Wildcats see off stubborn Steeldogs


steeldogslogo2016sm  Sheffield Steeldogs  3  –  5   Swindon Wildcats   wildcatsfulllogo-20001418888

Swindon Wildcats moved up to fifth in the English Premier League Ice Hockey table with a 5-3 win over the Sheffield Steeldogs at Ice Sheffield and in doing so leapfrogged the Guildford Flames in the standings. Three goals in the third period saw the Wildcats taking the league points in what was an eventful third period and had the hosts emotions getting the better of them.

From the drop of the puck it saw play taking place mostly in the Sheffield end with the away side building up some good early pressure in the contest and had the home side on the foot back early doors. However it was the hosts that broke the deadlock against the run of play, when Adrian Palak skated down the left wing and his shot took a deflection off Neil Liddiard’s stick that caught out Stevie Lyle at his near post for a 1-0 lead to the Steeldogs after 2-08 gone .

Sheffield throughout the game ran into penalty trouble and was one of their downfalls that tributed to the downfall overall. Lewis Baldwin sat for an Interference call and gave the visitors a powerplay opportunity and tied the game up shortly after through Polish forward Tomasz Malasinski, when his shot beat James Hadfield to find the back of the net at 5-47 and make it a 1-1 game. Swindon was bossing the first period of play and their shots on goal tally told that story too, with the Wildcats outshooting their opponent 21-6 in the opening period.

img_20170226_183757Despite having more shots on target they just weren’t able to convert them into goals chances, but eventually they doubled their lead in the final minute of the first with another powerplay goal, this time coming from Jordan Kelsall as he made it 2-1 to give the Cats the lead for the time first time in the game as the teams headed into the break.

Swindon almost went 3-1 ahead, after an effort by Joonas Hoog saw his shot pinging off the goal post and had former Cats goalie in James Hadfield beaten all ends up by the shot. Sheffield then began to mount a bit of a rally midway through the period and had them catching out their opponents with some quick plays up ice with a couple of odd man rushes. The hosts you felt were badly missing that someone to bury their chances and drive to the net, something that the visitors had in with a few of their forwards.

With the visitors having by far the better of the chances in the game, they were being a quite wasteful with their efforts on goal and almost seemed to think that they had their opponents where they wanted them. All the possession that the Wildcats had throughout the contest at that point of time was counting for nothing, despite leading by a goal but the home side soon turned the game on its head and made the traveling side pay, thanks to two goals in the final ten minutes of the second.

Firstly Stanislav Lascek made it 2-2 at 33:58 to get the Steeldogs back level and then minutes later a lovely move by Macaulay Heywood saw him entering the Swindon zone before spinning and shooting on the turn to beat Lyle for 3-2 at 37:02. For the final three minutes of the period it saw the hosts creating a couple of chances late on and looked more threatening than they had done for the large part of the contest.

In the truth the period coming to an end was a bad timing for the Steeldogs, as they were looking good and the break gave their opponents time to reevaluate their game plan heading into the third.

img_20170226_192354 Play in the Third period was packed full of incident with former Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steeler Phil Hill tying the game up on the powerplay to make it 3-3 and record the third powerplay goal of the night for the Wildcats. Over a minute later and one of the flashpoints of the game took place, after Max Birbraer was sent sliding across the ice after tangling with Arnoldas Bosas off the puck and had match referee Stefan Hogarth sending Bosas off early to hit the showers with a checking to the head call at 44-02.

That put the visitors on a five minute powerplay and saw Birbraer who was involved in the incident that led to the penalty happening and he netted the Wildcats fourth of the game at 46-09. That goal clearly deflated the stubborn Sheffield side at that point in time and worst was to come for the home side, when a coming together involving a Swindon player and Steeldogs captain Ben Morgan, saw both their legs getting tangled up and had the Steeldogs man clutching his left knee and was in clear agony with the trainer coming on to give him treatment.

The home fans felt that calls were going only one way and it wasn’t theirs, as after Bosas was thrown out of the game and now their main defenseman was forced out of the game from an accident coming together, it had the home fans venting their anger towards the referee. With Morgan being helped off the ice and no call forthcoming, the Sheffield fans were left fuming along with the home sides bench.

Steeldogs coach Greg Wood pulled the netminder late on for the extra attacker to try and find a tying goal, but when the hosts were trying to set up a play while coming out from behind their own goal, it saw the puck coming loose towards Robin Kovar and the Czech forward was on hand to shoot it into an empty net for 5-3 and seal the victory for the visitors at 58-26.

That wasn’t the end of the fun and games though. As with 29 seconds of the game left to play it saw emotions spilling over with namely Sheffield’s Callum Pattinson getting some frustration out, after he charged on goal and sent Jan Kostal flying into Stevie Lyle which prompted a few pushes and saw the Sheffield man throw a flurry of punches at his opponent. As he was being escorted away off the ice by the linesman and towards the locker room, it saw him miming wearing a belt around his waist towards to the away fans in attendance.

Players grabbed a partner during the melee and saw tensions threatening to boil over late in the game, in which had been played in a competitive fashion overall. Sheffield’s coach Greg Wood was sent to the back by the referee for speaking out of term for the referee’s liking and had Pattinson receiving 29 of the 83 penalty minutes handed out by Hogarth after the incident had come to halt.

The Steeldogs man received a match penalty along with a 2+2 for roughing and a charging call too, while team mate Charles Thompson collected 24 penalty minutes for his troubles too, with Thompson picking up a 2+2 for leaving the bench and a game misconduct as well.

Sheffield picked up a game misconduct on the bench which was against Wood for his outburst to the official, meanwhile Swindon’s Jan Kostal sat for the traditional 2+2 for roughing after his altercation too. With calm being restored it saw the final moments being played out and have the Wildcats lying 10 points behind Basingstoke and have it seemingly now a battle between themselves and Guildford for the fifth-place.

For Sheffield they battled hard all game, but until the Bosas incident and Morgan picking up an injury, it saw the Steeldogs losing their composure and undone a lot of their good work that saw them leading 3-2 at one point. As it was the story of the game was their ill-discipline and Swindon punishing them on the powerplay.


Sheffield:  Adrian Palak 1+0, Stanislav Lascek 1+0, Macaulay Heywood 1+0, Ben Morgan 0+1, Thomas Relf 0+1, Donatas Kumeliauskas 0+1, Cole Shudra 0+1, Arnoldas Bosas 0+1, Tomas Brcko 0+1.

Swindon: Phil Hill 1+1, Tomasz Malasinski 1+1, Jordan Kelsall 1+0, Max Birbraer 1+0, Robin Kovar 1+0, Ben Nethersell 0+3, Jan Kostal 0+2, Jonas Hoog 0+2


Sheffield: James Hadfield –  Shots 45  Saves 41  (91.11%)  Empty Net: 1 shot

Swindon: Stevie Lyle  – Shots 24  Saves 21 (87.50%)

Penalty In Minutes:

Sheffield : PIM 120   Swindon : 20 PIM


Sheffield 1/3  (33.3% )     Swindon  4/8 (50.0%)


Steelers spoil the party in Controversial fashion

 primarystorm2015logo-1 Manchester Storm 3-4 Sheffield Steelers (After Overtime)steelers_logo_square

Manchester Storm saw their horrendous overtime record continuing to plague them in what was a very controversial 4-3 loss to the Sheffield Steelers on what a what a special night for a former Storm player of the past in Brad Rubachuk, as the Winnipeg-native saw his jersey retired by the newer version of the club for the second time.

Brad Rubachuk

 Prior to face off it saw one of the Storm’s fans favourites returning to these shores again to have his memory remembered once more, after having his jersey previously retired back in 1999 at the old Manchester Arena.

Rubachuk’s career came to a premature end in a game down in Bracknell, when the Storm were facing the Bracknell Bees and saw an accidental collision involving Bees tough guy Paxton Schulte, who was Bracknell at time and as he came out of the penalty box it saw the players come together and had the Canadian suffering a broken neck as a result.Sunday saw the popular Canadian making his first visit to the Storm’s new home at the Altrincham Ice Rink and had Captain Trevor Johnson and Paul Swindlehurst, who back in the day was a Storm fan in the Manchester Arena in the old days and between them, they helped to take the banner over to be raised and have his name and number now proudly hanging from the roof in the rink.

Rubachuk Banner being fitted to hoist  Pic: Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

You could have been forgiven for thinking that there was still a game to take place too, as the whole evening was a celebration for their favourite son and had all that was part of the Sell-out crowd glad to welcome back Rubachuk to Manchester. When the puck did get dropped for the game to start, it saw Sheffield being far more the aggressors after weathering the early storm from the home side if pardon the pun.

With both teams having a player in the box for separate penalties in a minor scrum, it saw the game being played 4 on 4 and had Sheffield opening the scoring with a bit of good luck going their way, when Guillaume Desbiens face-off win headed on goal and saw the rebound off Mike Clemente’s pads falling very nicely for Levi Nelson to put home for a 1-0 Steelers lead at 4.59. Manchester then found themselves on a extended penalty kill shortly after, with both Darian Dziurzynski and Paul Swindlehurst serving their respective penalties and that handed the Steelers an extended 4 on 3 powerplay that they took full advantage of.

Mathieu Roy made it two at 6.16 as the Storm’s inability to stay out of the penalty box was costing them yet again against the Steelers, with the away side going 2-0 up and looked to have a good foundation on which build on. The Steelers then got awarded a penalty shot when Omar Pacha was deemed to have stopped a goal scoring opportunity on Levi Nelson and that saw Dean Smith awarding Sheffield a chance to make it three.

The penalty was missed by Nelson with Clemente getting the slightest of touches to see the score remaining 2-0 with the home side needing something to jolt them into life as they were looking a bit flat in the opening period, and perhaps that penalty shot miss could be used as a turning point to ignite the hosts. Manchester then got on the board through Patrik Valcak after the Czech forward battled hard at the front of the net for the loose puck that trickled behind the goalie, but he managed to do enough to force it jam it home and have the home side on the scoreboard late in the period.

Second period saw the Storm getting the most out of their powerplay and had Jack Prince netting the equalising goal at 29.40 after Matt Bissonnette saw his shot stopped by Ervins Mustokovs in the Steelers goal, but the loose puck fell around the net and was eventually turned in by Prince to see the home levelling things up at 2-2.

Sheffield went back in front at 34.31 after Dallas Ehrhardt was caught out by the corner boards behind his net when Ben O’Connor found Levi Nelson at the front of the net to put in for his second of the game and give the men in Orange a 3-2 lead. With the game being very tight it made an entertaining game and saw the third period being a bit more open at times too.

Valcak celebrates his first goal – Pic: Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photgraphy

With time running down the Storm pulled their goalie and used an extra skater for a 6 on 5 advantage as they looked to find a tying goal late in the contest, and at 58.37 Patrik Valcak once again came up big for the home side and when the puck stopped near the line the Czech was first to it and netted his second of the game to make it all square at 3-3. With the third period reaching its end, it saw Manchester given a great chance to win in normal time still as Zach Fitzgerald’s emotions got the better of him and he was forced to serve a two minute penalty and have the home side on the powerplay.

Sheffield killed off the penalty as the game went into overtime and 3 on 3 hockey was now the order for the final three minutes of play and was the second time this season the sides needed extra time at Altrincham to determine a winner. With Manchester having yet to beat Sheffield in a competitive game to date since rejoining the top-flight last season, surely of all the games to snap their overtime curse and beat the Steelers, this seemed to be perfect night for them to do it in but could they was the question.

Sadly, the answer was to be a controversial no for a couple of reasons. Firstly in the lead up to the winning goal for the title chasing visitors, Levi Nelson had took Mario Trubucco’s legs completely from him accidently in the build up and wiped the Storm man out of the play and from there Jace Coyle broke away and saw his shot looking to have come off the underside of the crossbar away. However the referee Dean Smith thought otherwise and he gave the goal to the Steelers, setting off an irate Manchester side in the process.

Steelers celebrate their Overtime victory

The aftermath saw Mario Trubucco being forcefully pushed away by the linesman and needed his teammates to grab him and lead him away from the officials while the linesmen and referee conversed and led to the goal standing, much to the anger from the home crowd to the incident and saw boos raining down while celebrations were going off in the Orange corner. Storm players were left clearly seething from whole event that lead up to the goal and the winning goal itself, but there was nothing they could but watch their opponents from over the Pennines taking the spoils in extra time not for the first time in their barn.

Despite the result being not what the large majority wanted on the night in the ‘Storm Shelter’, the night in truth belonged to the man nicknamed affectionately known as ‘Ruby’ and the home crowd were delighted to get one more chance to honour their former fan favourite again and give him (another) send off.


Manchester:Patrick Valcak 2+0, Jack Prince 1+0, Connor Varley 0+1, Darian Dziurzynski 0+1, Trevor Johnson 02, Mark Heatley 01, Matt Bissonnette 01

Sheffield: Levi Nelson 2+1, Mathieu Roy 1+0, Jace Coyle 1+0, Andreas Valdix 0+1, Colton Fretter 0+1, Ben O’Connor 0+1


Manchester :  Mike Clemente       35 shots 31 saves  (88.6%)      

Sheffield:        Ervins Mustukovs  33 shots 30 saves (90.9%)


Manchester:  10 PIM  –    Powerplays:   2-7 (28.6%)

Sheffield :     18 PIMS –    Powerplays:   2-3 ( 66.7%)

Irish destroy sorry Italians, England edge Wales and France hold off Scots

Round 2 of the RBS Six Nations Tournament saw Ireland getting their title hopes back on track with a demolition job on Italy, while England faced their old foes in Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, and made it two wins out of two with Sunday’s game seeing France welcoming Scotland to the Stade de France for a see-saw battle to round off the weekend.

      italian_rugby_federation_logo-svg   ITALY    10  –  63   IRELAND  irfu-social


Both sides came into the the second round of matches on the back of defeats, with the Italians being over powered by Wales while Ireland lost a thriller to Scotland. Italy were hoping to stop a run that had saw the Azzurri losing eight matches in a row in the Six Nations, while Ireland were hoping to get their title bid back up and running again against an Italian side that has been lacking a cutting edge to their play.

Ireland needed to win just to stay in contention for the Six Nations crown, but Joe Schmidt the Irish head coach nor anyone else could have predicted the walkover that was about to ensue at the Stadio Olymplico before everyone’s eyes.

Keith Earls much like he did against Scotland the previous week, it saw him grabbing the visitors opening try in the contest after some good work by Paddy Jackson with the fly-half finding his teammate on the wing to put the Irish ahead.  Italy then got on the board with penalty for 7-3 and that was soon followed by CJ Stander going over in the corner for Ireland and had Paddy Jackson puffing out his cheeks in relief, when the Ulster player converted with what can only be described as an extremely fortunate ‘Banana kick’ that got carried over by a swirling wind. 

Earls then went in for his second try of the match and Ireland’s third of the game, with the Italians powerless to do anything at all to stop the Irish attack and it was becoming far too easy for the away side with 26 minutes gone on the contest. Italy then had some minor joy with a Penalty Try awarded their way minutes later, after the referee deemed the visitors were guilty of collapsing at the scrum. Ireland then picked up their first try scoring bonus point in the Six Nations and also the first by any team in the tournament too, as South African-born CJ Stander powered his way over for a score and made it Ireland 28-10 at the break.

Second half was not so much a wave of Ireland attacks than it was a Tsunami of attacks coming the Irish forwards as they ran in five tries against a side that failed to show anything defensive at all in the half. Stander then completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half when he burst through the back line to score the fifth try for Ireland and it was getting embarrassingly easy. Ireland then hit the 40 points barrier with Craig Gilroy cutting through the Italians and scored his first of three tries in the half. Gary Ringrose then scored the seventh try for the visitors and was like a hot knife through Italian butter to take the score onto 49-10 with Paddy Jackson adding the extras.

Gilroy then scored two late tries in the game when firstly, Stander kicked clear and saw the Ulster man collecting a favourable bounce his way en-route to going over for his second of the game and then he completed his hat-trick in added time to see Ireland scoring their ninth try in the game, plus matching their previous best and finished with a whopping 63 points.


           welsh_rugby_union_logo-svg  WALES     16  –  21        ENGLAND  England_national_rugby_union_team_(emblem).svg.png

In what was clearly the game of weekend at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, it saw Eddie Jones and his England side looking to make it 16 wins on the bounce and they knew coming into the Dragon’s den that they would need to be at their very best to beat a ready and waiting Welsh side who wanted badly to dent the title hopes of their bitter rivals on home turf.  

Wales struck first courtesy of a Leigh Halfpenny kicked penalty at goal, after England were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle. Owen Farrell then soon had the visitors back on level terms with a kick a goal himself and then in the 17th minute of the game it saw Ben Youngs going over near the line, to put England ahead for a 8-3 lead but Farrell missed the conversion. Halfpenny then moved the hosts 8-6 ahead with another penalty from his boot and had Rhys Webb claiming soon after that he scored a try, only for the TMO to disagree with and rule no try.

However Wales did go into the half time break ahead, as Liam Williams found space to run into a gap and dive over for a score to move them 13-8 in front. Second half saw Wales nearly extending their lead when they charged up field with some lovely play and unfortunate for the home side it saw Rhys Webb’s pass to Dan Biggar being too far in front and a deemed a clear forward pass. Both Farrell and Halfpenny kicked points for their respective sides and made it 16-11 in favour to the Welsh with less than 20 minutes of play to go. 

With England a yard away from the Welsh try line, it saw them trying to pass it across and Dan Biggar was switched on enough to intercept a pass and with the English players gaining on him at the halfway line he was forced to kick forward and it needed Elliott Daly to almost make a slide tackle to kick it out of play for the visitors. England was award a penalty when Sampson Lee was deemed to have made a high tackle on Jack Nowell and with Owen Farrell having nerves of steel to kick the penalty over he made it a two-point game with less than ten to go.

With the visitors pushing hard for a score late on, it looked like their hopes had been dashed when England lost possession deep in the Welsh half but when a poor clearance by Jonathan Davies missed touch and found George Ford instead, it saw the England man running the ball back and launching a pass out to the wing for Elliott Daly who managed to get the better of Alex Cuthbert for the game winning try.

In such a close game it was going to come down to a mistake or a piece of genius that would give their side victory and in a way it was both, as the poor clearance combined with Ford’s vision and Daly having the energy to get to the line sealed the victory for England and moves them a step closer to retaining their title so far.

            france_rugby_logo-svg  FRANCE     22 – 16    SCOTLAND  scottish_rugby_logo-svg


After their stunning win over Ireland in the opener to their Six Nations campaign the week prior, Scotland was full of confidence heading over the Channel to face France at the Stade de France in Paris with and hopefully end their Paris hoodoo, with the Scots looking for their first win on French soil since 1999.

Camille Lopez put the hosts ahead with a penalty early on before Stuart Hogg went over in the corner for the Scots and put the 5-3 in front. Lopez again kicked the French back in ahead and then minutes later saw Gael Fickou crashing over to make it 11-5 for France before Lopez added the two extras. Scotland suffered a huge blow when Greig Laidlaw suffered an ankle injury in the first half, so kicking duties feel to Finn Russell and he converted on two late penalties before the break to have his side within two points at 13-11.

Scotland then got a lucky bounce i suppose you could say, as Tommy Seymour kicked up field and the bounce from the ball came right back to him and caught out the French defence which then allowed Tim Swinson to go under the posts for a try and see the away side lead 16-13. Confusion then followed for their conversion, when Russell was repeated shouted at to take it quickly and saw the ball falling off the tee and his kick going under the posts in a horribly rushed effort. France looked to have scored a try through Remi Lemerat, as replays suggested that the player got the smallest amount of downward pressure onto the ball and yet the TMO decided differently and ruled a no try.

That no try seemed to spur the French on for the back of the game and two penalties in the last ten minutes gave the home side victory in which you could arguably say was more a case of the Scots throwing it away than France coming back. Both teams now face tricky games in the next round of matches, with Scotland travelling to Wales and France facing Ireland in Dublin.

City pull off stunning capture of US star Lloyd

Manchester City Women have pulled off a massive coup with the signing of United States International and two-time World Footballer of the Year in Carli Lloyd, with the American midfielder joining on-loan from National Women’s Soccer League side Houston Dash, with the American league currently on their off season.

Carly Lloyd is one of if not the most decorated female players in World football today and has the distinction of being the only Woman and second player in any World Cup Finals to score a hat-trick, with only England’s Geoff Hurst being the other.

She started her footballing apprenticeship for Rutgers Scarlet Knights in College, and saw her scoring 50 goals in 83 appearances for the Scarlet Knights. Soon after she moved on to play in the Women’s Professional Soccer league (WPS) and played 32 games between 2004 and 2011 in their smaller seasons.

Carly Lloyd with the Women’s World Cup     PIC:ESPN.com

Between that time period she played for clubs such as New Jersey Wildcats, Atlanta Beat, Chicago Red Stars of which she spent the most of her time at during the old WPS league, making 16 appearances back in 2009.

This however won’t be the first time she has played at a club with Sky Blue links either, as before she moved to Atlanta for the 2011 season she played five games for Sky Blue FC in her home state of New Jersey.  Strangely enough another link between the clubs is former City Women’s alumni Daphne Corboz, as the American midfielder who spent the last season and half at the club, saw Corboz deciding to head home in the off season.

In her first interview since joining the club, she told ManCity.com of her feelings on the move by saying; “I’m thrilled to be here and just starting up to meet my new teammates, and i’m just really thrilled honesty. This is a unique opportunity and i couldn’t be prouder to be a club like Manchester and just looking forward to kicking off.”

Costa Rica v United States
Carly Lloyd in action for U.S Women  PIC:  SI.com

When asked about reasons for joining City Women the American star explained; “When the opportunity presented itself from Manchester City’s side, they reached out and one thing led to another and i think it’s a unique opportunity for me to be able to go abroad play over here and be faced with a different challenge and what’s fascinating is the facilities and just an unbelievable football club to be part off, and just can’t wait to get started”.

Lloyd’s first match is likely to come in the Champions League quarter-final in Denmark and was asked if that had any bearing on her signing for the club. Lloyd said; “Well i think coming here, the city and seeing the facilities and just the organisation and dealing with Nick (Cushing), there’s a great philosophy in place.

Carly Lloyd in the City Sky Blue: Pic ManCity.com

Gavin and Omar have been a huge help in getting me over here and painting the big picture and when you add in the Champions League, and all these other unbelievable events , you know it’s kinda hard to not want to come”.

City boss Nick Cushing will be hope that the signing of the US International will boost their chances of progressing into the semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League  tournament, when they face Danish side Fortuna Hjorring towards the back end of March and will also hope to play their new star signing during the upcoming WSL Spring Series that starts in Late April.

Darian at the double as Storm hammer Flyers

primarystorm2015logo-1 Manchester Storm  7 – 3  Fife Flyers  ctjwxjowiaqqeqn

Manchester Storm returned to winning ways with a resounding 7-3 victory over the Fife Flyers this past Saturday night at the Altrincham Ice Arena, with two second period goals by Canadian front man Darian Dziurzynski as he helped his Manchester side close the gap of Fife in the standings.

After their previous encounter between the two sides up in Kirkcaldy last month, when an incident involving a fan and Eric Neilson overshadowed the game, I had Manchester Storm player coach Omar Pacha quickly dismissing this week that this was to be no grudge match from his side of things against their fellow conference rivals in any shape or form.

Manchester came on fire to start the game and whether it was a loose puck or a rebound or something similar, the home side were just sharper and a step ahead of their visitors. Storm took an early lead into the game as with 3.07 of the game gone, Dallas Ehrhardt passed a no look pass out to the back post for Patrik Valcak and the Czech forward put home for a tidy finish and give the hosts a 1-0 lead.


Patrik Valcak celebrates the opening goal. Photos by Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Shane Owen in the Fife goal saw his net coming under fire far from the home side than he would have liked too, and had the Storm looking very aggressive early doors. Fife found it hard to break down a stubborn Manchester defence and saw the Flyers getting frustrated early on with their plays being a tad slow and their defence at time being sloppy at the back. Some of the attacks coming from the Flyers saw them messing up when in decent positions and they weren’t really able test Mike Clemente in the Storm net for much of the game in truth. 

Mario Trubucco then doubled the home side lead on the powerplay at 14.41, after Patrik Valcak had his shot blocked by a defenceman on the play and with Owen leaving half the net gaping to shoot at after committing to the previous effort, it allowed Trubucco to fire and leave Owen laying on the ice in despair for a 2-0 scoreline after the first period of play.

Second period was all one-way traffic by the home side and had the Flyers in a bit of tail spin. Firstly the Storm were matching the physical play that their opponents had dishing out in the game prior to the second period. While the hosts had visibly grown in confidence as the game went on, it saw the visitors confidence shrinking and were getting pushed off the puck easily and looked a different side to the one that had beaten the Storm in their previous trip to Alty. Mark Heatley then credited with the hosts third goal of the night, after Valcak again was in the thick of the action as a pass to Trevor Johnson on the blue line was then deflected in past Owen for a 3-0 game at 27.20.

Fife looked like lost souls out on the ice and had the Storm continuing to batter them with attack after attack and with the hosts outshooting them 14-5 in the period; it saw the fourth goal soon going in as Matt Bissonnette played a quick pass across to Darian who was free and he found the top corner to make it 4-0 and had the game becoming worryingly one-side for the travelling fans.

Darian Dziurzynski nets the 5th goal for the Storm  Photos by Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume then took a much needed time out to gather their thoughts of his troops and wanted a better response by his by team than what they were showing. Fife came out and played better after the timeout and typically saw Manchester capitalising on an defensive error, as they bagged their fifth goal of the game and Darian Dziurzynski second of the night, as the Canadian broke clear up ice thanks to a quick pass by Bissonnette; and the with a defender closing him down all the time the Storm man managed to scoop it up past Owen before colliding into the goal for 5-0.

In the final period of play, it saw Fife being much the better team in third and having far more action on the Manchester goals than they had throughout the rest of the evening, with nothing more than pride left to play for. Ryan Dingle netted at 43.33 with a shot that found the far side of the far side of Clemente’s goal and kept his record of scoring against the Storm going, with the American forward making a habit of doing far too often for Manchester’s liking since they joined last year.

Harding squares off with Muir  :Photos by Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Both teams then had a player sent to the penalty box when Adam Harding of the Storm and Thomas Muir of the Flyers decided to drop the gloves and had Muir throwing the far better punches in the scrap, with both collecting five minutes each for their troubles. Taylor Dickin then made it six for Manchester at 53.07 as his low shot slipped by Owen to bring up Manchester’s 300th Elite League goal and reestablish their five-goal lead.


Minutes after stepping back onto the ice after his set-to with Muir, Adam Harding then made it 7-1 for the Storm as his found shot found the back of the net for the home side and rubbed salt into the wounds of the Flyers, who in truth were playing the better the of the two in the period. Fife managed to grab a couple of late consolation goals their way, with Philippe Paquet making it 7-2 before former Storm man Matt Sisca capitalised on a slight error by Clemente to make the score 7-3 and based on their third period performance alone, it was probably fair.

Manchester though managed to avoid any more late goal being shipped in against them and collected two big points in the race for a playoff place, as this win saw them edging closer to the Flyers in the standings and pulling away from the Stars who sit outside the playoff picture currently, but where the Storm travel to on Sunday night and will hope to cement their place a bit more in the standings.

Match Stats:-

Manchester :   Darian Dziurzynski 2+0, Patrik Valcak 1+2, Taylor Dickin 1+1, Mario Trabucco 1+0, Adam Harding 1+0, Mark Heatley 1+0, Paul Phillips 0+2, Trevor Johnson 0+2, Connor Varley 0+1, Dallas Ehrhardt 0+1, Cody Cartier 0+1, Omar Pacha 0+1

Fife:   Ryan Dingle 1+0, Matt Sisca 1+0, Philippe Paquet 1+0, Justin Fox 0+2, Russ Moyer 0+1, Sebastien Thinel 0+1, Ric Jackman 0+1, Chase Schaber 0+1  


Manchester: Mike Clemente   Shots 29, Saves (3)  86.2%

Fife:  Shane Owen – Shots 29 , Saves 22  (7) 75.9%   

PIMS:   Manchester 15  –   Fife 11

Powerplays:  Manchester  2-3 (66.7%)     Fife 0-5 (0.00%)

Stars of the Game: 

Manchester : Patrik Valcak 

Fife:   Kyle Haines 




City come up short in German test

Manchester_City_2016.png  Manchester City Women  1 – 2  FFC Frankfurt25393_imgbank

Two first half goals for FFC Frankfurt gave the German side a slim 2-1 win over Manchester City Women at the City Football Academy this past Friday evening, as the side currently sitting sixth in the Frauen Bundesliga prevailed in a friendly. After Nick Cushing watched his side fall to a 4-1 defeat in Berlin against Germany’s league leaders in Turbine Potsdam on Sunday, it saw them facing more yet more German opposition in FFC Frankfurt as they build towards their WSL Spring Series and also their Women’s Champions League encounter against Fortuna Hjorring next month.

Early play was mainly coming from the home side, with City having predominantly more of the possession but they just weren’t able to really create anything in the way of clear cut chances due to a stubborn, but well organised Frankfurt side. When the away side did attack, it saw most of their play coming down the left flank through Ana Maria- Crnogorcevic or Janina Hechler, with the latter causing all kinds of problems throughout the opening half with the 18-year olds pace being a threat.

In the tenth minute of play it saw the visitors taking the lead against the run of play when Keira Walsh got caught out in possession in her own half by Jackie Groenen, and that saw the Dutch midfielder fending off of Walsh’s attempt challenged and fired a low shot into the bottom corner with the despairing Ellie Roebuck in the City goals unable to do much about it and move the German side in front.

Nikita Parris once or twice managed to get behind the visitors defence on a few occasions with her determination and pace but when she found herself in good positions it saw a lack off support and had her unable to pick anyone out in a blue shirt. City as you would expect seemed to be rather a tad rusty from their long spell away from playing together, whilst their opponents are midway through their season in the Frauen Bundesliga in Germany and it clearly saw a different between the two sides with Frankfurt being the more with an edge to their play.

Frankfurt doubled their lead on the half-hour when a corner came in and saw the ball bouncing off the back of Tanja Pawollek who didn’t seem to expect the ball to come to her, but with it pinballing firstly off the crossbar and having Roebuck and Demi Stokes both trying to clear it away, it saw Pawollek having a second go and saw Izzy Christiansen clearing off the line but only as far as Mandy Islacker who finally turned it home for a 2-0 lead. It saw the Germans clinical finishing proving to be key in the game and was something that the home side was still trying to rediscover so far.

City had some half chances coming their way in the half but the defensive unit of Frankfurt was like a brick wall and wouldn’t allow anything to get by them at all in the first half. Shots that Desiree Schumann did face from the home side was merely comfortable efforts straight at her and wasn’t too troubling to deal with. The best chance for the home side fell to Toni Duggan just before half time break, when Lucy Bronze played a ball across goal for Izzy Christiansen who then played in Duggan who was unmarked and the English striker put her effort wide of the target with a disappoint shot.

As the whistle came for half time on a bitterly chilly night in Manchester, it saw the home side not looking like the side that had swept other teams before them last season. City knew they needed a much improved performance if they wanted to force their back into this game as Frankfurt were a different level from team they have faced at the CFA so far. In the second half it saw a much better performance by the home side and saw Izzy Christiansen nearly making it 2-1 but was guilty of a bad miss a couple of minutes inside the second period of play.

The chance saw Jane Ross brilliantly holding the ball up and playing in Nikita Parris, who then saw the striker playing in Christiansen for what looked like a tap in with the goalie rounded and despite a defender trying to get back it saw the midfielder somehow managing to miss the target all together and have the score remain the same.

In truth the home side missed the physical side of Jill Scott to their play in the engine room side of their midfield, as no one really was able to grab the game and lead them forward like Scott has done in tight games over the last couple of years. With the home side still two down with just over a quarter of an hour to go, it saw City boss Nick Cushing making a surprise substitution as he replaced Jane Ross who was one of the better players on the pitch and she was made to make way for England starlet Georgia Stanway.

With Less than a thirty seconds of the change, it saw Christiansen providing a great through ball that caught out the Frankfurt back line and that allowed Nikita Parris to run on it and with the flag staying down, the striker slotted home for a 2-1 score and make it game on.

With City pushing for an equaliser in the game as play reached the ninety, it saw Ellie Roebuck rushing out of her goals to send the ball up field and try to start up a City attack. The referee signalled for four minutes to be added onto the end of the contest and saw both teams trying to force one last goal scoring opportunity their way. It saw the home side having the last decent effort of the game with a free kick, after Stanway was fouled outside the Frankfurt area it saw captain Steph Houghton stepping up to take the free kick in a dangerous area but Schumann made the save in the Frankfurt goal.

That proved to be the last chance in the game before the full time whistle blew and saw the home side falling to German opposition for the second time in a week, but losing by a goal to the four-time Women’s Champions League winners is no disgrace at all and good preparation for their upcoming games. Up next for the Blues is away trip to Denmark on the 23rd of March as they play the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark, before welcoming them to the CFA the week after.

6 Nations :Scots Stun Ireland, England eek out win & Wales see off Italy

This past weekend saw the start of the 2017 RBS Six Nations Championship kicking off and it did so in unbelievable style, as the opener to the tournament saw Ireland and Scotland playing out a thriller at Murrayfield, while England and France played out a tight contest at Twickenham and then Wales travelled to the Eternal City of Rome to face Italy in the final game of the weekend.

scottish_rugby_logo-svg   Scotland  27  –  22  Ireland  irfu-social

This year’s opening match of the Six Nations saw one of many people’s tips for the title in Ireland, as they made the trip over the Irish Sea to Murrayfield to face a quietly confident Scottish side that was ready to shock people, especially those wearing Green shirts.

Scotland came out on fire initially and had the Irish on the back foot from the get go, so it was no surprise when Stuart Hogg went over near the corner for a opening try of the match to put Scotland 7-0 ahead after eight minutes of play, with Greig Laidlaw adding the conversion for the Scots.

The home side then moved even further ahead after twenty minutes of play, when Scotland attacked down the Irish right and saw Hogg dummy a pass out to the wing and that gave him room to continue his run to the try-line, and put Scotland 14-0 ahead with the extras added.  

Stuart Hogg celebrates Try to give Scotland the lead: Pic taken: The Mirror 


Ireland then went over for a try five minutes later, when the Irish moved the ball out to the left wing and after Tommy Seymour tried to intercept the pass out wide, the ball came nicely to Keith Earls who scored the visitors first try of the tournament to get them back in the game at 14-5 down.

Alex Dunbar then caught out Ireland’s line-out by complete surprise soon after, when Fraser Brown threw a low ball to Dunbar who caught the pass and sneaked in for a score that saw the Irish napping at the back, but saw a stunning story starting to develop for the home side. Ireland’s head coach Joe Schmidt, knew that he had a heck of a job on his hands to get his out of sorts Ireland side back in this game at 21-8 at half time. But after a poor forty-minutes of play, he hope they would back and bounce back they did. 

Keith Earls goes over for Ireland  Pic taken: Sportinglife.ie


The Second half was mostly dominated by the Irish side and saw them starting to make inroads early on against their hosts, when Ian Henderson dived over the line from yard or two out to see Ireland trailing 21-15 with Paddy Jackson then converting the extra points after his penalty in the first half.

Keith Earls thought he was in for his second try of the match close to the hour-mark, but replays shown that Rob Kearney had stepped out of bound hitting the whitewash prior to passing to Earls after a great tackle by Sean Maitland by the touchline. Ireland though didn’t have to wait too long for a score after Ulster’s Paddy Jackson went over for a try and a conversion, as he gave the visitors an unlikely 22-21 points lead with less than twenty minutes to go.

Scotland then moved back in front thanks to the boot of Greig Laidlaw, as the Gloucester man kicked over a penalty with less than eight minutes of the contest remaining to see the Scots 24-22 up. In the dying stages of the game it saw Ireland conceding another penalty and this gave Laidlaw the chance to finish the job off and he duly obliged, as he kicked over the penalty through the posts and started an almighty roar from the Murrayfield masses, as Scotland shocked Ireland with a 27-22 points win.

Greig Laidlaw arms aloft as Scotland beat Ireland  Pic taken: TheMirror


angleterre England 19  –  16  France   france_rugby_logo-svg

England opened up the defence of their Six Nations crown against France, in what is traditionally known as ‘Le Crunch’ when the two sides come up against one another. Eddie Jones men were going in search of a 15th straight win on the bounce as they welcomed ‘Les Bleus’ to Twickenham for the Saturday tea time kick off, but they were off to a shaky start after France led through a Camille Lopez penalty six minutes in, until Owen Farrell then levelled things with a penalty later on.

Johnny May was shown a yellow card for a tackle on Gael Fickou, and that saw England down to 14 men for the next ten minutes of play. Lopez slotted over the resulting penalty for France, before adding another with the kick until Farrell again responded soon after. Elliott Daly’s Thor-like hammer with the boot, saw him making the match all-square three minutes before half time and saw the teams head for the locker room at 9-9.

Salmani scores for France   Pic Taken: ESPN RUGBY


It would be fair to say that it wasn’t the most exciting rugby that Eddie Jones’s men have played during their 14 game winning streak, but they surely couldn’t have played any worse in the second half and would have been happy to go level at the break.

Daly then thought he had put his side in front with a try in the opening six minutes of the second, but his boot has just gone of play before he grounded the ball for the try and so it was waved off. France with an advantage being played in their favour saw them retaking the lead after a Farrell penalty, after a good quick French move saw Loann Gourdon fed the incoming Rabah Slimani who was up in support, and he went over for a try to see ‘Les Bleus’ ahead once more.

England's Owen Farrell celebrates with team mates after the game
England celebrate their 15th straight win  Pic taken: Cyprus Mail


England then retook the lead again through their debutante in the ‘Red Rose’ jersey in Worcester Warriors Ben T’eo, as he finished off a nice move that put the hosts 19-16 up and saw Farrell adding the extra two with ten minutes of play left to go. France tried their best to come back at the home side one last time, but England’s defensive unit was solid to snuff out their last chance and have the referee blow his whistle to signify England victorious again and make it 15 wins on the spin for the Six Nations holders.

        italian_rugby_federation_logo-svg    Italy 7 – 33 Wales   welsh_rugby_union_logo-svg

In the Sunday afternoon game, it saw Wales facing Italy in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and for best part of the first half it saw the Welsh having the better of the play and looked the likeliest side to score first. However Italy on the half-hour broke the deadlock through Edoardo Gori, as the Italians maul moved forward at a speed and carried them over the line and scoring the opening try of the contest.

Italy celebrate the opening try:   Pic taken: YahooSports


Two penalties by Leigh Halfpenny either side of the half put Wales one point behind, before a tackle on Ross Moriarty by Abraham Steyn saw match official JP-Doyle referring it to the video ref to check and the result was a penalty to the visitors and Halfpenny kicked over and handed Wales a 12-7 lead with thirty-minutes of play left.

Wales came close to a try near the hour mark when the forwards broke free of the Italian defence and saw Justin Tipuric finding Captain Alun-Wynn Jones up in support as the Welsh ploughed forwards up to the Italian line. Rhys Webb then darted into a small gap with some Italian defenders hoping to stop the try from happening and after the video ref was brought in for help, it saw the decision being no try with the ball being held up.

Andrea Lovotti was then yellow carded for the home side and gave the numerical advantage in Wales favour and that saw Jonathan Davies sliding over for a try to give his side a score and one that been a long time in coming for in the men in Red.  With the penalty on Lovotti still in progress, it saw Wales making the most of their extra man advantage counting and this time Liam Williams collected a pass by the touchline and saw easily scoring to put Wales 24-7 up, before Halfpenny added two further points to the Welsh total.

Jonathan Davies scoring for Wales:    Pic taken: Sky Sports


George North than completed the scoring in the game with three minute to play, after a long kick was gathered by Sam Davies just outside the Welsh 22-metres line, and after he evaded a couple of tackles he passed it out wide to North who ran over half the length of the pitch to score Wales third try of the match and give the scoreline a more decisive look to it now. Wales claimed victory but claim a try bonus point from the game, as they missed out by not scoring four in the match and that could prove crucial with the new bonus points added to this year’s competition.

Their next game is at home to England on Saturday in the evening kickoff at the Principality Stadium (formerly Millennium Stadium), as it promises to be a huge game between the two arch rivals and could arguably decide where the title go this year already.


Brady leads New England to a ‘Miracle’ at Superbowl

83f356f6f0fdaf290c3cfa62b02fb410y71myf8mlwlk8lbgagh3fd5e0  New England Patriots  34 – 28  Atlanta Falcons 299

New England Patriots claimed a fifth Superbowl title and their second in three years in what was arguably the greatest comeback not only in NFL Superbowl history, but possibly in all of sports too. The Boston based side came back from the biggest points deficit ever in a Superbowl, to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy once again. The Atlanta Falcons were 21-3 points up at half time and cruising, before Patriots quarterback Tom Brady produced one of the greatest performances ever seen at a Superbowl as dragged his team not just from the jaws of defeat but the throat of of defeat, to see the Patriots recording a stunning 34-28 points victory at Superbowl LI at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

A scoreless first quarter between the sides saw Atlanta looking the more likelier to break the deadlock, as Devonta Freeman caused the Patriots trouble throughout the game as he was picking up yards for fun and a 37-yard carry by the Falcons man was the longest run in the quarter. New England struggled offensively and saw Deion Jones causing a fumble off LeGarrette Blount to see Robert Alford recovering the ball for the Falcons and had them in complete control. Atlanta’s quarterback Matt Ryan made two passes to Julio Jones who got them into good field position and that allowed Devonta Freeman to finish off the drive with success, as he ran in for a 5-yard touchdown to see Atlanta go 7-0 up.

With New England still unable to get a score or look likely at that point to score, it saw Ryan and his Falcons offense moving up the field once more and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper was caught in the endzone to have Atlanta leading 14-0 and make it an unbelievable first half for the side. The Patriots sideline was in utter shock and disbelief at what was happening out on the field and non were shocked than Patriots head coach Bill Belichick who saw his side being dominated in the game. Around the stadium people were in shock too with the majority of them being New England fans inside the NRG Stadium.

Tom Brady was having a nightmare game at this point in time, and saw him being ineffective with the ball for the Patriots as his receivers were unable to make any catches at all. His night got worse when he threw an interception to Robert Alford and the Falcons player ran in for a 82-yard score and saw the Falcons crushing the odds on favourite New England Patriots 21-0 and was threatening to become one-sided.

In all the Superbowl’s that Brady had been involved in not once had they been so far behind an opponent in the game, and the previous deficit was 10 points that he was forced to bring his side back from. Atlanta’s defence had spent the far majority of the second quarter on the field and was giving Matt Ryan and his offense a long long rest of it, with the Falcons not even needing Ryan on the field of play to score points.

With Atlanta being dominant and suffocating the New England offence, it did start to see some slight chinks in the Falcons armour appearing as towards the back end of the first half, as it saw the Falcons picking up three defensive penalties for holding and in doing so it helped the Patriots gain vital yards up field. With time on the half coming to an end it saw Stephen Gostkowski drilling a field goal to get the AFC Champions on the board with three second before the half came to a close.

Second half saw both teams unable to score on their opening drives and that meant that the Patriots were forced to punt to the Falcons. Atlanta’s Taylor Gabriel then connected on two passes that saw the Falcons continuing their march up field and their 85-yard drive was finished off by Tevin Coleman who caught a 6-yard pass and went in for the touchdown to see them lead 28-3 with 8:31 left in the third quarter. Those fans in Red shirts and everyone watching at that point in time seemed convinced that the Superbowl trophy was heading for Georgia as their opponents seemed crestfallen.

Falcons score Touchdown: Pic via TheSun

New England knew that if they didn’t start playing sooner rather than later, that this could become an embarrassment and even surpass their huge defeat back at Superbowl XX, when the Chicago Bear of 1985 destroyed the Patriots 46-10. Tom Brady wasn’t about to let that happen and saw him starting to get going much to joy of their fans.

After he run 15-yards himself and was the longest run by any Patriots player in the whole of the game, it gave his team a first down and finally within range of scoring their opening touchdown as James White who had their only stand out player for the opening three quarters, claiming a catch to see the Patriots getting it to 28-9. Gostkowski then missed the extra point attempt for New England and thoughts of this wasn’t going to be their day was still surfacing.

Stephen Gostkowski then tried an onside kick for the Patriots, but he managed to see the ball hitting him before it reached 10-yards and gave away a penalty which seemed to sum his day. Atlanta now saw them starting to struggle a bit going forward, which forced them to punt away as they were unable to get their offence moving as well as they done in the first half.

Atlanta were just fifth-teen minutes away from Superbowl glory and their cause was helped by Tom Brady getting sacked twice by Grady Jarrett, and he was proving to be big player in the Falcons defensive after making two huge plays in stopping Brady.  Goskowski then shrugged off his poor game to nail a 33-yard field goal for New England and make it 16 point ball game and give the Patriot fans in the stadium some hope that the impossible might be possible.

Atlanta needed some much needed points quickly if just to keep the pressure on the Patriots, but instead on their third play of the drive Dont’a Hightower caused Ryan to fumble the football and give New England possession in the process. Danny Amendola then made a 6-yard catch to get his side back within two scores of tying the game up if they were able to score 2 two-point conversions. New England faked a high snap to Brady and saw everyone looking at the quarterback instead of James White, who went in for a two-point conversion to make it a 28-20 game with 5:56 in the game.

Tom Brady celebrates a Touchdown Pic via: Dailynews

This performance by Tom Brady was becoming special, but no-one knew how special it would go on to be as the contest unfolded. In Atlanta’s penultimate drive of the fourth quarter, it saw some of their decision making being questionable and would prove to be one of the talking points later in the game. From kick off it saw Greg Hardy choosing to run the ball instead of letting it go out of bounce in the endzone possibly, which would have given the Falcons a much chance with field position for their drive.  

Ryan though did manage to engineer a move up field for Atlanta, while Freeman was continuing to get good yardage on plays and then saw Julio Jones, who had been a player that wasn’t used far enough in the game by Atlanta, but he made a fantastic acrobatic 27-yard catch by the sidelines to see them in field goal range. T

The Falcons were in great position and arguably should have closed the game out too considering where they were. Everyone expected the side to just keep running the football and gain extra inches or yards on the drive and move them up field a bit a more, but instead a 1-yard loss from Freeman saw them moved back a touch and then had a 9-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu cancelled out thanks to a holding penalty and saw Atlanta now 3rd and 33 on the New England 45 yard line.

With an incomplete throw by Matt Ryan, it gave the Patriots a final chance of getting this game tied up with 3:30 left to go in the contest and plenty of time for another Brady special, but also crucially they had all their timeouts still intact. Passes by Brady to Chris Hogan for 16-yards and then Malcolm Mitchell for 11-yards, saw the Pats’ move up field with ease and against a tiring Falcons defence now.

For years New England and their fans have been forced to watch replays of Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse juggling catch against them at Superbowl XLIX a couple of years ago, and then of course the infamous ‘Helmet Catch’ by David Tyree of the New York Giants at XLII of which the Giants beat the Patriots in for the second Superbowl in as many years.

Julian Edelman, Keanu Nealm Ricardo Allen
New England Patriots’ Julian Edelman makes a catch as Atlanta Falcons’ Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal defend, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This time however the Patriots would have their own moment of brilliance coming their way, when a pass by Brady was deflected up in the air by Alford and saw three Falcons players and Edelman all trying to make the grab, but the ball bounced off the ankle of Alford and saw the diving Patriots man making a stunning catch inches off the ground to see New England now having the momentum and having the game swinging massively in their favour.

Atlanta challenged the play to with they burned their final timeout over with a coaches challenge. Brady would go on to make exceptional plays and had him leading his team up to the 1-yard line, before White scored again and made it a two-point game at 26-28, before Brady found Amendola in the endzone to tie the game up at 28-28 and see the Superbowl heading to its first ever overtime.

Atlanta got the ball in the closing stages, but they were nowhere near to getting a chance to kick a field goal and so we headed into unheralded territory of overtime. New England won the coin toss and elected to receive, with saw the four-time champions having the chance to win the game and left Atlanta a broken side after watching Tom Brady basically producing the most stunning performance in Superbowl history.  

An incomplete pass to Martellus Bennett saw De’Vondre Campbell called for a pass interference and that penalty took the Patriots to the Falcons 2-yard line and a first down for New England. Vic Beasley almost intercepted a pass from Bennett and that proved to be the last action for the Falcons, when James White went over for his third touchdown in the game and also the Superbowl winning score too, as he stretched out to break the pane before his knee touched the ground. That score gave New England an unbelievable come from behind victory take it 34-28 over the Atlanta Falcons and claim a franchise record 5th Superbowl crown.

The games MVP could only go to one man and whether you love him or hate him you had to take your hat off to the performance of Tom Brady who literally dragged his team from oblivion, and then produced the greatest comeback of all-time and sports period, as you have to remember they were 21-3 points down and looked dead and buried at half time to then comeback and take victory.

The trophy presentation was an interesting one to say the least, as NFL Commissioner Robert Goodell handed the trophy over to Robert Kraft the Patriots Owner and after his speech was drowned out by the New England fans booing him, this was after the Commissioner suspended Tom Brady for his part in ‘Deflategate’ last season in a playoffs match against Indianapolis.

With Goodell walking off stage right, it gave Kraft the open mic and had the following to say in his Superbowl winning speech: “Two years ago, we won our fourth Super Bowl down in Arizona and I told our fans that was the sweetest one of all. But a lot has transpired over the last two years,” Kraft said, as the crowd, sensing where he was going, roared in response. “And I don’t think that needs any explanation. But I want to say to our fans, to our brilliant coaching staff, our amazing players who were so spectacular: this is unequivocally the sweetest.”

Tom Brady then collected the MVP of the Superbowl and was emotional in his speech to the crowd and his final words to the New England fans was: “Boston, we’re bringing this sucker home!”. This performance by Brady leaves no one in any doubt now that he is the G.O.A.T and some have even been quoted as saying that this would be a perfect way to retire and bow out, as nothing will ever surpass this moment. However you get the sense that there is still a few more years left in the Patriots ’12’.

Storm fall to the Blaze

primarystorm2015logo-1 Manchester Storm    4  –  5  Coventry Blaze AOTimages

Manchester Storm saw their overtime hoodoo continuing to haunt them this past Saturday night as they were defeated by the Coventry Blaze 5-4 in overtime at the Altrincham Ice Arena. Two goals by Barry Almeida including the overtime winner helped the Blaze to victory and moves the Midlands side within two points of their defeated opponents thanks to the win.

For almost half of the opening period of play it saw Manchester dominating and dictating the game their way and putting the Blaze under severe pressure from the off. Brian Stewart and the Coventry defence were forced to be switched on from the opening puck drop, as they had to repel shot after shot after shot from the Storm shooters.

Coventry have twice shutout the Storm already this season and with the way they played and protected the net, it wouldn’t have been a shock if they were able to make it a third time.

Manchester went on their second powerplay of the period as Ashley Tait collected a slashing call against him and yet again saw the Storm unable to register a goal with the extra man advantage. One thing has been a constant problem for Manchester this season has been the amount of times players have left the penalty box and jumped up on the play or had clear run on goal.

This time saw Tait leaving the box and found himself on a 2 on 1 break for the Blaze which was led by Robin Bergman skating down the left, before he then played in Tait who scored past Mike Clemente for the game opener at 8:09 to see the visitors ahead.

Coventry then turned the tables on the home side and saw them taking it to their hosts for the duration of the opening period, while Manchester were left dumbstruck and rattled by the Blaze goal that came really against the run of play.

The home side seemed to be in a state of shock and saw Manchester having another chance on the powerplay, but saw the highlight of it being Bergman skating circles at mid-ice much to the joy of Coventry fans and much to the frustration of the home side.

Dallas Ehrhardt then dropped the gloves with Garrett Klotz and saw both sitting for five minutes for fighting after the scrap, with the home side needing a spark from somewhere and the Storm man tried to ignited one for his side to get back in it.


Photos by Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Ross Venus then doubled the lead for the visitors at 17:16 in the first, when some slack defending saw Liam Stewart and Ashley Tait combining to see Tait firing a pass across the face of goal for Venus to turn in and put the Blaze 2-0 up and deservedly so.

Second period saw the home side getting on the board at 27:55, after Darian Dziurzynski quick release flew past Brian Stewart in the Coventry goals to see the home side trailing by a goal and get them back in the contest.

Coventry was still looking the better side in the contest and had Clemente needing to make some good stops to help his side staying in the game with the Blaze threatening to score again. Eventually they did and that goal came from Barry Almeida 35 seconds from the end of the second period to put the away side 3-1 up.


Photos by Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Manchester needed a big period if they were to turn this game around in their favour and after three previous powerplays coming to nothing for the Storm, it saw them finally making good on their extra man advantage as Darian Dziurzynski and Trevor Johnson set up Matt Bissonnette whose one time shot found the back of the net and made it 3-2 at 43:28.

Less than a minute later it saw the home side squaring the game up at 3-3 through Czech forward Patrik Valcak, as he fired home to have the building explode and put the Blaze back on their heel a bit for the first time in the game since they opened the scoring back in the first period of play.


Photos by Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography

Sadly for the hosts Robin Bergman then netted for the visitors to put them back in front for the second time in the game at 45:33 and see the hosts winded by the blow as they fell behind 4-3.

Storm yet again came back against their opponents, as this time Dallas Ehrhardt was the man to provide the goal that tied the game up at 4-4 and saw the game becoming one of a overtime feel as the game headed into the final few minutes.

With the scores tied after 60 entertaining minutes of hockey, it saw this back and forth contest heading to overtime to determine who would claim the extra league point.

Coventry needed only 39 seconds of the overtime period to take the victory in the game, as Almeida skated free at the back post to put home past Clemente and give the Blaze in truth a deserved win in which the Storm made far too many errors than normal and allowed the away side to cash in on them on.

Match Stats:

Manchester Storm: Patrik Valcak 1+1, Darian Dziurzynski 1+1, Dallas Ehrhardt 1+0, Matt Bissonnette 1+0, Trevor Johnson 0+3 Eric Neilson 0+1, Taylor Dickin 0+1

Coventry Blaze: Barry Almeida 2+0, Ashley Tait 1+1, Ross Venus 1+0, Robin Bergman 1+1, TJ Syner 0+2, J Jorgensen 0+1, Jordan Pietrus 0+1, Russ Cowley 0+1, Brett Robinson 0+1, Matt Marquardt 0+1, Liam Stewart 0+1

Shots on Goal : STORM 39  –  BLAZE 36 

Netminders :  

Mike Clemente  – Storm (31 Saves) 86.1%    –    Brian Stewart  – Blaze (35 Saves) 89.7%


Manchester  1-5  (20%)   Coventry  0-3 (0%)



Coventry Stun Oxford In Cup Upset

bl1437130630744                                            1424286718_fc-oxford-united


The Magic of the FA Cup doesn’t just apply to the Men’s game, as this weekend saw the Third Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup taking place and Coventry United Ladies of the FA Women’s Premier League caused a big upset at Park Meadow in Coleshill with a 2-0 win over WSL (Women’s Super League) 2 side Oxford United Ladies to book their place in the Fourth Round of the Cup.

From the kickoff the home side set out their stall early and put Oxford under a great deal of pressure and that good build up saw the hosts taking the lead with five minutes gone in the cup-tie, when a Helen Dermody corner was headed home by Alison Hall to see United leading 1-0.

Photo via: Jeff Bennett Photography


In fairness it was no more than the hosts deserved for their good play and had their opponents on the back foot throughout in the game. Coventry did have some advantage going their way heading into the match, as this was Oxford’s first game of the year with all WSL sides not playing in the winter currently and Coventry was in the middle of their season so far.

Coventry were using their play to good effect and was causing problems down the flanks for Oxford too as the United side used their wide play to their advantage and saw crosses into the area being flapped at or not dealt with the Oxford defence of goalkeeper. Alison Hall was a constant thorn in the sides for the visitors in the entire first half, as she was getting in good positions and giving the defence a bit of a runaround and was creating some chances for her teammates too.

Coventry then had a great shout for a penalty turned down by the referee after Amber Hughes went down inside the box under a bit of contact from the Oxford defender, but the match official waved it off. Despite their claims of a spot kick turndown, it would have been easy for the home side to lose their concentration and allow their visitors back in it, but instead it saw the home side continuing to threaten the goal again through a Ashleigh Neville shot from outside the area that just went wide of the mark.

Maz Gauntlett then saw her half-volley brilliantly saved by Demi Lambourne in the Oxford goals, with the keeper managing to push it over the bar for a corner and have Coventry still in search of a second goal in the game. Oxford then began to mount a couple of attacks themselves but it saw the home side managing to stifle their chances and clearing away. United’s defence was more than equal to anything that their opponents would throw at them in the game and instilled more confidence in the hosts and even saw them going close to a second goal, when Hall again was in the thick of the action as after a Neville cross came in for the striker to attack the ball was a tad too high for Hall to connect well on and saw the ball going out for a goal kick instead.

Both teams in the second half had half-chances in the contest in which didn’t produce many clear cut efforts for either side but did see the keepers doing more in the contest. Sue Wood in the Coventry United goals was merely a spectator in the whole of the first half, as surprisingly she didn’t have much to do for a majority of the game. Oxford were being being to the punch on everything and looked very rusty as you would expect, but even they would have been disappointed with how they were playing and their lack of creativity in the game was a worry for them too.

It is also worth noting that the home side had kept six successive clean sheets in and that record had looked to be tested when they came up against stronger opposition from the WSL.

Photo via: Jeff Bennett Photography


Coventry Ladies hadn’t reached the Fourth Round of the Cup since breaking away from Coventry City in 2015 and that stat looked like changing ten minutes into the second half, when Jade Formaston managed to escape from three Oxford players tackles before then unleashing a thunderbolt from the right foot that found the back of the net to put the hosts firmly in control at 2-0 up.  

Oxford very nearly hit back with a goal minutes later, when a shot on goal beat the keeper but didn’t beat the woodwork as the ball travelled across the face of goal and was quickly whipped away from danger. The visitors moved their attacking play up a notch in terms of trying to find a goal to get them back into the game, but their lack of decent chances was down to Coventry’s back line being solid and not giving the away side anything to get to excited about and saw them getting frustrated by the lack of chances coming their way.

The tie opened up a bit more in the way of attacks for both teams, as Oxford pressed more but Coventry looked the likelier to score in fairness. After her stunning goal that doubled the lead for the hosts, Jade Formaston then spotted Lambourne off her line and attempted to chip the keeper with an effort but the Oxford goalie saw it coming coming and was able to grab the ball safely and avoid going back over the line with it.

Photo : Jeff Bennett Photography

As the game went ticked by and passed the 90th minute mark in the cup-tie, it saw Oxford Women almost accepting defeat now and knowing that time had ran out for them this season in the competition. With the final passage of play petering out it saw the referee putting the whistle to his mouth and signalling for the end of the game and spark joyous scenes with the Coventry players and have their name going into the hat on Monday for the Fourth Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.