Big four move to top in Elite League, Stars ‘self destruct’ & Flames struggle
and live on Freeview channel 276
Last season’s early pacesetters Guildford Flames find themselves at the very opposite end of the table, while inconsistency is a sense of worry to a few coaches as wins are negated by losses. Several teams are still looking to break open the ‘W’ column.
The big four - Sheffield Steelers, Nottingham Panthers, Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils - occupy the top four slots, with the men in orange making a strong start with 12 points from their opening seven games.
Aaron Fox’s Steelers stayed top thanks to a 5-0 shut out of Fife Flyers, and wrapped their Challenge Cup section with a 100% record thanks to a 4-1 win over rivals Nottingham Panthers; Cole Schudra’s strike eight minutes from time effectively sealing that game.
Panthers bounced back to maul poor Dundee Stars 7-2 in Tayside, a game which left Stars’ coach Marc Lefebvre looking inside the dressing-room for answers.
The phrase “self destruct” was used five times in his post-match interview. Five league games in, and Stars have yet to sniff a win - one of four sides with a zero in that column.
“We got to figure it out right now within the group and fix things internally,” he said. “Got to look at myself in the mirror. I put the team together.” It’ll be interesting to see if he rings the changes and brings some more discipline to his side.
Stars also capitulated 4-1 to Glasgow Clan in the Challenge Cup, with Gary Haden netting twice in the opening period for the Braehead team. Clan also went down 5-2 in Belfast, a game which saw Giants’ netminder Brandon Whistle retire injured in the opening period.
Guildford Flames snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over Coventry Blaze - also the last team they beat. Flames have also shaken up their roster, releasing forward Anthony Pettruzzelli.
Cardiff Devils took the four points from their double header with Manchester Storm. They won 3-1 on home ice in front of a full house - their third straight victory - and then followed up with a 4-1 triumph in Altrincham.