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Monday, 30 December 2013

Ice Hockey: NIHL North Round Up - Weekend Of 28th & 29th December 2013

Blackburn Hawks picked up two wins from two games over the weekend – starting off with an 8-4 win away at Manchester Minotaurs in the Moralee Conference (North 1) on Saturday (see photo) and then coming back from 3-0 down at home to Solway Sharks on Sunday to snatch a dramatic 6-3 win the Northern Cup.

Sharks - on the other hand - had a disastrous weekend all round as, 24 hours earlier, they also lost 3-2 away to 6th placed Sheffield Spartans in the league. To be fair to last season’s champions it was their first match in almost a month so there may have been a few cobwebs but they will have to be on top form next Saturday when 2nd placed Billingham Stars travel to Dumfries for a top of the table clash.  There are just 2 points between the two teams at the top of the Conference, although Stars have played one game more.

In the other game of the weekend, Spartans slumped to 7-2 defat away at Sutton Sting on Sunday night.  That win sees the Sting firm up their hold on 3rd place and was their 7th straight league win in a row.  With two matches against both Billingham and Solway still to come, they could yet cause a title upset this season.

In the Laidler Conference (North 2) Solihull Barons moved 5 points clear of long term league leaders Deeside Dragons at the top of the table after an 8-2 win away at Sheffield Senators.  This represents a huge turnaround at the top of this division as Barons themselves were tailing the Dragons  by 5 clear points not very long ago. Deeside, however, do have two games in hand – and they play Solihull once more – away on 30th March.

Three points behind Deeside in third place are Coventry Blaze who picked up a 5-5 draw away at constantly improving Hull Jets (formerly Stingrays…). That point moves them ahead of last season’s champions Nottingham Lions who also have 20 points but have played one game less.
Photo by John Milton