BRAEHEAD, UK – Waiting in the wings to climb up the Elite League table before the first puck dropped last weekend, the Braehead Clan would need to win both of their games against Fife to leap above the Dundee Stars and hope their fellow Scottish club dropped points.
Saturday brought the crowd flocking to the Braehead arena hoping to see Ryan Finnerty and his side produce a performance to both add pressure on the Stars and also send a message to a Flyers team they will be facing again less than 24-hours later.
Close to two and a half thousand where on hand and got just what they wanted thanks to goals from Lee Esders, Ed McGrane, Neil Trimm, Shane Lust, Tristan Harper and a brace from Joe Cullen giving the home side a comfortable 7-4 win.
Than the wacky races where on as both sides headed for the Fife arena for the return game the following night.
Completing the weekend double would see the Clan climb the table into second, that situation came about thanks to Dundee’s failure to secure a win away at Sheffield on Saturday. Jeff Legue was on hand for a double as the Steelers recorded a 4-1 win and open up yet another weekend with fans hoping, finally, they could make it two wins from two for only the second time this season.
That, in the end, wouldn’t happen but more on Sheffield later.
Back in Fife the Clan knew a win would elevate them to the lead role of the chasing pack behind Belfast and a win is just what they got.
In a game that turned into an old fashioned ‘old time hockey’ game, with 79-penalty minutes called, it was Braehead who found the net in all three periods, completing a 4-0 win and helping goaltender Kyle Jones to a 24-save shutout.
What about the table topping Giants, well they had a hand in history on Saturday night as they made the journey to the Sky Dome to take on the Coventry Blaze in the Elite Leagues first ever live game in front of the TV cameras from the pay-tv channel Premier Sports.
It would be Belfast who would win in a keenly contested game in front of a bumper crowd showing that live TV may not have a negative effect on ticket sales in the league. The visitors bagged two goals in the opening period and never really looked back, despite a nervous end, holding on for a 3-2 game, a result that would be mirrored the next night, although during an even more nail-biting conclusion. Sunday would require penalty shots to decide the game with Craig Peacock netting the winning shot to give the Giants yet another weekend double and cement their place at the top of the Elite League.
So, did the Steelers get that elusive weekend maximum?
The simple answer is no, despite the strong showing at home to Dundee they couldn’t carry that form with them on the bus as they fell to a 3-1 defeat in the Welsh Capital, Stefan Meyer scored their only goal of the game as Cardiff put some of their off the ice issues behind them to net two in the final period.
That completed a four point weekend for the Devils, adding to their 4-1 triumph of 24-hours earlier when they paid the toll to head over the Humber Bridge and defeat the Hull Stingrays.
Meanwhile in the final game of the weekend Hull were put to the sword by the ever improving and impressive Edinburgh Capitals. The previous day the Scottish Rugby Union side suffered at the hands of Australia, that fate wouldn’t befall the Caps as fans crossed the road from the Rugby ground to the ice rink and cheer on their side to a 5-3 win, thanks to four goals in the middle period.
So four points from four for Braehead have them leading the pack behind the all-conquering Belfast Giants, however with Nottingham due back from their European adventure next weekend another, more storied name, re-enters the fray with their sights set firmly on the team across the Irish Sea.