Mayhem & Kestrels play out a fiery draw


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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

SHEFF SHEFFIELD STEELKINGS  0-9 MANCHESTER MAYHEM 37641098_10157394710169625_8799620732251275264_n

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.

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.

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.

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”.


Mayhem thrashed by Christopher’s Magnificent Seven

17155952_1499932596740759_1981299675865431597_n    Manchester Mayhem 3 – 8 Cardiff Huskies huskies

This past weekend saw the debut of the new boys to the British Para Ice Hockey League in the form of the Manchester Mayhem, as they opened up their league program against the Cardiff Huskies and were hammered 8-3 with seven of the eight Cardiff goals being scored by Tyler Christopher.

Manchester went into the contest missing two key players for their home season opener as both Dominic Cosgrove and talisman Rob Allen were ruled out with injuries and that meant that the home side were two forwards light in the line up, but did draft in a guest in Kingston’s Simon Berry to beef up the bench a tiny bit.

Pic: 98 Yetiiis Photography

It saw a pretty even contest to begin with between the two teams, that despite the visitors looking far more dangerous than the home side in attack. Manchester needed their netminder Steve Midghall to come up big at times with a couple of good saves to shut the door on Cardiff’s forwards.

The visitors were very threatening when going forward, and that sustained pressure brought them a fortuitous opener through Tyler Christopher as his shot somehow managed to squirm through the defences of Midghall, and into the net at 12.11 to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.

Less than a minute later and it saw Cardiff doubling their lead with Ty Christopher on target once again, as the forward put home for his second of the game and put the visitors firmly in charge. Pat Bailey then fired in a quick response for the home side to reduce the deficit in half and see the Mayhem trail 2-1 after the opening period of play.

Second period was completely dominated by a strong Cardiff side, as the Huskies netted four goals in the period to put the home side to the sword. In truth it wasn’t as much of a one-sided game as it played out, and was mostly competitive with a few hits coming in from both sides.

Pic: 98 Yetiiis Photography

Ty Christopher grabbed his hat trick goal five minutes into the period with a carbon copy of his second goal, as he gave Cardiff a 3-1 lead early on. Manchester then came back at their opponents once more through Anthony Booth, when the forward had his shot go in at the near post and past Russell Wiley in the Huskies goal for a 3-2 game.

Cardiff then went up a gear or two after the Mayhem’s second goal, and that saw the visitors restoring their two goal lead with Christopher scoring yet again and he added a fourth for the Husks’. Steve Midghall was facing a lot of rubber in the period and was forced to make some very nice saves and important ones too.

Soon after it was 5-2 for Cardiff with Paul Furbur firing in a fifth goal for the visitors and had them making the most of their chances when they came. In the 28th minute of play it saw Christopher making it 6-2 for the Huskies and making it a match to forget for the home side.

PIC: 98 Yetiiis Photography

In the final period it saw Cardiff increasing their lead through that man again Ty Christopher, with the forward destroying the Mayhem on his own and putting a further two more goals past the netminder for an 8-2 scoreline with five minutes left to go in the game.

The hosts had the final say on the game through a Anthony Booth consolation goal for the Mayhem, as the Manchester defence was left to count the cost of defensive errors and allow Tyler Christopher in particular to make them pay.

Cardiff’s powerful line up was just too strong for the makeshift Manchester side, but it was a deserved victory for the Welsh side who look a real force this season in the British Para Ice Hockey League.

Manchester will look to rebound this upcoming Saturday night at home again, as the they welcome the Sheffield Steelkings to Altrincham in the War of the Roses clash and have both the Mayhem and Steelkings looking to pick up their maiden wins in the league. 

All Photography taken from: 98 Yetiiis Photography.

Great Britain Fall short in World Championships

Team Great Britain last week headed out to Tomakomai, Japan for the 2016 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Championships – Pool B,  and was up against in their group the Czech Republic, hosts Japan and Slovakia. Prior to the championships taking place Great Britain were all confident of bringing back hopefully a medal of whatever colour. They also went into the tournament with a brand new head coach in the form of Peterborough Phantoms man Ian Offers, as he undertook the new role.

Tuesday 29th of November saw Team GB opening the tournament up against the Czech Republic and had a nightmare start against the Czechs going down hard 12-0 on Matchday 1. As a whole it was far from a lack of effort by the GB side, but the quickness and beautiful passing that their opponents showed it made it extremely different to stop and break down. A brace of goals by Zdenek Krupicka and Michal Geier in the first period put the Czechs in a commanding position and pretty much took the game away from the Brits after one period.


Matt Clarkson & Ty Christopher looking ready to pounce Pic: World Para Hockey

In the second period it saw the Czechs moving further in front, when a quick release by Geier saw him completing his hat-trick for 5-0 and in truth was an impressive team display by their opposition. The quickness of the Czech side had GB in all-sorts of trouble throughout, and a pass out from the side of the net by Zdenek Safranek allowed Pavel Dolezal to sweep home past the helpless Rob Gaze for a sixth.

Two quick goals by Safranek and then by Zdenek Krupicka saw the latter firing in his hat trick goal for an 8-0 game before Michal Grier then cut through the British defence towards the end of the period to score the Czech’s 9th goal. Despite being out shot 33-4 in the game, it didn’t see Team GB heads dropping and in the final period when a rampant Czech Republic side scored three goals.

Strikes by Grier again for his fifth of the game were soon followed by Krupicka who scored his fourth goal and then David Palat rounded off the big win near the end with the twelve. It was a disappointing result for Ian Offer’s side, but they hoped to improve against Japan the next day so there was no time to mull over it.


The game with hosts Japan was played in the evening and gave Team GB some extra time to prepare for their next opponents. That said things didn’t go to plan in the opening six minutes of the game, after they found themselves 3-0 down after Japanese Captain Satoru Sudo put the home side ahead with just under three minutes of play gone two strikes by forward Masaharu Kumagai gave the home side the advantage.

A better period saw Japan restricted to just one goal in the second period, with that man again Kumagai scoring his hat trick goal to make it a 4-0 after 30 minutes of play. In the third it saw GB unable to keep the Japanese down for much longer and saw two more goals hitting the GB net with Kumagai scoring his fifth of the game and was almost like a one-man scoring machine.


Great Britain went into their last group game against Slovakia knowing that they could land an early blow ahead of their Bronze medal game against the same opposition a couple days later. Ian Warner had a half chance for GB, after some neat build up saw the British forward coming down the left side and managed get a shot off on Miroslav Pastucha but the goalie made the save. Gary Farmer then broke free of the defence minutes later, only to be denied by the goalie again.

Gary Farmer battles with Martin Joppa  Pic: World Para Hockey

Slovakia then scored in the final minute of the opening period through Milos Vecerek, after Slovakian Captain Peter Stit played a little pass back behind the nets for Vecerek, who was given the easy task of putting the puck into the unguarded net after he caught the defence and goalie out by some quick thinking.

Rob Gaze made some good stops to keep the game at 1-0 and needed the help of his forwards to help prevent him from having to make these important saves. The game from then on was pretty even and saw at the start of the second Bryan Hackworth being introduced to the game with the Sheffield Steelkings goalie replacing Rob Gaze for the rest of the game.

Great Britain found themselves unable to find an equaliser and saw them scoreless in their group game, but they would have a chance for revenge against the Slovakian’s in the Bronze Medal game.


Two days after the sides met in their tight group game, this around around it saw Slovakia being much more stronger than the previous game encounter. The Slovaks got a lucky bounce their way for the opening goal when a pass by Slavomir Ferencik towards the front of net was put on target by Ales Raus, with Rob Gaze making the save and having the rebound tapped home by Miroslav Stasak for the lead.

Erik Fojtik then doubled the Slovakian’s lead on the powerplay in last minute of play in the first, when a lovely weighted pass by Marian Ligda saw him playing far side for the incoming Fojtik to stick handle into position and put it over the already committed keeper for 2-0.

British player Jon LeGalloudec then suffered an bad injury, when he lost his edge on his sledge and crashed hard into the boards and was forced to see the referee stop the game and leave the game as a process. Marian Ligda then made it three on a delayed penalty call against Darren Brown and that saw a fourth being added by Martin Joppa.

‘Keep your eyes on the puck’  Pic: World Para Hockey

In the final period it Britain’s medal chances all but gone now as Martin Joppa scored his second goal of the game to make it 5-0 for Slovakia. One thing that you saw in every game in the tournament and was evident, was that the GB players gave everything they could to win in every game having been shutout in all their games to date saw them finally rewarded with a goal.

It came from a clearance in the Slovakian zone that saw Matt Clarkson gaining control of the puck and then having the Kingston Kestrels man released a ripper of a shot that beat Eduard Lepacek for a 5-1 game. With the last few seconds of the contest ticking down, it brought the curtain down not just on the tournament but also for GB forward Gary Farmer, who retired from International Sledge Hockey after 15 years in the sport and will be a huge miss for the British line-up.

Sledge Hockey: Phoenix Sign Off With Big Win


roundal_sledgehockey-220x311  Manchester Phoenix   10  –   1   Sheffield Steelkings  SheffieldSteelKings

 Phoenix side celebrate their 10-1 victory at Fylde 


This past Sunday afternoon saw the curtain come down on the regular season for the Manchester Phoenix Sledge Hockey team, as they faced off against the Sheffield Steelkings at the Fylde Coast Ice Arena and rounded off their league campaign with a comfortable 10-1 win over their friends from over the Pennines.

 Phoenix were still missing their star netminder in Steve Midghall in their lineup, after the netminder suffered a recurrence of his shoulder injury. There was some good for the home side in the injury front, as they were  boosted by the returning Pat Bailey to the lineup as the forward had been out through injury and was making his first Sledge game of the season. For the visitors they were missing Barry Grayson and David Hall, with the latter sidelined after an injury he sustained in a match against Kingston earlier in the season.

 The game wasn’t even 90 seconds old when Karl Nicholson fired the Phoenix ahead with a shot from the point that found its way in at 1:24 gone in the game, with Rob Allen credited with an assist. Sheffield were under the cosh from the off and pretty much were in the whole game in truth, as Manchester pinned their opponents in their own zone and saw GB netminder Bryan Hackworth having to make a good save from Rob Allen to deny him getting on the board with a low glove save.

 Some more good play by the home side and especially their passing, saw the Phoenix getting behind the Steelkings defences and were only thwarted by Bryan Hackworth. Karl Nicholson then doubled the lead for Manchester as well as taking his goal tally, with a goal after a scramble infront of the Sheffield zone saw the goalie trying to get the puck covered up, but Nicholson was on hand to put home into an empty net at 5:28 and had Allen grabbing his second assist in the game.

 2-0 then quickly became 3-0 soon after for the hosts, when Nicholson played a backhanded pass across the face of goal for Pat Bailey, but his shot was blocked and Rob Allen was alert enough to put in the net for his first of the game and saw the home side firmly in control. Sheffield seemed unable to even get out of their zone and that was hurting them a lot in the opening period. Hackworth again was called upon by his side to shut the door on their opponents, as wave after wave of Manchester attacks came at them and saw Anthony Booth shooting from a tight angle that was spilled by the goalie but was able to cover up.

 Sheffield then got awarded a power play opportunity, when Graham Wilson was called for T-Boning in the corner after a crunching hit from the defenseman saw the Steelkings having the man advantage. The visitors struggled to create anything in the way of chances in their powerplay, but it did see the Phoenix netting a short-handed effort through Pat Bailey, after Karl Nicholson had dashed up ice and saw a neat lay off for his team mate Bailey who joined in the play late to push it home for 4-0 at 10.07.

 A couple of big hits coming in from both sets of players saw the puck becoming free near the Sheffield goals and Nicholson tried to lift it over Hackworth, but the goalie was far too clever for the forward and knew exactly what he was trying to do and saw him collecting the puck in the goalies mitt with a great save. Manchester then had a goal washed out before the break at 14:40, when the referee signalled no-goal after bodies were strewn across the goal crease and the puck had gone in, but there wasn’t too many complaints coming from the home side on it being chalked off.

 Play started off in the second period pretty scrappy, with Sheffield trying to upset the rhythm of the Phoenix players and saw them cutting out some passes by the hosts. Graham Wilson then swapped defense to attack, as he almost saw scored on a break after he receiving a great pass from his own zone and saw the defenseman 1 on 1 with the goalie, but Hackworth came out on top. Bryan was then forced into a stunning save from the resulting play, after a shot was deflected up in the air and heading on goal but the Steelkings goalie had to reach back to claim it and stop a freak goal from going in.

 A brilliant team move brought about the 5th goal for the Phoenix, as some tic-tac-toe play saw Manchester carving Sheffield wide open after they had committed too many players up ice and that allowed Nicholson to make a pass to the back post for Pat Bailey and he put home at 22:08. Phoenix head coach Pete Hagan then made a goalie change with Darren Pomfrett replacing Dougy Hankinson in between the pipes and had Pomfrett not afraid to express his feelings to his teammates down at the far end. Graham Wilson had another chance go begging for him at the front of the net, this time after Dominic Cosgrove had played a nice back door pass out for him and Hackworth once again made a point blank save to deny him.

 Sheffield then suffered a poor call from the match official with just over 5 minutes left to play in the second, after Jake Oakley had outpaced Dominic Cosgrove at center ice and had only Karl Nicholson to beat and was turning him inside out and out, before the referee blew play dead to bring attention to the net in which his opinion was off. What made it worse was play had continued on for at least another 10-15 seconds before he decided to blow up and had the visiting side highly unimpressed with the decision.

Nicholson was architect for the sixth goal for the home team, after the GB man skated through the Sheffield defence with ease and played an inch perfect pass for Anthony Booth to get onto and give the Phoenix goal difference a boost. A further strike before the end of the period by Pat Bailey made it 7-0 and it looked to be a case of whether they would hit double figures or not.

 Manchester were the only side in the game to be fair, but Sheffield didn’t want to hit for double figures again in the league this season and even slowly began to step it up a bit more and began to cause a couple of problems. Hackworth once more was in the thick of the action, after he made a stop on Rob Allen after a great pass by Graham Wilson saw the rebound falling to Karl Nicholson, but the Manchester man stopped.

As mentioned previously, Sheffield gave it a good go in third as saw having nothing to lose but pride, but a pass up Ice by Rachel Paget saw Jake Oakley taking the puck with him up Ice and into the Phoenix zone, before he played a little pass towards David Scvill and his shot managed to find it’s way under the glove of Pomfrett and into the back of the net as the visitors got on the scoreboard at 36:51.

 With time ticking down on the game, it saw Booth making it 8-1 for Phoenix with a tight angled shot at 39:43 and then with less than two minutes to play the third, it saw Nicholson taking the brunt of a heavy collision from Rachel Paget by the boards and saw him sitting out the rest of the game. Sheffield went close again to a goal, but the puck was cleared as far as Pat Bailey who went coast to coast with his effort and that saw him firing high over the shoulder of Bryan Hackworth and making it 9-1 at 44:05.

 From the restart it saw Anthony Booth breaking into the Steelkings zone and firing his shot passed the goalie for Phoenix’s 10th goal of the game at 44:31, and saw the game mercifully for Sheffield finish. You can never question the effort of the Steelkings and after their goal you could see it did energise them for a small period of time.


MVP: Rachel Paget





 MVP: Rob Allen 







Match awards for player for the game went to the Number 16’s on both sides, as Rachel Paget of Sheffield and Manchester’s Rob Allen both took the glass paperweights and beers. The win will be boost to the Phoenix who will meet the Kingston Kestrels in the playoffs and hold an unbeaten record against them so far this season, with a 2-2 draw and a 4-0 win both at the Hull Ice Arena








Sledge Hockey: Phoenix Lose Out To Huskies

roundal_sledgehockey-220x311    Manchester Phoenix  2 – 4  Cardiff Huskies  huskieslogo


The Manchester Phoenix home roadshow season took them to the confines of the Fylde Coast Ice Arena just outside of Blackpool for their penultimate game of the season, as they took to the Third ‘home’ Ice of the season. Their opponents were the Cardiff Huskies and a team having a good season by all accounts and chasing the league title still, as they still stand a chance of denying Peterborough a fourth successive championship victory.The Huskies were bolstered by a couple of Great British Internationals that had made the move from Peterborough last season in Tyler Christopher and Jon Le Gallodec, as they swapped East Anglia to Welsh Valleys.

Both teams started brightly in the match and saw some physical play too boot, as the opening minutes were quick paced. Cardiff’s Ty Christopher saw him testing the debutant between the pipes for the Phoenix in Darren Pomfrett, as the Manchester goalie made a big glove save to stop the visitors from taking an early lead in the contest.Pomfrett was then called upon once again for the home side, after a deflected shot came back off defenceman Graham Wilson and saw the netminder making a quick reaction save to keep it scoreless still.

Cm8_Rz5WEAA6WS8 Foggy??

Cardiff were the aggressors early on in the game and saw Christopher having another chance, when the forward was first to a loose puck with Wilson and went on 1on1 with Pomfrett but it was the goalie with an important low glove save to deny the GB man.  Manchester who were playing brilliantly defensively, then saw them taking a lead very much against the run of play as Karl Nicholson chased down a loose puck in his own zone and saw the Phoenix captain fending off two Huskies players before roofing the puck high passed Alex Weaver at 11:10. Anthony Booth then doubled the lead at 14:40 for the home side, when Rob Allen’s long clearing pass along the boards was collected by Booth and his effort was partly dealt with by the Cardiff goalie, but the shot just had enough pace on it to see the puck going in to see the Phoenix 2 up at the break. 

A slight wardrobe malfunction of sorts before the second period saw Phoenix goalie Darren Pomfrett having an issue with his pads and was replaced by Doug Hankinson until he got sorted.  Cardiff came out strong at the start of the second period and brought an early save out of Hankinson as the visitors were dominating play early on. Manchester then wasted a great opportunity to make it 3-0 when Nicholson skated into the Huskies zone and found Booth, but the forward mis-hit his shot but manage to regather it back and have his second effort saved fantastically by Alex Weaver from point blank range.

It seemed just a matter of time before the Welsh side would eventually net after all their pressure on the hosts, so when Ty Christopher gained the zone and skated behind the Manchester net, he spotted the movement of Lloyd Woodyatt and played a quick pass for him to tap in for 2-1 at 22:15. Goals for Cardiff were much like buses, as when one turned up a second one came right after. It saw a breakout pass evading most of the Phoenix players and that helped set up a 2 on 1 for the visitors as Woodyatt and Christopher once again linked up and saw the latter scoring for Cardiff, with Hankinson left hung out to dry by his side at 22:50. 

With the Manchester coach Pete Hagan clearly not impressed with his defence for their second goal they conceded, it saw him sending Pomfrett back out in the game after his pads issue had been sorted. The change saw their fortunes turning a bit with Rob Allen stopping a clearance from leaving the Cardiff zone, and then fired a shot on goal but was comfortable taken by the goalies glove. Nicholson went desperately close for the hosts with a long range effort, as he then tried to score from the rebound and was blocked by Tyler Christopher as play quickly went down the other end and saw a point blank save from Pomfrett to see both teams having chances.

The Manchester coach was clearly unhappy with the go-ahead goal that gave the Huskies the lead, as coach Hagan clearly felt that it was offside in the lead up. It all came from a Cardiff break and some poor mishandling from the Phoenix side that led to a 2 on 1 for the away side, with Andy Swinfen firing an effort and getting blocked but was quick to convert from the rebound and put the South Wales side 3-2 up.  

Cm9K596XgAAkLABManchester players start inquest to 2nd period

The Manchester players during the second break will have had time to reflect on some sloppy plays that led to them conceding a couple of the goals and had a period to make amends. However a freak goal at the start of the final period saw 4th goal being shipped by Phoenix. Play restarted with Lloyd Woodyatt winning the puck and playing it back to Paul Furber, who then just tried a long range shot on goal and saw the puck going straight in and will be one goal that Pomfrett will certainly want back in the Manchester nets.

Karl Nicholson then found himself in the Cardiff zone and managed to thread a ‘eye of the needle’ pass between two Cardiff players and in towards the path of 3 three Manchester forwards who completely missed the pass, as the Phoenix players were almost stunned that the pass made it towards them in the first place. Tyler Christopher then drove into the Phoenix zone with speed and useful stickhandling that saw him bamboozle a couple of Manchester players, but when the forward went to shoot he was stopped by Nicholson right in the nick of time. With a few minutes left to play in the game, it saw a timeout taken by Manchester as they looked to plan one last push in the game. Manchester tried to find a goal to set up a tense finale, but the visitors held on for three league points and closed the gap on Peterborough.


MAN of The Match : Rob Allen for Manchester , Ty Christopher for Cardiff 

After the game Coach Hagan said “We played well for the most part, but few lapses in concentration let us down, we played so well at times and really gave them a scare. But it just wasn’t to be, and Cardiff showed why they are fighting for the title with Peterborough.

We have one last league game against Sheffield on Sunday 17th July here at Fylde, so we aim to finish on a winning note.

 On the bright side it’s great to get another player making his debut, and he really did well. So a few things to work on in practice, and as long as we learn from games like this, sometimes these losses can be a good thing in the long run.


Sledge Hockey: Phoenix Stun The Kestrels

fe519-045022033dd2144a5b2ac623d484a713KINGSTON KESTRELS   0 – 4  MANCHESTER PHOENIX roundal_sledgehockey-220x311


Manchester Phoenix Sledge Hockey team recorded one of their most stunning victories in their history, with a 4-0 win at the Hull Ice Arena against one of the powerhouses of British Sledge Hockey in the Kingston Kestrels. Just 14 days earlier the two sides had faced off at the same venue when Manchester was forced to play their ‘home game’ in Hull and saw an entertaining 2-2 draw on that occasion.

Roll on a fortnight later and Kingston were a team in form, as they had beaten their title rivals the Peterborough Phantoms 4-0 in their opponents back yard. Meanwhile, the Phoenix were smarting from a heavy loss down in South Wales against Cardiff and so were hoping to try and get their season back on track. Manchester went into the contest still lacking bodies and had only five out-skaters and was still missing their first choice netminder in Steve Midghall, who was still not fit and so Doug Hankinson was back between the pipes.

The game was played in tricky conditions, with fog causing problems on the ice and played it’s part throughout which caused some errors on both sides. Both teams managed to get three shots on target in the opening period, but Manchester had a 100% success rate with converting their chances as they lead 3-0 at the break. The first goal came in the 8th minute to break the deadlock, after Captain Karl Nicholson made it 1-0 with the assist going to Rob Allen. With just over a minute of the restart, it saw Dominic Cosgrove firing in a one- time shot for 2-0 lead Karl Nicholson and Anthony Booth assisting.

Kingston almost hit back in the game, but the defensive duo of Nicholson and Graham Wilson saw them sweeping up the loose pucks and also had Doug Hankinson in fine form to keep the puck out of the net when called upon. With just over 2 minutes left on the period it saw Rob Allen taking a great pass from Anthony Booth and he slotted home to make it 3-0 and have the away side on top.

At the start of the second, it saw the Phoenix in penalty trouble early after Booth took a T-bone penalty and gave the hosts a power play. With Kingston unable to make the most of their extra man advantage, it saw the Phoenix defence showing that they were able to limit the scoring chances of their opponents. Manchester then had a power play of their own and saw the Kingston netminder down at the other end in Houliston, pulling off some amazing saves to keep the visitors out. Phoenix out-shot their hosts in the second period, with Houliston facing 9 shots and Gibson who replaced him midway through the period, saving just the one.

Manchester was then awarded another opportunity on the power play, this time after a T-bone penalty was given against Fitzgerald and that saw the Phoenix piling the pressure on the Kestrels back line and saw the home side snuffing out the visitors chances. With Kingston getting back to even strength, it then saw Anthony Booth firing in goal number 4 for the visiting side and put the game pretty much to bed. The Kestrels upped their physical play a bit more, as they looked to wear down the Phoenix and find a way to breaching the visitors defences. Sadly for the home team, they were unable to make any head way and so saw victory for the short-benched Manchester Phoenix and finally end the Indian sign that Kestrels had over in the league.

After the game Coach Peter Hagan was full of praise for the team “Our last game didn’t really go how we would have liked in a lot of areas, but credit to the team, they got to work, they held themselves accountable and a few things were discussed to sort things out. They wanted to put things right and really came to play today, everyone was focussed. Kingston are always hard to play so we are delighted with the result, and it shows how competitive the league is, with no easy games. A great result, but we will be working hard ready to go for our next game and try finish the season as well as we can.”



Phoenix face the Cardiff Huskies in a return fixture at the Flyde Ice Rink this upcoming Saturday Evening as the Phoenix hoping to pick up as many points as possibly with the season drawing to a close.

Sledge Hockey: Phoenix and Kestrels In Thrilling Draw

roundal_sledgehockey-220x311                                 fe519-045022033dd2144a5b2ac623d484a713


Sunday Afternoon saw the Kingston Kestrels and the Manchester Phoenix playing out an entertaining game at the Hull Ice Arena after the Phoenix were forced to move their home game to Hull, due to some Ice time problems with the North Wales venue. Manchester much like they have done all season found them travelling further afield to play their home game as this time around it was to be played at the home of their opponents, and in fairness didn’t make that much of a different to the result.

Manchester were still missing long term absentees in their team like Dean Lahan and Pat Bailey, while first choice goalie Steve Midghall was still sidelined with an injury and so that handed a second start in net for Dougy Hankinson. With the Phoenix being down on numbers this season, it means having bodies is important for them in the league and having a spare man again in Steve Bradley helping out was a godsend. Prior to the game facing off, there was a small ceremony held to congratulate the brilliant work of Kingston Kestrels man Simon Berry, after he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to disabled sports and was given a warm applause for his fantastic efforts in the area too.

As the puck was dropped to start the game, it was pretty much even between the two sides early on and even had some half chances falling the way for both teams with not much forthcoming in the attacking steaks. The ‘Visitors’ in Kingston nearly took the lead with 5 minutes gone, after Matt Woolias found himself 1-on-1 with Doug Hankinson in the Phoenix net and when you would put your money on the Kingston man to score, it was Hankinson who made a great stop to deny him. This fired up the Kestrels and saw them upping their attacking play for the next few minutes in the game, but Manchester defended very well to keep the Hull side out. Kingston then thought they had took lead minutes later, when a shot that just went over the blue line was fired back into the Manchester zone and saw the puck nestle in the corner of Hankinson’s cage, but the referee had immediately waved it off for an offside call. This felt like a little wake up call to the Phoenix team, and had them at from the restart having a great chance when Anthony Booth went 1 on 1 with their goalie, but much like Woolias earlier on in the period it saw the goalie coming out on top.

Kingston took the lead in the match soon after though, when play in their own end was cleared away and saw the puck bouncing of the netminder and into the path of the oncoming Matt Woolias, who was quick as a flash to tuck home the rebound and make it a 1-0 score for the Kestrels with just under 7 minutes to play in the period. Manchester will have felt a bit hard done by over the opener, but they didn’t let it affect them at all and they set about trying to get back on level terms. Anthony Booth once again came close for the Phoenix, as only a partial glove save was just enough to stop the GB man from tying the game up for the home side. The last of the action of the first period was played down in the Manchester end and saw a quick release on the blue line from a Kestrels man that brought out a great stop by Hankinson as he tried to make up for his early error.

Second period saw both teams creating chances and yet nothing really coming of them, as the Phoenix came out hard looking for a goal to get them back in the contest. Manchester’s sustained pressure saw them given a power play opportunity as Matt Clarkson made a hit on Booth without the puck, to see the Kestrels man serving a two minute call for Interference. Kingston did brilliantly to cut out any attempted efforts the Phoenix carved out for themselves and saw them successfully killing off the penalty of Clarkson. The Hull side buoyed by their penalty kill, then saw them exerting some pressure of their own on the adopted home side for the day and could only watch as Hankinson made a stick save to deny them adding their lead and keeping his side in the game. Manchester then got back on level terms through a Karl Nicholson goal, when the GB International collected a puck in the Kingston zone after some nice passing by his Phoenix team-mate and Nicholson saw his shot just sneaking in past the goalie for a 1-1 score. From the restart it saw the Kestrels roaring right back at their opponents and looking to get back in front, but Hankinson and his team mates were doing a sterling job in front of him to stop all efforts of retaking the lead and saw us going into the final period all level.

Kingston saw a great chance go begging early on in the third period, as the away team found themselves on a 2 on 0 and looked for all the world that it would result in a goal for the Kestrels, but somehow Doug Hankinson managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and make a double save to which his second save saw him tipping the puck over his own bar. However it seemed like the goalies were having their own little battle in the midst of the game, and was almost like Ian Houliston at the other end was thinking ‘anything you can do, I do better’ as he made a double save himself then off Booth from Manchester as he showed his talents between the pipes too. Matt Woolias then scored his second of the game to put the Kestrels back in front at 2-1, when the forward picked his spot to find the only area not covered by the goalie with 11 minutes left to play. Both teams were looking for goals, but both with different objectives as for Kingston they wanted to get a one goal cushion and have some breathing space, while the Phoenix wanted to get back level and try and get a point.

Manchester did indeed get back on level terms with their opponents and did have a touch of fortunate about it too. Karl Nicholson saw him skating around the Kestrels zone looking to make a pass for a team mate in space and when he tried to make a pass out front it saw the puck getting deflected in and finding the back of the net for a ‘Desmond’ 2-2 score line and make it all to play for with 8 minutes remaining on the clock. Both teams had chances late on to take the game, Booth saw him robbed by Houliston once again and also saw the Kestrels held back by the Phoenix defence and goal tending too late on. With 30 seconds left to go in the game, it saw Karl Nicholson taking a puck to the ribs and was clearly a sore one and had the Phoenix talisman in some distress. For the final stages though, it saw Manchester holding firm and thwarting any last gasp hopes that the Kingston side harboured and so when the horn sounded it brought an end to a thoroughly entertaining game and give Manchester a huge point against a very tough side in the Kestrels.