’ competition. The winner of a limited edition Streatham Redskins bobble hat was Charlotte Jenkins of Reading, and it should be in the post to you this week.
For those that missed Disco Douglas, Billy Phillips, Danny Hammond and the gang, here is the link again CLICK
Wightlink Raiders continued their excellent form as they beat Invicta 6-3 in an entertaining clash at the cube. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Mo’s beat Wightlink quite comfortably in back to back games so for the Island side to win was quite a turnaround.
Young blueliner Simon Hobbis top scored for Wightlink with two goals to add to efforts from Kieran Annis, Richard Nembhard, Alex Barker and Steven Osman. Invicta scorers were Anthony Leone with a brace and Callum Fowler with a lone goal.
Streatham were hammered by Chelmsford on home ice 10-1 to the disappointment of the Redskins growing fanbase.
Matt Turner made his return to the fold in style and fitted in straight on the top line alongside the equally talented Luke Brittle to give Streatham the pleasure of facing the strongest road line up the Chieftains have put out so far this season.
Turner celebrated his comeback with two goals and Daniel Volrab also grabbed a brace. Chieftains other goals came from James Ayling, Darren Brown, Ross Brears, Gary Clarke, Tibor Schneider and John Connolly. Streatham’s goal came from Evander Grinnell.
London Raiders hosted Solent & Gosport Devils at Lee Valley Grotto in front of a larger than usual crowd swelled by a Groupon promotion.
The home side grabbed the points with a 4-2 win thanks to goals from Jakub Klima, Frankie Harvey, Danny Marshall (reportedly his 600th for the club) and Shaun Yardley. Solent scorers were Kris Abbott and George Norcliffe.
Adam Rich and Billy Phillips dropped the gloves to give the Groupon newcomers an extra talking point. The Solent and Gosport enforcer was then pictured the following day with a Christmas tree and Pro Hockey News are yet to check if Lee Valley still have theirs, or whether Rich claimed a student style victory over the London venue.
Cardiff pulled off a solid road win with a 4-3 victory over Bracknell at the Hive. Mark Cuddihy’s men grabbed two valuable points thanks to goals from Giovanni Raffaeli, Gareth Dixon, Jordan Powell and Adam Wood.
Bracknell’s Danny Hughes hit a brace for the Hornets and Jordan Gregory got the other goal.
Hughes was handed an early shower by referee Blaine Evans on a game misconduct slashing call towards the end of the third period.
Streatham’s weekend went from bad to worse as they lost 7-2 in Kent, after giving up yet another first period 4-0 to give themselves little chance from an early stage.
In a cup match that takes the Mo’s above Chelmsford in the group, the home side hit their stride and scored courtesy of a hat trick from Andy Smith, two goals from Callum Fowler and one each for Elliott Knell and Ryan Giles.
Streatham’s goals came from Joe Allen and Steven Fisher, and the visitors also had Stefan Nubert and Stewart Tait both leave the game early through injury.
Solent & Gosport faced London for the second time in as many days as the two sides met at Planet Ice Gosport.
In yet another close game, the Raiders edged out the Devils 3-2 thanks to goals from Dan Peters, JJ Pitchley and Frankie Harvey. For Solent Steve Gosset and Alex Murray were on target but despite a valiant comeback from 3-0 down, the Devils just couldn’t get that last goal.
The top two in the league met at the Riverside with Chelmsford making no mistake against Wightlink with a 5-2 win. Matt Turner yet again proved what an asset he will be to the Essex side with two goals and Player Coach Gary Clarke weighing in with a hat trick.
Wightlink scorers were Kieran Annis and Alex Barker, and the result now means Chelmsford move four points clear at the top of the league.
Even better news for the home fans was the return of Michael Ranby to the fold, however the big man is still in the early stages of his recovery.
The final game of the night took place in Cardiff where a short benched MK Thunder team went down 6-2.
Cardiff goals came from Louis Lockwood, Jordan Powell, Jack Randall, Jamie Hayes, Trent Hope and Josh Haslam. Milton Keynes scorers were Sam Cheema and Bradley Moore.
In form Adam Wood showed a different side to his game as he was ejected by referee Stephen Matthews at the final buzzer for abuse of official.
Saturday 30th November 2013
Wightlink Raiders 6-3 Invicta Dynamos
Bracknell Hornets 3-4 Cardiff NIHL Devils
Streatham Redskins 1-10 Chelmsford Chieftains
London Raiders 4-2 Solent & Gosport Devils
Sunday 1st December 2013
Invicta Dynamos 7-2 Streatham Redskins (Cup)
Chelmsford Chieftains 5-2 Wightlink Raiders
Cardiff Devils 6-2 MK Thunder
Solent & Gosport Devils 2-3 London Raiders
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