Manchester Mayhem 3 – 1 Cardiff Huskies
The Manchester Mayhem finally broke their duck in this season, thanks to a Karl Nicholson hat-trick that saw the Mayhem taking a 3-1 win over the Cardiff Huskies at Altrincham’s Planet Ice rink, in what was a tough and physical encounter between the sides.
Manchester welcomed back two players who missed out last season due to injuries in forwards Pat Bailey and Dom Cosgrove, plus they also gave a debut to Canadian International Peggy Assinck for the clash with the Huskies. Both teams entered the fixture on the back of heavy losses to leaders Kingston and a draw away at Peterborough.
Play in the first was dominated by the goalies, with Cardiff’s Gareth Rees and Manchester’s Dougy Hankinson both making some superb saves to deny the forwards with a string of brilliant stops. Ty Christopher went very close for the Huskies inside the opening minute of play with a shot that rang the pipework.
Christopher was denied twice by Hankinson from a double-save soon after, as the netminder kept the Cardiff attacker at bay. A chance then fell to Pat Bailey who got behind the Huskies defence but couldn’t beat the goalie and saw Rees making the initial stop and then saw a wayward shot missing the target.
- Mayhem’s Anthony Booth fending off Hannah Farmer of the Huskies Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography
The big-hitting started with a huge collision with Bailey lining up Cardiff’s Josh Campbell to put the attacker off at the last minute as the home side got caught out while on a power play. Both teams were creating chances but just weren’t able to find an end product and see a scoreless first.
Play in the second was very scrappy – with both defences smothering the others attacks for much of the period, that was until Karl Nicholson grabbed the opening goal of the game with a quick release that beat the goalie to put the Mayhem one up at 22.23.
Later on in the period, it saw the feistiness starting to come out more between the two sides following Pat Bailey and Gareth Rees exchanging words following the Manchester man going after a loose puck that was still loose under the netminders’ glove and saw the Cardiff goalie none too happy with the whacks he was receiving.
Nicholson had a great chance to put the home side two up after he broke away up ice on a breakaway, but it saw his shot saved with the helmet of netminder Rees and made an awful crack that brought a whistle. Manchester did eventually double their lead at 27.27 – as a second goal in the period for Karl Nicholson saw the Mayhem forward shooting from range and had it looping up over the goalie for 2-0.
As the game headed to the third and final period, it saw two-goal forward in Karl Nicholson going close again with a blast around the defence and in on goal but Rees came up big yet again to stop him. Cardiff then pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 through Ty Christopher, as the forward picked up the puck at neutral ice and bamboozled the Manchester defence before firing home.
- Rob Allen keeping his eyes on the puck Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography
That goal gave the Huskies a type of second wind in the game and forced the tempo on the home side and drew panic within the Mayhem ranks for the next few minutes, and was seriously under the cosh. Manchester’s coach Pete Hagan then called a timeout to try and steady the ship and settle his side down after the Huskies scored, as the hosts seemed to have taken their foot off the gas.
Those words seemed to have an immediate effect on the Mayhem and had the hosts regaining some control of the game and saw their new signing Peggy Assinck, shoring up the back line for Manchester, plus she wasn’t shy in shouting instructions from the penalty box having collected a delay of game call.
With Cardiff still pushing for a tying goal in the contest – it saw the home side managing to kill the game off thanks to Karl Nicholson completing his hat-trick with a shot that took a deflection off Andrew Swinfen and end up in the net to seal victory for Mayhem and took the wind out of the Welsh sides’ sails with over a minute an a half left.
Cardiff coach Andy Brown spoke on the performance of his side, by saying:
“Personally, I think the side played well in parts, we controlled the game in certain areas and our rookies got a good chunk of ice time. We missed a few key players and as a result, some of our linking play went awol, but on the whole, I think the result was fair and Manchester took their chances”.
When asked if the missed chances cost them, he answered; “Yes, our missed chances did prove costly, we seemed to break through a lot and get to the red zone, but couldn’t seem to get the puck between the pipes. We were shooting from all angles in the attacking zone but could never seem to actually score. Thus we will work on this for our next game Vs Sheffield.“
For Manchester, they recorded their first win of the season to see them leapfrogging Cardiff into the third spot and after the game, Mayhem coach Pete Hagan seemed happy with his teams’ performance;
“It was a tough game and the last two games we have had has given us a bit of bad luck….and I think it showed in our play. Hopefully, this will boost the boy’s confidence and hopefully, it can kick-start our season”
He also touched on the welcomed returns of Pat Bailey and Dom Cosgrove, saying; “I think they got into it, a little rusty, but hopefully that’s blown the cobwebs off and can get back in it. As the game wore on, they got more into it”.
On the performance of new signing Peggy Assnick, he was full of praise, saying; “Peggy helped stabilise the D, her experience really showed and hopefully, we get to see a few more games out of her during the season”.