LONDON, UK – With the Elite league in the UK getting excited about picking up NHL players thanks to another lockout, the message from the third tier of British hockey was forget the NHL, follow the NIHL.
Solent & Gosport Devils received good news as it was revealed that their rink could possibly be in line for a refurbishment thanks to a joint partnership between the council and Planet Ice.
Ask any hockey player which rink they hate visiting most and the vast majority of southern based hockey players will probably say Gosport, a view probably shared by some of the Devils players themselves.
As we all know in British hockey though, a bad rink is better than no rink and it is good news for not only the Devils but also all the other teams that play out of the facility that improvements could be on the way.
“This is marvellous news. It completes the jigsaw of the Gosport Leisure park” said Tory Cllr Mark Hook in an interview with portsmouth.co.uk.
“I promised the people of Gosport we will provide them with the best we can and I’m pleased we have managed to make this happen in partnership with Planet Ice. It will be a great visitor experience now to come to Gosport Leisure Park when it’s completed”
The improvements are said to include a glass fronted café for fans to watch the hockey whilst downing slush puppies and eating cheesy chips, a new bar and front entrance too. All players will be hoping that the changing rooms get a bit of cash spent on them as well.
Whilst the news off the ice is promising for Solent & Gosport fans the news on the ice has not been so positive, with the team still without a win in the league so far.
“It’s always hard to lose a game that we should have won. It was a big blow” said Captain Kris Abbott after the game against Streatham the previous weekend.
“We had the most disastrous start but showed – as a team – our will to win as we never gave up. And without the head start we gave them, we would have had our first win. So we have to stay positive and keep our heads up”
“The confidence is high in the changing room and there is plenty of time left in the season. If we correct the mistakes, I’m sure we will be rewarded with the wins we deserve”
Romford’s bruising forward JJ McGrath earned that description in more ways than one this week as pictures of his reconstructed thumb were released, following the injury he sustained at the start of the season.
Those of you who read this column regularly (and by that I mean read and not skim through it looking at the pictures), will know that JJ suffered the gruesome injury whilst trying to get onto the ice at Chelmsford. The gate latch proved to be a worthy adversary and ripped open his skin.
Anyway JJ is still a few weeks from returning and for those who only look at the pictures when reading the NIHL South Round-up a picture has also been published with this article. For those of you who actually read all of the round-up I am grateful.
Back to Invicta and in what appears to be an annual event down in Gillingham, a player decided early on that a full season in Dynamos colours was not for him.
This time it was the feisty Brad Watchorn who advised the club that he would prefer to devote his time to his blossoming MMA fighting career. With the highly populated Dynamos squad still bedding in, it was perhaps not the worst news for either party.
“At this present moment in time, Brad is concentrating on his MMA career” explained Invicta Coach Kevin Parrish.
“But hopefully he will feature somewhere in the Dynamos team next year”
With pretty much four lines at his disposal, Parrish decided to replace Watchorn with former player Anthony Leone, who has been without a club since failing to re-sign with Romford Raiders this term.
A league winning Captain is not a bad pick up for the Mo’s and Leone brings enthusiasm and character to the table along with his on-ice talent.
“In his two years away Anthony has proven he still has more than enough to be a force at this level and his arrival could provide a timely boost” continued Parrish on the club website.
“He had his fair share of doubters when he made the switch to Essex but his points return and general all round play speaks volumes for his ability and now he is keen make his name once again here in Gillingham”
In fact in his last spell at Invicta, Leone was pretty much part of a checking line and his point’s production tripled after he moved to Romford. Invicta fans will be hoping he can continue that form.
The debate over who is the person or group behind the infamous Real NIHL Rumours Twitter account continued to grow as more and more dressing room secrets were revealed to the Twittersphere.
Streatham appear to be featuring more and more in recent days and all the guys in the camp are remaining po-faced when questioned as to whether they are the mole.
Personally I believe we have a few moles in the camp but can categorically state that I am not involved. Last but not least, this weeks bruise of the week comes courtesy of Romford defenseman Ryan Giles who not only has a delightful pair of red BHS pants on but also a cracker of a bruise thanks to a shot off the back of his leg.
Romford Raiders made the long trip to the Isle of Wight to take on the Wightlink Raiders in the South East Trophy. The battle of the Raiders this time went in favour of the island based side as Jeremy Cornish and his men shut out last season’s league champions with a 4-0 win.
Jiri Hanzal, Craig Tribe, Richard Facey and Cornish himself got the goals for Wightlink in a game that sparked into life thanks to Romford’s goalie Michael Gray getting involved in some of the rough stuff along with team mate Tom Davis and Wightlink’s Steve Gosset.
Gray took an early shower to the delight of the home fans and his opposite number Matt Colclough enjoyed a hard earned shut out.
Streatham Redskins made the trip to Invicta fully aware that our last couple of trips to Silverblades have seen us take a bit of a pasting, and the task was made harder by defenseman Tyrone Miller being injured for the full weekend. This time however was different as we played well throughout, with only a few lapses of concentration stopping us taking the points, including an epic fail/fall from yours truly that allowed the Dynamos their opening goal.
Invicta scorers were Anthony Leone on his debut, Andy Smith, Callum Best, Justin Noble and Peter Vaisanen. Streatham’s goals came from Jakub Klima with a hat trick of which two were shorthanded.
Streatham’s Jamie McIlroy and Phil Manny both dropped the gloves with Invicta pair Grant Baxter and Ant Lennon respectively to give the crowd something else to talk about.
Bracknell Hornets were made to work hard for a 2-0 win over Solent & Gosport Devils at the Hive. Ryan Webb and Harvey Stead both got on the score sheet for the Hornets in what was another case of so near yet so far for the Devils.
The last game of the evening took place in the big blue tent as Cardiff stunned last year’s Play-Off Champions Chelmsford Chieftains with a 3-0 win.
Louis Lockwood was the hero with two goals and Sean Scarborough getting the other. The loss is a real blow to Chelmsford who will now probably rely on Cardiff doing the same to Romford at some point in the league title race.
Streatham hosted Cardiff at Planet Ice Brixton hoping to bounce back from the previous night and appeared to have sealed the win with a 3-1 lead with only a minute to go.
Somehow we managed to give away two goals in the final sixty seconds as Cardiff pulled their goalie and made the extra man count.
A few weeks ago we got humped 12-3 by Cardiff so on paper a 3-3 tie seems like a good result but any hockey player will tell you that it is little consolation when you let a team grab a point in that fashion.
Joe Johnston rolled back the years with a jinking skate from his own blue line before scoring and both Dom Hopkins and Tomas Valko were on target for the Redskins.
The lively Sean Scarborough hit a brace for the Devils with Steven Fisher getting the late equaliser poking home a loose puck on the net.
Chelmsford made a recovery from their trip to Wales with an impressive 8-3 win over Invicta Dynamos at the Riverside in the South East Trophy.
Chelmsford scorers were James Ayling and Ross Brears with a brace each, Gary Clarke, Julius Sinkovic, Darren Brown and Tibor Schneider with one goal each. For Invicta Callum Fowler, Justin Noble and Adam Copland got on the score sheet.
Invicta’s night got worse as Tim Smith was ejected for butt ending.
Solent & Gosport continued to give themselves that frustrating feeling as they were narrowly edged out 3-2 at home to local rivals Wightlink Raiders. Despite taking a lead within 47 seconds thanks to former Raider Kev Tanner, the Devils conceded goals from Robbie Brown, Jiri Hanzal and Niall Bound to lose the game. Greg Wyatt got the other goal for the Devils.
Wightlink’s Nathan Taylor was taken to hospital with a rib injury so hopefully it is nothing too serious for the former Whitley Bay forward.
Romford eased past MK Thunder with a convincing 8-1 win at Rom Valley Way. Thunder are still missing the solid influence of player coach Simon Howard at the back and Romford took full advantage.
Frankie Harvey and AJ Smith scored two goals each with further goals coming from Danny Marshall, Juraj Huska, Andrius Kaminskas and Matt Turner. Milton Keynes goal came from Mark Turner.
The final game of Sunday took place at Oxpens Road where the Oxford City Stars took on the Bracknell Hornets in a South East Trophy game.
With Oxford now competing in NIHL 2, it was always going to be a tough ask for them playing the Hornets however the Stars actually took the lead at one point thanks to a goal from Joe Edwards.
Oxford’s other goals came from former Streatham forward Dax Hedges who got a brace, but sadly for the home fans, a hat trick from Danny Hughes and a brace from Tony Barclay and a lone goal from Ben Paynter gave the Hornets a 6-3 win.
So another week passes and what have we learnt? Cardiff are seemingly unbeatable at home, Solent & Gosport can’t buy a win and Wightlink sit top of the league.
Saturday 13th October 2012
Invicta Dynamos 5-3 Streatham Redskins
Wightlink Raiders 4-0 Romford Raiders (South East Trophy)
Cardiff Devils NL 3-0 Chelmsford Chieftains
Bracknell Hornets 2-0 Solent & Gosport Devils
Sunday 14th October 2012
Streatham Redskins 3-3 Cardiff Devils NL
Oxford City Stars 3-6 Bracknell Hornets (South East Trophy)
Romford Raiders 8-1 Milton Keynes Thunder
Chelmsford Chieftains 8-3 Invicta Dynamos (South East Trophy)
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