Manchester Hockey teams agree ‘unique’ Partnership

The PLS Solicitors/ Victory Hockey sponsored Manchester Mayhem announced an ‘exciting’ partnership with their bigger brothers in the shape of British Ice Hockey’s Elite League side the Manchester Storm Ice Hockey Club this past Wednesday, as both sides play out of the Planet Ice Altrincham rink, so it makes sense to have both sides trying to work together and start a great partnership for all connected with Manchester Hockey.

Following their regular season programme coming to a close after their fiesty two-all game this past Saturday in Hull, it sees the Mayhem now currently occupying second place in the British Para Ice Hockey League table and can’t finish less than third in the standings.

The news of this announcement will come as a huge boost for the side ahead of their playoffs weekend next month in Widnes and will look to set the wheels in motion of big things for the club in the future. It is breaking new ground for hockey in Manchester and Britain too, that Para Hockey and Ice Hockey are seeking to work together and hopefully give this exciting sport some exposure from this unique partnership.

As part of the partnership with the Storm, the Mayhem will be helping to sell 50/50 tickets during the Elite games and will see the Playoffs champions getting a slice of the profits too made too that night. With the announcement made of the link-up, it saw the respective parties giving their views on the news:

Storm’s sponsorship and marketing consultant, Liam Hesketh said the following on the clubs website;

“Manchester Storm are excited about this partnership with our rink-mates the Manchester Mayhem, strengthening the brand of top-level ice hockey in the North West. We look forward to welcoming Mayhem players and fans to our games, and Storm fans will enjoy being able to see high-level hockey played through the summer months during the Elite League off-season.”

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Manchester Mayhem Para Ice Hockey Club   Photo: 98 Yetiiis Photography

Head coach of the Mayhem side in Pete Hagan spoke on his feelings of the partnership, saying;

“This is a great opportunity to promote our sport to hockey fans in Manchester. So on that front, it’s exciting for the sport as I believe it’s undiscovered by many…hopefully, that will change.

Hoping this shows Storms commitment to the community and to help promote all forms of hockey. It’s promoting both teams and hopefully, utilising Storms team, we can help promote ourselves and help to raise funds for us to help grow the sport.

Hopefully, we can provide another route for Storm fans to enjoy the game and participate as well. For the future, we’ve had talks about some interesting ideas and some joint projects….but gotta leave a little mystery for now lol”

What the future holds for the North West’s only Sledge Hockey/Para Hockey side in anyone’s guess, but hopefully it results in more exposure and a bright future for the Mayhem to boot.

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Mayhem & Kestrels play out a fiery draw

KINGSTON KESTRELS 2-2 MANCHESTER MAYHEM

Saturday afternoon saw a controversial and stormy game played out between the league and playoff champions at the Hull Arena, with both Great British Internationals Matt Clarkson and Karl Nicholson bagging a brace each for their respective sides in a 2-2 draw.

Kingston inflicted a huge 9-1 home loss on the Mayhem in the opening league fixture of the season, although, Manchester remain the only side in the league to have scored past the Kestrels this year in their previous six games.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for the visitors, as Matt Clarkson put the hosts ahead inside the opening minute of play, as thirty-four seconds had been played in the game. Manchester was forced to weather the storm of the home side, as the Kestrels went in search of a second and needed a couple of stops from their netminder Darren Pomfret.

The Mayhem were under the cosh for most of the first period and had their coach Pete Hagan not pleased with what he was seeing from his side. As the period grew, Manchester managed to regroup and hold firm at the back, while also creeping their way back into the contest.

In the second period, Manchester tied things up thanks to their captain Karl Nicholson, after a rare assist from their goaltender saw the puck heading up ice and saw the Mayhem forward outpacing Fitzgerald of the Kestrels to then put the puck by Ian Houliston for a 1-1 game.

Later in the period, it saw Nicholson getting sent crashing into the boards by a member of the home side and had the forward down on the ice in clear distress. The GB man managed to block out the pain carry on in the contest. Anthony Booth was then called for a holding penalty against him with minutes left in the second and saw the hosts restoring the lead once again, with Matt Clarkson added his second on the power play to make it 2-1.

As the game headed to the third, it began to see the game simmering and in danger or boiling over. Those predictions would come true, as Manchester wasn’t happy with the sledge of Matt Clarkson, as they deemed it to be broken and therefore illegal equipment. With the match officials discussing the problem and having neither side happy, it saw Clarkson begrudgingly forced off-the-ice until his sledge was fixed.

With tempers fraying on both sides, it saw the Mayhem scoring the equalising goal with a bit of a helping hand from their opponents. After the Kestrels won the faceoff deep in the Manchester zone, it saw the pass back overhit and put Anthony Booth through for a one on one with the Kingston goalie and saw Houliston making the save, however, the puck fell loose and saw a Kestrels man running into his goalie and taking him out of the play which then allowed Nicholson to put home for a 2-2 score.

The remaining ten minutes of play saw both teams having chances at either end, but neither could find a way past either goalie. Kingston hit the pipe late on and the best chance fell in the final ten seconds to Karl Nicholson, who found himself one on one with a chance to win the game for the Mayhem, but Houliston again denied the Mayhem from recording a famous victory and saw it end all square.

That wasn’t the end of the action though, as, on the sound of the horn, the Kestrels side weren’t happy with Graham Wilson and saw one of their players taking a shot at him from behind and saw a little scrum with both teams and marred what was a very entertaining and physical game of hockey.

Early Playoff chirping started between the teams and could see the sides renewing acquaintances once again in the final of the Playoffs that takes place in Widnes over the weekend of September 29th-30th.

Manchester POTM: 22. Peggy Assinck

Kingston POTM: 10. Simon Berry

Mayhem make it three on the spin

MANCHESTER MAYHEM 5 – 1 PETERBOROUGH PHANTOMS

Manchester Mayhem rounded off their home programme in the British Para Ice Hockey League for 2018 with a 5-1 victory over a short-benched Peterborough Phantoms side at Altrincham this past Saturday evening, as their victory made it three wins in a row and set a new club record in the process.

When the sides met earlier in the season down in Bretton it saw on that occasion a short-benched Mayhem side throwing away a 4-2 lead late-on and end up drawing 4-4. This time, however, saw the shoe on the other foot, with the Peterborough team tracking just one line for the whole game – exactly like Manchester did in the reverse fixture.

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Karl Nicholson looks for a pass Credit: 98 Yetiiis Photography

Both teams entered the clash with differing hopes, for the home side, it was a chance to put some space between themselves and their opponents, while also trying to catch Cardiff in second place.

In the case of Peterborough, it was more a case of trying to score some much-needed goals for themselves, as finding the back of the net has been problematic of late in recent games.

It saw the game being played in a hard and physical way, with Manchester clearly the aggressors and having their tails up after recent thrashings of Sheffield. Both goalies were called upon early on the contest, with Darren Pomfret of the Mayhem and David O’ Meara of the Phantoms making some routine stops.

Manchester nearly opened the scoring through their captain Karl Nicholson, when the Mayhem player had managed to spin away from Marty Quinn in the Phantoms back line, but he wasn’t able to beat O’Meara in goals who instead made a brilliant save to swat the rising puck away.

The home side continued to knock on the door of the Peterborough goals, but they always found the door firmly close by O’Meara. Eventually, they managed to find a way through, after a pass towards Anthony Booth from his captain saw the puck getting caught up under his sledge and saw Nicholson trailing behind to gather up and then find some room before netting the opener.

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Mayhem’s Karl Nicholson watches on as David O’Meara makes a save in Phantoms net Credit: 98 Yetiiis Photography

The opening period saw the Mayhem outshooting their opponents 12-6, with O’ Meara being made to face more rubber than he would have wanted to saw and had Pomfret having the easier time.

Towards the end of the period, it saw a nasty collision involving Peggy Assinck and Scotty Trigg-Turner, with the latter taking the full brunt off of a hit that saw the Mayhem player until to pull out of and ended up with her sledge nearly going over him and saw his neck snapping back a bit, but was purely accidental.

Manchester grabbed their second goal midway through the middle stanza when Rob Allen battled with two Peterborough players by the sideboards and saw the puck squirting out as far as Anthony Booth, who then played a nice little-backhanded pass towards the incoming Karl Nicholson and he slotted home to put a finish to a lovely move and put the Mayhem two up.

Peterborough was really struggling to generate much in the way of shooting chances in the game, and with the Mayhem defence being firmly on top, that meant that the Phantoms shots were being restricted to long-range efforts and not really troubling the netminder.

Anthony Booth then turned from provider to goalscorer in the 28th minute of the game, as his lobbed shot was stopped by O’Meara at first, but then saw the puck ending up in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead and gave Mayhem a nice three-goal cushion.

With forty-one seconds left in the second period, it saw Karl Nicholson completing his third successive hat-trick in a row, after a Graham Wilson pass up the side boards saw Rob Allen holding the puck up on the red line and saw his little pass forward towards Nicholson being collected and ending up with a low shot past the goalie for 4-0 and have the home side in full control.

Peterborough to their credit though never gave up despite showing signs of tiredness by the time the third period came around, as the ‘Phantoms five’ battled to end as best as they could.

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Peggy Assinck gets tight to Scotty Triggy-Turner Credit: 98 Yetiiis Photography

The visitors then pulled a goal back at 35.52 through their talisman Matt Coleman, after the GB International had managed to avoid the attempted hit from Pat Bailey and then saw him throwing the puck on goal at the near post and saw Darren Pomfret trying to bat the puck away like a cricketer and mistiming his strokeplay and saw the puck squeezing its way in.

Soon after saw target practice for the Mayhem, when virtually everyone on their line had a shot on goal and saw the defence for Peterborough or O’Meara himself having to fling himself one way or another, just to avoid having the puck going in.

Manchester rounded off the scoring from their captain Karl Nicholson, as the forward grabbing his fourth of the game and Mayhem’s fifth, with the GB attacker winning a face-off that saw his pass up to Rob Allen being held up and then getting the return pass before taking aim and firing home for 5-1 and see the home side signing off with a win in their final home game of the season.

Next up for the Mayhem is a tricky trip in Hull, as they face the back to back league champions in the Kingston Kestrels at the end of the month and perhaps try to strike an early blow against the champions before the Mayhem look to defend their playoff crown next month.

Manchester shutout Steelkings again

 Manchester Mayhem  7-0  Sheffield Steelkings

Manchester Mayhem made it back to back wins over their ‘White Rose’ neighbours from over the Pennines – in the Sheffield Steelkings, as five goals from their captain and forward Karl Nicholson led the way to victory in Widnes last Sunday.

It was a game that saw the ‘home’ side dominating from start to finish, with the Mayhem getting off to a very strong start and should have been ahead very early too but if not for Steelkings netminder Bryan Hackworth, then it would have been game over indeed.

Manchester enjoyed the lion share of possession in the first period of play and just for the life of them couldn’t find a goal that they deserved. Try as they might though, the Mayhem came up against a stubborn defensive unit in the Steelkings – who after scoring their first goals of the season last week against Cardiff – saw the visitors holding on against their opponents.

Their resistance was finally broken down 6.26 when Karl Nicholson pounced on a padded rebound at the front of the Sheffield net following a shot from Anthony Booth that saw the goalie making the initial stop, but couldn’t avoid the Mayhem man to put in to break the deadlock.

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Rob Allen eyes up the puck        Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography

After that goal, you then kind of expected the start of a goal fest from then on in the period, but credit to Sheffield, they held firm and looked to see out the opening stanza a goal down and managed to complete that objective. Manchester coach Pete Hagan will have been hugely disappointed to have his side scoring only once from 12 shots that they posted after the opening fifteen minutes.

If that floodgate was shut mostly in the first period, then the second period saw the Mayhem managing to kick down that gate with six goals in the period and killed the game off. Anthony Booth got the scoring underway in the second stanza after a puck was sent up ice from Peggy Assinck and was gathered by Booth at centre ice, as he weaved his way around two defensemen and saw his shot stopped by Hackworth but then trickled in for 2-0.

Booth then grabbed his second of the game just over two minutes later, as a poor clearance saw the Manchester forward gaining possession and then firing a low through traffic and found its way in the back of the Sheffield net for 3-0 at 19.02 and make it three for the Mayhem.

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Mayhem’s Peggy Assinck and Sheffield’s Rachel Paget battle        Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography

Karl Nicholson made it 4-0 just forty-four seconds later after Nicholson charged down a puck just outside his zone and saw the GB man finding himself clean through, and fired high to beat Hackworth and helped to increase the lead.

Sheffield had managed to stem the flow of goals going in for a nine-minute spell in the game, that was until three strikes late in the period made it a rout for the home side. Nicholson made it five at 28.21 after Dominic Cosgrove couldn’t pull the trigger on a pass by his captain, but Nicholson carried on skating and smashed home his hat-trick.

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Karl Nicholson roofs the puck past Bryan Hackworth           Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography

Straight from the restart, it saw Rob Allen winning the puck and then playing a pass out to Nicholson on the wing who chased the puck down and then went in on goal and fired home his fourth and Mayhem’s sixth.

Less than a minute later it was seven, as a well-worked goal saw Cosgrove getting onto the end of an Assinck pass up ice and a little turn by the Mayhem man allowed him to play in Karl Nicholson who finished it off for 7-0 with thirty seconds left on the second.

In the third, it saw Sheffield making a goalie change and saw Warren Hewitt making his way behind the pipes for the Steelkings and picked up a clean sheet in the third along with a contender for save of the season too off the shot of Cosgrove early on.

Manchester couldn’t find another goal in the game and so was forced to settle for what they had and give them a confidence booster ahead of their remaining two league games with Peterborough at home next week and then away at champions Kingston later in the month.

Mayhem v Steelkings – BPIHL

Absolute ‘MAYHEM’ in Sheffield as Manchester hammer Steelkings

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Manchester Mayhem finally found a cure for their travel sickness on the road this season, with a shutout victory against the Sheffield Steelkings 9-0 at Ice Sheffield on Saturday evening. Victory saw them closing the gap on the Cardiff Huskies in second and moved up to third in the league standings as well.

This was the first of the two ‘roses’ games due to take place this season, with the second due to take place in Widnes later next month. Last year, saw the Steelkings recording their first ever league points with a thumping 10-2 victory over the Manchester side at Ice Sheffield – so the Mayhem wanted revenge for that defeat last season.

Manchester was looked like a side on a mission from the opening face-off and could easily have been ahead inside the opening thirty-seconds of play with the Mayhem getting behind the Steelkings with ease. Netminding for Sheffield was going be important and saw Bryan Hackworth needing to be ready as the home side were on the backfoot.

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Mark Rhodes of Steelkings and Dom Cosgrove of Mayhem battle for puck   Pic: PETER BEST PHOTOGRAPHY

Anthony Booth had a couple of good chances and as saw one of his efforts nearly setting up a goal for Rob Allen, when the puck bounced off the goalies’ pads into the path of the Manchester man and brought a good save out of Bryan Hackworth in the Steelkings net.

Moments later, it saw the visitors finally breaking the deadlock at 3.55, after Mayhem captain Karl Nicholson chased down a loose puck that was played off the boards from Rob Allen and saw it falling nicely to the Nicholson – who pulled clear on goal and fired high past the goalie to put Manchester on the board.

Mayhem soon doubled their lead less than two minutes later, after Anthony Booth flipped it high in the Sheffield net to put the home side deep in trouble. The play was virtually down the Steelkings end all period and saw Booth adding a third at 11.40 as the away side was being to stamp their mark early in this game.

With Manchester outshooting their opponents 12-1 in the opening period of play, it saw the Mayhem being just as ruthless in the second stanza, with the visitors adding five further strikes to the goals column. With Sheffield trailing at the first break three goals down, they found themselves conceding early on in the period as Manchester didn’t let up in attack and has captain Karl Nicholson making it 4-0 with a low shot.

Minutes later, it saw the trio of Rob Allen, Anthony Booth and Karl Nicholson all linking up to have the Mayhem extending their lead further for 5-0 at 19.42 and see Nicholson completing his hat-trick. Sheffield then began to hit some penalty trouble, with Barry Grayson and Rachel Paget both having to serve time for their crimes so to speak. A powerplay goal from Karl Nicholson saw him netting his fourth of the game and Manchester’s sixth of the game.

The game also saw the Manchester side playing rookie for this season in James Rogerson, and the defenseman had a very solid game and made some vital interceptions to displayed some slick stick handling at times too. Manchester was very impressive in snuffing out any attacks that Sheffield tried to create and that was mostly down to the defensive pairing of Graham Wilson and Canadian Peggy Assinck.

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Mayhem’s Graham Wilson and Peggy Assinck tangle with Sheffield’s Jake Oakley    Pic: PETER BEST PHOTOGRAPHY

At the other end of the ice, the forwards were enjoying themselves in front of goals and saw Anthony Booth completing his hat-trick too in the final minute of the second and have the hosts 8-0 down with no answer for their Roses rival.

For Sheffield, it saw the Steelkings failing to register a single shot in the whole of the second period and with the final period yet to play, it seemed like it would be another long fifteen minutes ahead for the home side. As play got underway in the third, it was started off much in the similar vein as the previous two periods with the Mayhem side putting the hosts under the cosh and testing Hackworth.

Despite holding out well for an extended period in the third, it saw the hosts being unlocked once again by some neat passing play after a one-two between Nicholson and Bailey saw the Manchester captain finishing off the move after a lovely weighted pass back to him, saw Nicholson then taking it around the goalie and sliding home for a 9-0 score.

Much to the home sides’ credit though, they kept battling away and saw Wayne Plummer getting the hosts first decent chance in the game but he was stopped by Doug Hankinson. Sheffield grew in belief and saw a chance falling to Matt Roche, but he couldn’t beat Hankinson either and made some good stops.

It saw the Steelking enjoying their only purple patch in the game, as Barry Grayson battled and scrapped his way through on goal, but Hankinson denied him a goal and saw Matt Franklin waiting to poach on the doorstep, but he was left disappointed.

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Bryan Hackworth shows off the puck    Pic: PETER BEST PHOTOGRAPHY

As the hooter sounded to signal the end of the game, it saw Manchester claiming two league points and helped push them upwards to third place in the league standings and leapfrogging Peterborough as a result.

Manchester Mayhem head coach Pete Hagan was delighted when I spoke to him after the game, telling me; “Really pleased by the result, although a few things we need to work on for future games, we manage to give a few of our new & returning players some shifts, so that bodes well going forward. Peggy (Assinck) was great and deserved her MVP award, a real calming influence at the back”.

 

Clinical Huskies Storm to Victory

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Cardiff executed a brilliant game plan to send their opponents back home empty handed, as the Manchester Mayhem continued to be at a loss of finding an answer in a bid to cure their travel sickness in the league this season – as the Huskies forwards fired the home side to an 8-3 victory at the I.A.W in South Wales, thanks to a hat-trick by Ty Christopher, a brace from Paul Furber and further efforts from Josh Campbell and Russ Willey.

The hosts started the much brighter of the two to start with – with Paul Furber putting the Huskies ahead with a goal just five minutes of play and saw Manchester really struggling to contain the Cardiff attackers for much of the opening period of play. Mayhem needed their goaltender in Dougy Hankinson to make some good stops as he kept his side in it.

Late in the first, it saw Manchester being denied a chance on goal with a clear passage on goal – as the referee blew play dead due to a borderline offside call that went against the visitors and had the Mayhem side nor too happy with the decision.

Minutes later, Cardiff’s Tyler Christopher doubled the hosts lead just prior to the end of the period, as the Huskies deservedly led heading into the break. In the second, it saw the Mayhem coming out much the better than they did in the first, but their finishing left a lot to be desired and saw shots flying high and wide of the Huskies net, while up at the other end they were still going in, as Paul Furber grabbed his second of the game for a 3-0 lead.

For most of the middle stanza, the Mayhem gave as good as they got, and enjoyed long spells of possession with the puck – but they failed to test Gareth Rees in the Cardiff goals. Manchester then conjured up a goal right out of nothing through Rob Allen at 19.22, as the Manchester forward threw the puck on goal from the right-hand boards’ on the blue line and saw it nestling in the back of the net.

That goal seemed to spark the side to live, and soon after it was a one-goal game, with Karl Nicholson then putting the puck home for a 3-2 game and saw the visitors right back in the game.

Dean Lahan then put Cardiff on the power play after he served a delay of game call and the home side capitalised with Paul Furber grabbing his second goal of the game with a rising shot to beat Hankinson over his head to restore the two-goal lead at 4-2. 

Early in the third, Cardiff increased their lead to 5-2, thanks to a Tyler Christopher effort as he grabbed his second to see the Huskies flexing their goal-scoring muscles a bit more. Josh Campbell made it six with a close-range effort minutes later and effectively at that point put the game out of reach.

Rob Allen pulled a goal back for the Mayhem – but it was scant consolation, as the forward netted from an extremely tight angle to make it 6-3. There was a case to say that the scoreline was a tad harsh on the Mayhem, as they had looked equal to their opponents for the best part of the contest and could arguably say were better at times too, but it seemed to come down to their inability to find the net – something, that Cardiff had no trouble with at all.

In the dying minutes of the game, Manchester capitulated and led to Tyler Christopher used his stickhandling skills to great effect to make it 7-3 and completing his hat-trick, while Russ Willey put the exclamation point on the win and putting the final nail in the away sides’ coffin with an eighth goal to round off the contest. 

As the final whistle blew to signal the end of the contest, it saw the Mayhem coach in Pete Hagan seething as he headed to the changing room and was clearly not pleased with his side. What made the loss worse for Manchester, was that it would have given them a great chance to put more distance between themselves and Cardiff, ahead of their next two games with the bottom of the table Sheffield should they take both games. 

Para Hockey: Nicholson Treble Helps Mayhem In Victory

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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”.

 

 

Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup – update

The Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup for 2018 in Ostrava, Czech Republic is rapidly drawing to a close and after eighteen games of Para Ice hockey action, it’s time to take a look back at the tournament so far. At the time of this blog, the Final itself and the two semi-finals will not have taken place yet.

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Day one of the ‘Elite Division’ saw an absolute cracker of a contest to get the World Cup off to a bang, as the North American neighbours in Team Canada and the United States played out a seven-goal thriller, with the nation from the ‘Stars and Stripes’ pipping their foes north of the border to a 4-3 win.

It saw the Canadians lead 2-1 after the opening period of play, but the Americans reversed that scoreline in the second stanza to take a 4-2 advantage into the third period. Canada’s Nandini Sharma made it a tense finale with 51.3 seconds left in the game, but the US managed to hold onto the win and draw first blood in the tournament.

Canada didn’t have time to dwell on the loss, as they played the second of their two-games of the day against Team Europe and saw the side from the ‘Great White North’ firing on all cylinders with a thumping 13-0 thrashing to split their opening group games. Christina Picton led the way for the Canadians with a hat trick, while Raphaelle Tousignant, Emilie Robitaille and Jessica Matassa all collected a brace of goals in the rout.

Day two saw the US playing twice, as following their 5-0 in their first game against the European side, it then saw them facing off again against the Canadians and had a different outcome this time around to the previous day. A lone goal was by Canada’s Raphaelle Tousignant in the second period was the difference between the two and saw a split in the Round Robin series between the two hockey powerhouses.

On day three, Europe suffered losses in both their games against the US and Canada. It didn’t see the European side getting off to the best of starts in either game to be honest, as the first match saw the Americans taking an early four-goal lead with less than eight minutes played and had the side looking to stem the flow of goals being shipped. Much to the relief of the European side, they managed to see the rest of the first period out and all of second too and had them entering the final period trailing by those four early goals. However, the US made sure that they weren’t going to be blanked for another period of play and they managed to score a fifth for a 5-0 win.

Much like in their previous game at the start of the day against the United States, Europe once again found themselves behind the eight-ball pretty early on, as they fell four goals behind yet again in the first period. The Canadians managed to find the back of the net once in the second stanza to lead 5-0 going into the third and the final period. Canada found the twine four more times to win 9-0 and finished top of the standings with a goal difference of plus 22.

Saturday will see a deciding game between Team USA and Team Canada in the World Cup final, as it will also be a rematch of four years ago when the Americans lifted the first-ever World Cup thanks to a devastating performance by Kelsey DiClaudio who netted four times to beat the Canadians in their own backyard.

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This tournament has also presented a chance for players to grow their skills alongside the Main Event of the Women’s Elite Division, as the ‘Developmental Division’ has been introduced at this World Cup and has been an entertaining part to this tournament as a whole.

As said previously, this year’s World Cup features over ten countries taking part in this festival of Women’s Para Ice Hockey with eleven countries alone being involved in the Development Division.

 

Great Britain was able to ice two sides in this tournament, with d the GB team dubbed ‘GB Fangs’ fall to the Norwegians 5-0 in their opening game. GB Claws’ suffering a similar fate to what the ‘Fangs’ did, with a Finnish/Swedish mixed side handing the British side a 4-2 loss.

Meanwhile, the hosts were one of three joint sides in competition as had the Czechs joining forces with Croatia and in their first outing played out a 1-1 with the Netherlands.

The remaining game of the day saw the three mixed side, as a team made up of Australians and Scottish players recorded not only a 2-0 win but registered a shutout against France in the process.

 

Day two saw Norway and Holland playing out a thrilling game with the Norwegians edging the Dutch 4-3 to maintain their 100% start to the tournament. 

For the Great British duo, it saw both ‘Claws’ & ‘Fangs’ recording 2-1 victories in their respective matches. As the Fangs defeated the hosts and also saw the ‘GB Claws’ side beating the Aussies and Scottish side by the same score. 

Another side with an unbeaten record coming in the second day was the mix of players from Finland and Sweden, as the Nordic brotherhood racked up a comprehensive 9-0 win over France to remain perfect.

 

On the third day, Norway won 3-1 over the Croatia/Czech Republic team to move on to 6pts, while GB Fang’s shutout the Netherlands 1-0 to and trail Norway by two points in the standings.

The Great Britain Claws picked up a 2-1 victory over France, while the Nordic duo of Team Finland/Sweden remain with an unblemished record of three wins from three as they beat the Australia/Scotland squad 5-1.

Schedule:

GOLD MEDAL GAME / World Cup Final:

Canada v USA


 

Women’s World Cup Para Ice Hockey is coming

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This week sees the start of the second Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup taking place in Ostrava, Czech Republic, as this competition will boast more than 10 countries participating in this event. The organisers and players as well, have spoken off trying to expand the competition and in doing so highlight the Women’s game to which it is has attracted some attention from around the world as part of the Agitos Foundation. The Agitos Foundation is the leading global organisation that helps to changes lives and make everything contributing to an inclusive society for all with Para Sports being a key element in that plan.

The inaugural competition took place back in 2014 at Brampton, Ontario, Canada and on that occasion, it saw the United States of America being crowned the first World Cup winners of the tournament, as they beat the Canadians 5-1 in the final. Back then it saw the World Cup being played between three sides, with USA, Canada and European side.

At this year’s event, it sees the competition having two separate divisions taking place over the course of the six-day event. There is the Women’s Elite division, which is the same three sides as last time, with the best players from the US, Canada and Europe facing off against each other twice in a round robin style group, and where each side will have one day where they play two games. 

Meanwhile, the other side of things, sees a ‘Women’s Development Division’ running alongside the ‘Elite division’ of the competition with 8 teams battling it out. The hope of the development division it to give those participating a chance to learn and gain experience for future events and expand the game globally and the World Cup as a whole moving forward in the future. 

Countries taking part are Australia, France, Netherlands, Scotland, Norway and also two sides that have joint countries in the lineup – with the home nation in the Czechs teaming up with Croatia, while Finland and Sweden make up a Scandinavian duo. The remaining two sides in the division are from Great Britain and split into two teams with GB Fangs and GB Claws. 

On Saturday there will be an All-Star game taking place, with those players involved in the development division set up getting some ice time and also see the tournament culminate in two semifinals with the losers playing a Bronze medal game, while the winners advance to the Gold Medal game. 

 

Manchester hammered on opening night

Manchester Mayhem  1 – 9  Kingston Kestrels

Sunday evening saw the opening league game of the British Para Ice Hockey League taking place, with a clash of the champions from last year as the playoff champions the Manchester Mayhem welcomed the league champions in the Kingston Kestrels to Planet Ice Widnes and saw a nightmare game for the home side.

Last September saw the Mayhem inflicting the only defeat upon Kingston in the whole campaign last season, following a 3-2 win over the men from Hull in the playoff semi-finals and saw their opponents clearly not forgetting about it either. It saw the Kestrels dishing out a big bowl of revenge served Ice cold in the form of a crushing 9-1 win, with Kingston’s Matt Clarkson netting a magnificent seven in the game. 

In truth though, the game was not as one-sided as perhaps the scoreline suggests it was, as the contest was pretty even. Arguably, Manchester was shading the puck possession but they just weren’t able to make much with it at all and struggled to generate hardly anything by the way of shots. With the home side unable to make any inroads on their opponents early doors, that in turn allowed Kingston to take the lead through a long-range goal by Matt Clarkson, as the GB man just simply threw the puck on net and it somehow managed to get by Dougy Hankinson in the Manchester goals for a 1-0 lead with 5-53 gone.

 

Manchester finally got behind enemy lines soon after, when a pass off the side boards by Karl Nicholson caught the Kestrels defence flat footed and looked to have put Anthony Booth through on goal, but the Kestrels goalie in Ian Houliston read the play and came out of his crease to get the whistle. The visitors then doubled their lead thanks to a Matt Woollias strike at 10-42, when an attempted clearance in the Kingston zone was knocked down by Dean Lahan but sadly the puck fell perfectly to Woollias who went up ice to fire it in and open up a two-goal advantage. 

Just before the first period drew to a close it saw Matt Clarkson grabbing his second of the game for 3-0 with 11.3 seconds on the clock. The goals that the Mayhem was conceding was basic defensive errors and were made to pay for such a lack of defending.

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Woollias makes it 2-0 with a neat finish

In the early stages of the second period, it saw another unlucky bounce going against the hosts, as this time Graham Wilson tried to clear his lines but saw the puck being kept inside the Manchester zone due to the lineman stopping the clearance and have the puck ricocheting straight out towards Matt Woollias who then bided his time before teammate Matt Clarkson skated into the zone and unleashed a shot that went high into the net and put the Kestrels 4-0 up, with Clarkson bagging himself a hattrick. 

Manchester managed to create a couple of half chances themselves, but their attacks lacked any real threat in front of goal. When the Mayhem did get into decent positions it saw them coming up against a brick wall in Ian Houliston who was brilliant throughout in goal for the league champions.

Four-nil then became five-nil at 19-32 after a puck was flipped high into the Mayhem zone and led to a bit of panic, which in turn led to a collision involving two Manchester players in their own zone and Matt Woollias was quick to capitalise on the advantage and despite the efforts of Karl Nicholson to block the effort, instead it saw the shot deflecting off Nicholson’s stick to deceive Dougy Hankinson in the Mayhem goals. 

Mayhem’s captain Karl Nicholson nearly broke the Kestrels defences with 9.09 left to play in the second, but the Great Britain man could only fire his shot straight at the keeper. Minutes later, it saw Simon Berry firing the puck in deep and saw the puck taking a bad bounce off Dean Lahan sledge and came out to Matt Woollias but on this occasion it saw Hankinson was equal to the forward and made the save.

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Anthony Booth denied by Kingston’s Ian Houliston

In the third and final period of play, it saw the home side coming out the quickest and looked to pile the pressure on from the off. Anthony Booth kickstarted a mini-wave of attacks for the Mayhem, as firstly he broke clear after dispossessing a Kingston defence at centre ice but he was unable to convert – then literally seconds later it saw a 3 on 0 advantage for the hosts, but Rob Allen could only shoot tamely at goal and had teammate Karl Nicholson extremely bemused.

Almost a minute later from that incident, the Mayhem finally managed to get themselves on the board as Anthony Booth smashed home from in front of goal to make it 5-1 with 12.31 remaining. Manchester carved out another chance for themselves soon after, but once again Houliston came to the rescue of the opposition to shut them out. 

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Anthony Booth celebrates goal the Mayhem

Matt Clarkson then took his tally in the match to four at 35-58, after more poor defending allowed Clarkson to freely shoot on goal and have the forward putting home the rebound. Thirty-five seconds later, and it was a replay of the last goal, as Clarkson once again picked up the puck and saw him heading up ice saw his first shot saved but wasn’t be denied a second time and he made it 7-1.

Two further strikes by Matt Clarkson saw the Kestrels finishing with nine goals in the game, while the Mayhem tried to avoid being hit for double figures in their opening game. Manchester will now take this gap in the league to regroup and hit back in their next game in a couple of weeks time where they travel down the A1 South to face the Peterborough Phantoms on May 12th.