Storm fightback to take shootout win

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Manchester Storm  4 – 3  Dundee Stars (After Shootout)

Manchester showed their battling qualities on Saturday night as the Storm came back from three goals down to beat the visiting Dundee Stars 4-3 in a shootout on what was the clubs special ‘Pink the Rink’ night at the Altrincham Ice Rink. The game also coincided with the return of three former Storm players coming back to the ‘Storm Shelter’ with the Stars, in Adam Harding, Taylor Dickin and the new head coach of the Dundee side in Omar Pacha.

Fans in attendance wore Pink colours for the now traditional ‘Pink the Rink’ game that the Storm has hosted every season in support of the brilliant Cancer charity Christie, so whether it was Pink Jerseys, wigs, scarfs, skirts or tights, it was a fun evening for all at the game. However, on the ice, it was a very different story indeed if you were a Manchester fan as the side from the ‘City of Discovery‘ took the lead at 7.45 through an Adam Harding goal that saw the former Storm man finishing off an attack from a poor defensive error from the hosts to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

Soon after, it was 2-0, and that saw another ex Manchester player coming back to haunt the Storm through Taylor Dickin, as he netted at 15.26 to give the visitors a comfortable lead. The home side was struggling to engineer anything in the way of attacking play in the first, as they hardly threatened Travis Fullerton in the Stars goals and saw Dundee as the only team in the game for the first twenty minutes.

Soon after, it was 2-0, and that saw another ex Manchester player coming back to haunt the Storm through Taylor Dickin, as he netted at 15.26 to give the visitors a comfortable lead. The home side was struggling to engineer anything in the way of attacking play in the first, as they hardly threatened Travis Fullerton in the Stars goals and saw Dundee as the only team in the game for the first twenty minutes.

Marc-Olivier Mimar then made it 3-0 for the visitors towards the back end of the first, and had the Scottish side playing some good hockey and had Omar Pacha enjoying his first return back to Altrincham, as his side led with a deserved scoreline. The home side needed to find something that would get them back in the game and Manchester got a spark for a scrum at the front of their own net, as the two sides began to scrap and saw Marc Olivier Mimar and Shane Bakker tangling first before Linden Springer and Jimmy Jensen then started throwing and both got some good shots in each too.

Dundee then had Gabriel Levesque heading to the penalty box for an Interference call against him, and that gave the Storm a power play chance that they needed to make cash in on, and they did just that. The hosts opened their account through a Scott Pitt power play goal, as his shot beat Fullerton in the Stars goal to make it 1-3 and give Ryan Finnerty’s side a way back at 25.09.

Dundee then had Gabriel Levesque heading to the penalty box for an Interference call against him, and that gave the Storm a power play chance that they needed to make cash in on, and they did just that. The hosts opened their account through a Scott Pitt power play goal, as his shot beat Fullerton in the Stars goal to make it 1-3 and give Ryan Finnerty’s side a way back at 25.09.

Manchester improved their performance in the second period after Pitt’s goal went in and saw Luke Moffatt making it 3-2 with his fifth goal in two games and see the line of his with Dane Byers and Gerard Hanson sparking into life again and see the game trailing by one at 35.01. The game was far more of a contest now and had both teams looking creative in attack and see the game heading into the third period with the Stars taking a one-goal advantage. The Third saw a bit of a scrappy period and not so much in the way of clear-cut chances, as Dundee were looking to try and close the game out, meanwhile, the Storm were desperately trying to find the tying goal.

Manchester huffed and puffed, but was unable to find any way past Travis Fullerton and had the Stars looking like they were going hold out. With the Storm chasing an equaliser late on, it saw their task made even harder when Dane Byers was called for a trip at 57.47, and that looked to kill the hopes off of the home side. 

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The Third saw a bit of a scrappy period and not so much in the way of clear-cut chances, as Dundee were looking to try and close the game out, meanwhile, the Storm were desperately trying to find the tying goal. Manchester huffed and puffed, but was unable to find any way past Travis Fullerton and had the Stars looking like they were going hold out. With the Storm chasing an equaliser late on, it saw their task made even harder when Dane Byers was called for a trip at 57.47, and that looked to kill the hopes off of the home side. 

Dundee seemed to have everything in their favour as the game ticked inside the final three minutes of play, as they had the lead and the numerical advantage to boot with a 5-on-4 power play. As it was though, Manchester knew they would have one more chance in the game and when the chance came it was converted on by Mike Hammond as he buried his shot into the back of the net to make it 3-3 short-handed. Celebrations were slightly muted for the home side as they were still trying to kill of Byers penalty for another 1.41.

The home side then got a bit of an unexpected boost, when Luke Moffatt was hit into the boards by a Dundee player and saw the stick smashing the plexiglass and ended up showering Moffatt and led to him pick the glass out of his kit while sat on the team bench, as the rink staff swept up the glass on the ice and behind the boards. 

The home side then got a bit of an unexpected boost, when Luke Moffatt was hit into the boards by a Dundee player and saw the stick smashing the plexiglass and ended up showering Moffatt and led to him pick the glass out of his kit while sat on the team bench, as the rink staff swept up the glass on the ice and behind the boards. 

When play did restart, it saw the home side killing off the penalty and have the game heading into an overtime period. Manchester Head Coach Ryan Finnerty was left fuming on the Storm bench when the referee penalised Scott Pitt for a High Sticks call with just a minute gone in the overtime period, yet the hosts were able to kill it off. With the sides unable to score in the extra period of play, it needed a shootout to determine where the extra point would go to.

Dundee’s Riley Stadel took the first penalty for the Stars and saw him lifting it high over the bar, while Ciaran Long showed some quick hands to beat Travis Fullerton for a 1-0 lead to the Storm and put the home side in front. Patrick Lee was then stopped by Mike Clemente and that gave Matt Beca the chance to seal the game for the home side, but Beca was unable to get a shot off and see Marc-Olivier Mimar forced into scoring or it was over. Mimar saw his penalty stopped by Clemente and saw Manchester taking the extra point and help to extend their lead at the top of the Elite League standings with the win. 


 

 

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Storm hit MK for Six and gain revenge

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Manchester Storm  6 – 0  Milton Keynes Lightning

The Manchester Storm responded emphatically after they threw away a two-goal lead against the Lightning the night before, as they set the record straight and put six unanswered goals past Milton Keynes to gain a measure of revenge for the Storm and have forward Luke Moffatt netting four of the goals and also see Mike Clemente recording his first shutout of the season in the 6-0 win.

With the comments of the Storm Head Coach Ryan Finnerty still ringing in the ears from the previous night, it saw the home side taking a couple of minutes to assert themselves in the contest and have Miika Wiikman being called upon early on from the Storm shooters. Manchester took the lead with 5.10 gone in the first period, when Guillaume Doucet was unable to control the puck at centre ice and have Dane Byers quickly taking it off the stick of the MK man and feeding a pass to teammate Gerard Hanson, whose pass-come-shot caught out the netminder to see the hosts move into an early lead. Manchester had a couple of power-play opportunities going their way in the opening twenty minutes, but they were unable to make anything of them count.

Luke Moffatt then put the home side 2-0 up at 15.29, when an awful attempt to clear the zone by Matt Nickerson saw his clearance going only as far as the Storm man stood on the blue line and he fired the puck past Miika Wiikman to double their tally. Play in the second was completely dominated by the home side, with the Storm netting four goals over a six-minute spell in the period. Manchester moved three-nil up at 23.38 when Luke Moffatt netted his second goal of the game with a nice little toe drag and have his low shot beating Wiikman to see the home side in full control. Less than two minutes later, it saw the scoreboard reading four-nil to the hosts after Matt Beca put a back-handed effort on goal and had it trickling in past the despairing Wiikman in the Milton Keynes goal, as the Swede was having a shocker and saw him letting the puck go in off the top of his glove and end up in the back of the net. It was a very soft goal to concede and effectively ended any hopes that the visiting side harboured of coming back into. The goal also saw Scott Pitt registering his first point for his new club and see the former Braehead trio of Pitt, Mike Hammond and finally Matt Beca all clicking together again, much like they did for the Clan last year, as they combined for the fourth.

Twenty-seven seconds later and it was 5-0 Storm, as Luke Moffatt completed his hat trick goal at 25.37 to see the forward from Paradise Valley, Arizona quickly firing on goal and seeing the puck ending up in the back net and was proved to be a night to forget for Wiikman, as that proved to be the last action of the night for the Swedish netminder as he made way for back up goalie Przemyslaw Odrobny, as he took his place between the pipes. Three goals were clearly not enough for Luke Moffatt, as having scoring his hat-trick goal he seemed to have the Midas touch in the game and netted himself a fourth of the contest, as he finished off another chance created by Dane Byers and Gerard Hanson to see the Storm hitting the Lightning for six and extracting revenge for their loss against their same opposition the night before. 

A quiet third period saw the game being played out with not much in the way of action, as with the game over as a contest, it had both teams playing out the third stanza and see the home side opening up a three-point cushion at the top of the Elite League standings to date. Next up for Manchester is the special ‘Pink the Rink’ game for the Christies Cancer charity, as four-goal hero Luke Moffatt will be dying his hair pink for the game and will have the home side wearing special Pink Jerseys for their clash against the Dundee Stars and a side that will include their former coach, Omar Pacha, after the Quebec native moved north of the border in the off-season.

Lightning strike back to shock league leaders

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Milton Keynes Lightning 3 – 2 Manchester Storm

A second-period collapse by the Manchester Storm saw Ryan Finnerty’s men throwing away two league point at Milton Keynes on Saturday evening after the Storm relinquished a 2-0 lead early in the second, and that saw the lead disappear in an action-packed middle stanza to lose out 3-2 to the Lightning after a late strike by Denny Kearney was enough to give Milton Keynes Lightning victory in their Patton Conference match-up. Manchester saw their new signing in former Braehead Clan man Scott Pitt icing in his first game for his new club in the clash, as he made his return to British Ice Hockey having played just seven games over in Slovakia this season.

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From the opening puck drop, it saw the short-benched home side battening down the hatches from a Storm side that seemingly had full control of the opening period and was just unable to find the finishing touch to their play. The home side then began to put some rubber on Mike Clemente in the Storm net but it didn’t come with any threat in the first period. Manchester will have gone into the break wondering how on earth they weren’t ahead in the game after the first twenty minutes of play, as they bossed the contest and had their aiming being the problem, much to the relief of the home side. In the second period, it saw Ryan Finnertys’ men finally getting on the board through a Shane Bakker strike at 22.26 that put the Storm 1-0 up and it felt like the visiting side were getting into gear now it seemed.

Minutes later it was 2-0 when Matt Beca put home at 27.31, it felt like the short-benched Lightning would now be playing a damaged limitation game with the Storm all over the home side for the first half hour of the game and that was until things then started to unravel At 29.50. It saw Manchester captain Jay Rosehill tangling with MK’s Matt Nickerson and saw the Storm man throwing some big quick punches at his taller combatant, but had Nickerson in some ways summing up his side as he refused to buckle and grabbed Rosehill before hugging him to the ice. For the minutes that followed though, it saw the home side taking heart from watching their player taking lumps but not knowing when he was defeated and that began to see the home side getting more physical and had the Storm coach not happy with the display of his side and called a timeout.

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However, following the timeout it saw a clear shift in momentum in the game for the home side as they began to take it to their opponents and had Manchester on their heels. Sadly though for the Storm, at 34.35 Quin Pompi and Jonathan Boxill combined to have Boxill playing pass out wide to Lewis Hook who was wide open on the wing and that gave him plenty of time to rifle home a lovely shot over the shoulder of Mike Clemente for a 1-2 game and get the home side back in the contest. Manchester was now being opened up easily by their hosts and Kevin King almost making it 2-2, when the forwards got a fortunate bounce going his way and saw him skating up ice and going one-on-one against Clemente but the Milton Keynes man unable to find the net. 

In the Third period, it saw the game being played out a bit like an overtime period, with neither side going all out and felt like the go-ahead goal would be the killer for either side that scored it. Milton Keynes had Manchester on the back foot for the majority of the third, while the Storm seemed to have run out of ideas and looked far from the team that was in control of the opening period and part of the second. Mistakes were creeping more and more into the visitors game as the game went on, as the Storm needed Mike Clemente to make some vital stops to keep Manchester level as the period headed inside the final five minutes of the game. The Lightning forced another defensive mistake out of Manchester, and it turned out to be the key moment of the match. With Storm’s defences looking shaky, it saw a puck dumped behind the visitors back line and saw Dallas Ehrhardt forced to cover for his missing teammate who caught far too forwards but the Lightning forward was quicker and saw the result having Denny Kearney receiving a pass and netting the winning goal at 56.36.

Manchester pulled the goalie with a minute and a half to go in the game in search of an equaliser, but they weren’t able to find a way through and so the home side inflicting a loss on the league leaders. The ‘Home and Home’ series concludes on Sunday night back in Altrincham, with the Storm certainly looking for some revenge after this defeat.


 

Storm rally in third to slay the Giants

 PrimaryStorm2015Logo-1   Manchester Storm 2 – 1 Belfast Giantsbelfastgiantslogo

Manchester Storm moved back to the top of the Elite League table after the home side scored twice in less than three minutes thanks to goals by Paul Swindlehurst and Jay Rosehill, as the Storm rallied to beat the Belfast Giants 2-1 at the Altrincham Ice Rink on Sunday night.

Belfast started the game well and really should have been one up early doors when a wide-open goal was gaping and saw a Giants player somehow managing to miss the target and put his shot between the far post and the stranded Mike Clemente who was down on the ice. Clemente was by far the busier netminder of the two in the first period of play and saw the Giants looking comfortable against a home side that seemed to struggle to maintain puck possession and create anything by way of attack. The game had been delayed by half an hour due to a problem with the Ice plant at the rink, but it saw the visitors getting to grips far more with conditions than the home and saw the ice improving as the game went on and running repairs were made. 

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Belfast players celebrate the opening goal – Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss of All Sports Photography

The Storm lost forward Chris Auger for the rest of the game after Auger took a somewhat awkward tumble towards the boards and had to leave with what looked like a shoulder injury. Things got worse for the home side moments later when the visitors took the lead at 3.52 through a Jonathan Ferland goal yet a minute before saw Matt Beca almost netting at the opposite end with a wraparound but saw play going up the other way and leading to the Giants taking the early lead. Belfast had chances to extend their lead, but their efforts were thwarted by a determined Mike Clemente in the Storm goals and saw him keeping the Teal wearing shooters honest. 

Manchester had a couple of power play’s going their way, but they were unable to set up with the extra man advantage and saw both come power plays coming to nothing. At the start of the second, it saw the hosts having to kill off an early double minor penalty in which they did a good job of doing and began to see the Storm making a comeback into the contest and saw Shane Bakker going close for the home side but for a pad save by Jackson Whistle in the Belfast nets. Beca almost put the puck home from a quick tip at the front of the nets, but his shot just went the wrong side of the post and saw Manchester being able to create a few more chances in the game. 

Jay Rosehill then sat for two-minutes as he got called for a kneeing penalty and during the penalty kill saw Ciaran Long nearly scoring shorthanded, but he could only elevate the puck high over the bar and into the netting above the plexiglass. Dallas Ehrhardt then got a late call for Interference on him, after the defenceman gave a nudge to the Belfast man in the back and saw a theatrical fall which led to official Tom Pering making a delayed upon the Storm man. Manchester once more defended the penalty kill well and saw Clemente taking a shot to the mask and saw his helmet flying off in the process too and getting the whistle and taking time to shake loose the cobwebs in the head from the shot.

The game was certainly getting a bit more physical for sure and saw both sides handing out some digs off the play to each other and saw Shane Bakker taking a two-minute call for Boarding late in the period. Matt Beca then found himself with a great opportunity to draw the home side level minutes later, but after getting behind the Giants defence he was unable to beat Whistle in net and saw the Giants goalie making another vital stop for his team. After the period ended, it saw Linden Springer and a Belfast man getting into a heated argument and led to the Storm man grabbing the Giants players stick and throwing it away and you sensed that tensions were simmering from both sides as we entered the third period. 

With the puck dropped for the final period, it saw the home side creating far more chances than that of their opponents and saw the Storm shooters failing to hit the target yet saw long spells of pressure building up in the Giants zone but with no reward. Manchester was the better side in the period but just couldn’t may any inroads at all in trying to score past the Belfast defence, to which stood firm all game. Then came the turning point in the game at 49.28, when Jonathan Ferland and Mike Hammond clashed near the boards and seemed to see a stray elbow going towards the head of Hammond and see the Storm man staying down after the contact and attracted attention from Hammond’s teammates who made a bee-line for Ferland who tried to get away from the home players, but wasn’t able to avoid a short-jab by Linden Springer that saw the Belfast man down to the ice.

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Teams bonding – Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Both teams pushed and shoved after the incident for a minute or two, as Hammond was getting some attention from the medical staff and made his way back to the bench. The end result saw Dane Byers, Dallas Ehrhardt and Linden Springer all picking up two minutes each for roughing along with Belfast’s Spiro Goulakos and Jonathan Ferland receiving the same for roughing, but had Ferland getting a 2+10 penalty for a checking to the head added on top. That incident seemed to light a fire under the Storm players and saw a more clinical side coming out to play as the game moved on. The home side drew level after a poor turnover by Brendan Connolly saw him playing a pass behind his own goal to which Mike Hammond collected and played a perfect pass out for the hard incoming Paul Swindlehurst to fire past Whistle on the one-timer and see the home side back on level terms at 49.53. The Storm was clearly energised by that goal going in and saw a pumped up Mike Hammond really enjoying that goal.

After that tying goal, it saw Belfast simply falling apart and having big lapses in concentration throughout the side, as prior to conceding the second goal there saw three Giants players all stood puck watching together and allowed to be pick-pocketed by a Manchester player but the chance came to nothing. Seconds later it was 2-1 for the Storm, after Linden Springer played a cross-ice pass out to Ciaran Long who got a touch fortunate with the pass just getting a piece of his stick ahead of the Giants man and had a favourable bounce off the boards and played a pass across to Jay Rosehill skating in support on a 2 on 1 and the captain put it high past the keeper for a lead and spark an exploded of noise from the home fans.

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Paul Swindlehurst shows his delight netting the tying goal – Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Dane Byers then really should have put the game to bed in the final minute of play, as with the Giants pulling their goalie for the extra attacker, it saw the net empty and Byers managed to pull his shot wide and give the visitors one last hope of late in the game. You could feel the game was played with far more an edge after coming about from the Ferland/Hammond incident and saw both sides refusing to budge as the late stages of the game approached. With less than fifteen seconds left to play, it saw Dallas Ehrhardt getting his stick broke from a face-off and had the players pushing before the puck had even been dropped yet. Once play restarted, it saw Shane Bakker then taking a late cross-checking call with eight-seconds on the clock and put the home side on a short penalty kill and doing enough to kill the game off and register a big win over one of the top teams in the league.

The visitors will look back and see the third as where they lost it having played well for two periods of play, but the Storm despite playing poorly in the first and then better in the second, will no doubt have been buoyed by a surge mid through the third that saw them taking the game away from the Giants and see them knowing that on their day they can beat anyone. Ryan Finnerty and his men now prepare for a home and home against Milton Keynes Lightning with the road game on Saturday and the home match on the Sunday at the Altrincham Ice Rink.


Match Stats

Shots on Target:  Manchester 19  Belfast 29  

Penalty Minutes:  Storm 28  Giants 36

Powerplay:  MAN 0-5   BEL 0-5

Period Scores:    0-1 / 0-0 / 2-0

Netminders: 

MAN: Mike Clemente (28 saves/29)  96.6% 

BEL: Jackson Whistle (17 saves/19) 89.5% 

 

 

Five-Star City see off Arsenal in thriller

manchester_city_2016  Manchester City Women  5 – 2  Arsenal Women Arsenal-FC-icon

Three second-half goals in the space of ten minutes saw Manchester City Women prevail in their Women’s Super League clash with Arsenal Women at the Academy Stadium after the league champions beat their title rivals 5-2 to maintain their 100% start to the season in the lunchtime kick-off. Both sides started with a win in their respective openers last weekend and saw this being a big game already, between two of the biggest sides in English Women’s Football of the modern era.

City started off the brighter of the two teams, with Nikita Parris going close with a curling effort inside ninety-seconds of the game but the England International saw Sarah van Veenendaal making the save for the visitors. The WSL champions have lost a couple of their big names players to some of Europe’s big names in recent months after Toni Duggan and more recently Lucy Bronze left for pastures new to Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais, despite the losses to the side, they still looked just as attacking and a constant menace to their opposition as they have done to side for the last few seasons. Arsenal’s first meaningful effort shot on goal, saw Heather O’Reilly dragging her shot wide of Ellie Roebucks’ goal in the 12th minute of play and sent a warning to the home side.    

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Jane Ross gives City the lead against Arsenal – Pic ManCity.com

 

The visitors played with only ten players on the field at one point, as for a spell of at least five-minutes it saw the Gunners Lisa Evans taking a raised boot to the face off Nikita Parris and led to the Arsenal player getting treatment on touchline. One of the new signings this summer for Nick Cushing’s side is Scottish International Claire Emslie and after her impressive debut in City’s 4-0 win over Yeovil last week, it saw the new girl trying her luck from long range and have van Veenendaal making an easy save. Parris had another chance for the hosts midway through the first half when the visitors got caught out in defence by Jill Scott, and her ball was played into the path of the striker and was forced to shoot wide. Star of this summer’s European Championships for England in Jodie Taylor saw the striker almost breaking the deadlock minutes later in the game when the Gunners striker lobbed the ball over Ellie Roebuck and thankfully for City, the ball missed the target. 

Jane Ross scored the opening goal of the game in the 39th minute, as a great cross into the box by Abbie McManus saw the Scotland International turning the ball home at the near post to give City the lead and a deserved one for that. Arsenal kept coming at the home side and saw them not really troubling the City defence in truth, but when they did finally get behind the Blues defence it saw O’Reilly handling the ball in the area and picking up a yellow card.

As the half was winding down it looked like the teams would go into the break all square after a header from a Jordan Nobbs corner saw Arsenal back in the game at 1-1, but there was still time for more drama before the break. Nikita Parris then had an effort from outside the box beaten away by keeper Sarah van Veenendaal once again for a corner kick. From the resulting corner, it saw Claire Emslie putting the ball under the crossbar for the home side and have the keeper unable to claim in the air and have the ball falling nicely to former Gunner Steph Houghton, and the City captain fired home for a 2-1 half time lead.

Heather O’Reilly helped draw Arsenal level early in the second half, after a cross by Alex Scott saw a lack of communication between Steph Houghton and Ellie Roebuck in the City penalty area which saw the two jumping for the ball and had O’Reilly on hand to head it on goal and make it all-square. This coincided with the visitors having their best spell of the game so far and have Arsenal with their tails up and looking the much better side in the contest.

Izzy Christiansen then stretched out a leg to try and prod home a Claire Emslie cross for City, but yet again the Dutch keeper for Gunners was alert to the danger. Jordan Nobbs who scored a stunner to beat the Blues back in the spring series back in May, then saw her almost scoring another when O’Reilly passed back out towards Nobbs and saw her high curling effort striking the bar and forced City to scramble the ball away from danger. That seemed to be the wake-up call that the league champions needed to jolt them back into action and saw them battling back. 

The Citizens then led for the third time in the contest at the 70th minute mark through a Georgia Stanway goal to see the Blues going back in front at 3-2. It saw some nice build-up play from the home side in which Jill Scott played a nicely weighted ball between the two Arsenal central-defenders and then saw Stanway being quick to latch onto the pass and put it past van Veenendaal for the lead. Minutes later it saw Stanway nearly grabbing a second goal for herself, when the youngster saw her fierce shot well saved by the goalie and began to see the home side taking the wind out of the visitors’ sails with that third goal.

Arsenal contributed to their own downfall and saw Izzy Christiansen putting the nail in the coffin for the away side on 73 minutes, when Nobbs was dispossessed by the City midfielder in the middle of the park and had the England midfielder bearing down on goal and curl a low shot in the far post for a 4-2 lead. The game as a contest was effectively over now as the Arsenal side looked dejected and saw their hopes of a comeback all but come crashing down upon them after conceding that fourth City goal. In all honesty though, neither side really looked like their normal selves and in truth was mostly down to which side could cut out the most mistakes in their game would take victory.  

It seemed a double-edged sword really, as you could make the case that both teams weren’t playing at their best with the season still early in it’s infancy, but at the same time when they clicked it was a thing of beauty to watch. The latter could certainly have been used for City in the second half though, as the home side were dominant after the fourth goal went in and saw the home side hammering home their advantage from there on in. Jill Scott made it five with just over ten minutes of play left in the contest to go and saw a lovely team move, that started from the back and ended up with a lovely finish. Keira Walsh then sprayed the ball out wide to Claire Emslie on the wing and from there she played a nice ball ahead for Jill Scott, to which saw the City midfielder smashing the ball past the despairing dive of Sari van Veenendaal in the visitors net on the volley for 5-2.

The win sees the Blues remaining unbeaten and lying second but only on goal difference to rivals Chelsea, who haven’t yet conceded a goal in their two games to date. City travel to Austria next with a Women’s Champions League tie on Wednesday night against St Polten before facing the Everton Ladies next Saturday night in Widnes.


 

Storm avoid being burnt in Overtime against Flames

PrimaryStorm2015Logo-1 Manchester Storm   6 – 5 OT   Guildford Flames  new-flames-logo 

An overtime strike by Manchester’s Matt Stanisz helped the Manchester Storm beat the battling Guildford Flames 6-5 at the Altrincham Ice Rink this past Saturday night, with the home side recording their first ever competitive overtime victory in their short history.

It was a game that saw a few talking points and lots of action over the course of sixty-four minutes in the contest, as it saw the first visit of the Guildford Flames to the Altrincham Ice Rink in the Elite League guise anyhow, but it was the home side that was the more dominant of the two early doors. Former Coventry Blaze goalie Brian Stewart, saw the netminder being called upon to make a couple of early stops for the visitors, with the Storm having the better of the play in the early part of the opening period, with the Flames having to weather an early storm (no pun intended). 

The Flames began to then claw their way back into the contest after the away battled away and saw the home side being very physical indeed. Guildford had to be disciplined in their approach, as they came in for a lot of hitting from the hosts. Mikael Lidhammar then picked lost his discipline and picked up a two-plus ten-minute call for a check from behind on Dallas Ehrhardt, as Lidhammar sent him crashing into the boards and saw the Storm players not too impressed.

Manchester then led through from the following power play, when a strike by Mike Hammond saw the Storm forward putting the home side 1-0 up after taking a quick layoff pass by Dane Byers to rifle the puck home in the Guildford goal at 13.54. The Storm then added a second to their total late on in the period, after the hosts turned defence into attack, when Gerard Hanson blocked a shot and then started a break for the hosts with Byers dragging the Guildford defence towards him and playing a pass across the face of an empty goal for Luke Moffatt to tap home for a 2-0 lead.

The hosts had outmuscled and flat-out bullied their opponents for the opening half hour of the contest, while their opponents tried their best not to respond to any physical play at all. Shane Bakker was then called for the home side after bumping into Stewart and served a goalie interference call that saw the visitors pulling a goal back on the power play through an Ian Watters strike to make it 2-1 at 27.23. Manchester then saw Dane Byers sitting for a boarding call at 30.29 and that brought a scrum amongst the sides and ended up with Dallas Ehrhardt receiving a roughing penalty and saw Guildford’s Brennan Yadlowski getting the same. Once again, it saw the Flames power play unit coming up trumps and having Ben Davies putting home a rebound to draw the sides level at 2-2 and have the visiting proving to be a stubborn opponent.

That goal kick-started a crazy nine-minute period of hockey, where the sides traded five goals before the periods’ end. Dane Byers then put the hosts back in front at 32.33 to make it 3-2 Storm, after Moffatt battled for the puck and saw his backhanded effort saved by Stewart but only as far as Byers, and he pounced on the rebound to restore the lead and see Stewart getting hurt in the aftermath after the Storm man collided with the goalie. The coming together saw the Guildford goalie needing to be helped off the ice and back to the locker room, with Mike Will stepping in to fill the void for the Flames and play out the remainder of the game. This should have seen the home side testing the netminder far more than they did, but they began to run into penalty trouble and gave the visitors a helping hand to get back in the game.

That was before Mike Hammond made it 4-2 at 35.42 following a pass to the back post from Matt Beca and see the Storm looking like they were going to put the game to the bed. With Guildford losing their starting goalie through injury, it saw the visitors looking like the stuffing had been knocked out of them. Dallas Ehrhardt then saw him hitting the showers early, after the Canadian defenseman was given a five-plus match for roughing after Lidhammar got his stick up high on the Manchester man and saw Ehrhardt taking exception and dealt out a couple of knuckle sandwiches to the Flames player who escaped with no call, but the Storm was thrown out.

With Guildford now enjoying a five-minute power play from the incident, it saw them netting twice to tie the game up after two periods of play with firstly John Dunbar scoring and then Carl Ackered netting the equaliser to see the Flames scoring their fourth power play goal of the game and have the home side counting the cost of these power play goals they were conceding. Play in the third saw the game getting more chippy than it was previously, and have the home side trying to get back to playing hockey and that brought them rewards near the midway point of the third period, after Declan Balmer cleared to Matt Bissonnette and his pass up the middle to Jay Rosehill saw the forward putting it through the legs of Will to make it 5-4 Storm and lead for the third time of the night.

With the third period drawing nearer to a close, it saw another flashpoint with five minutes remaining, as Linden Springer became the second Storm player to be thrown out of the game, after he was called for spearing and saw the match official Dean Smith kicking Springer out and giving the visitors a second five minute long power play. Manchester had done well to contain the Flames power play for the majority of the five-minute power play, but with twenty-two seconds remaining in the game, it saw David Lilliestrom blasting his shot past Mike Clemente for the tying goal and send the game to overtime.

In overtime, it saw Guildford having more of the better chances in the extra period of play, but it was the Storm on their first real shot in the overtime period that saw the home side netting the winning goal. It saw Guildford head up ice and have Dane Byers cutting out a pass in front of his own goal before firing a pass down the wing to Matt Stanisz, who then skated hard and saw his shot go under the stick side of Mike Will and give the home side victory and have the Storm claiming their first-ever overtime winner. 

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download (2)Cardiff Devils 1 – 6 Manchester Storm PrimaryStorm2015Logo-1

Sunday night saw the Manchester Storm travelling down to South Wales to the IAW and go on to inflict a heavy 6-1 defeat upon on the league champions. The Storm was missing their coach Ryan Finnerty for the match, as he stayed home following the birth of his child and saw Assistant Coach and Storm Legend Mike Morin, standing in to take charge. 

Matt Stanisz followed up his overtime heroics from the night before, with the games opening goal on the power play at 6.45 before Chris Auger scored either side of the period break to make it 3-0 for the Storm. Dallas Ehrhardt then made it four-nil minutes later, as the visitors were enjoying themselves. Early on in the third, Luke Moffatt made it a 5-0 game and had many of the locals already heading for the exits.

Joey Haddad then scored a consolation goal for the Devils at 54.22, but the last word went to Chris Auger as he completed his hat trick with an empty net goal at 57.01 to see Manchester stun the league champions on their own patch and see the Storm remaining top of the table. 

Storm Bounce Back To Defeat Lightning

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Manchester Storm   6 – 2  Milton Keynes Lightning 

After the sorry display against the Coventry Blaze the previous evening at home, it saw the Manchester Storm responding well with a come from behind victory to beat the impressive Milton Keynes side 6-2 with a much better performance. 

The visitors in the MK Lightning were clearly on a high too, after they had beaten the Braehead Clan 3-1 the night before and have surprised many by how quickly they have managed to hit the ground running so far this season, having come from the formerly known English Premier League last season and are one of two new teams to the league with the Guildford Flames too.  

Manchester who was seriously lacklustre in all departments the night before, saw the Storm given a timely boost ahead of the clash with Milton Keynes as Shane Bakker made his Elite League debut for the club, after he had been forced to watch from the stands after he picked up a foot injury in his first game in pre-season.

21617487_1972388363040444_3589495354378373787_nThe home side made the perfect start courtesy of Ryan Trenz, as the defenseman fired a low wrist shot from the point that beat Miika Wiikman in the Lightning goal with just 0.26 seconds gone in the game and put Storm a goal up. MK then soon got back on level terms with the home side at 8.15, when the home defence left Denny Kearney completely unmarked and he fired high on Mike Clemente to make it a 1-1 game.

Both sides seemed to have the measure of each other as the game ticked along, with neither team able to grab control of the contest and made it a very stifling game with not much in the way of goalmouth action. Both teams created a few chances in the second period, but neither side was able to convert on their efforts early on.

21743154_1972388653040415_4551841853067177241_nMilton Keynes sounded a warning shot to the home side when an effort pinged off the goalpost and saw the Lightning playing well. Mike Clemente then nearly saw him having egg on his face, as the netminder thought he had the puck covered up but instead, the puck had squirmed under the pads and behind him in front of the open cage without knowing the whereabouts of the puck, but thankfully the defence cleared away from danger.

Those warnings weren’t heeded by the hosts, with the Lightning striking instantly on the power play through Carl Hudson, as he intercepted a poor clearance by a Manchester defence in the Storm zone and the former Cardiff Devils player blasted home to put MK into a 2-1 lead at 27.45.

Manchester then got awarded a power play themselves minutes later, and that saw Matt Bissonette tying the game up at 2-2 at 29.47 with a very patient build up from the power play unit that saw Mike Hammond feeding the puck to Matt Beca, who in turn fired a pass out to the back door for Bissonette to put in and get things level. 

Moments later, it saw Linden Springer somehow managing to squeeze the puck past the netminder for a 3-2 lead for the Storm at 33.47 and seem to be the key goal. The Lightning then suffered a blow when a collision involving the netminder Miika Wiikman saw him ending up in back of the net and remained in some discomfort for the rest of the period. 

21617645_1972388016373812_3616456329471174533_nPete Russell the MK and Great Britain head coach was then forced into a change for the start of the third period, with Jordan Hedley taking his place between the pipes for the Lightning with the injured Wiikman out of the game. Hedley instantly came under fire in the Lightning net, but the young goalie made some good stops to keep the home side out.

Manchester forward Ciaran Long then made it 4-2 for the hosts after a direct play up ice saw Matt Stanisz firing the puck up the boards for Shane Bakker who nudged it on ahead for Jay Rosehill to get on the off, before the captain then made a lovely back-handed pass across the face of goal for Long to convert on and set the Storm on their way to victory. 

Mike Hammond added a fifth on the power play for the home side at 50.41, as the Storm worked another good extra man advantage to see them effectively seal the game. Minutes later, it saw Mike Hammond dispossessing MK’s Carl Hudson on the penalty kill in the Storm zone and setting up a two-on-one break for the home side and finish with Matt Beca making it six and have the Storm finishing their weekend on a high.