EIHL: Eyecatching wins and losses

Plenty to celebrate in the EIHL this weekend (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Plenty to celebrate in the EIHL this weekend (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Full houses, a rout in Renfrew, a broken down bus, and more results to raise eyebrows. Welcome to another weekend of EIHL hockey.

If season 2017-18 has showed us anything so far, it is to expect the unexpected.

While one Fife fan was confident enough to post on Twitter ‘’Flyers by five’’ – take a bow, David Chalmers – no-one else had them down for a 7-1 steam rollering of Braehead Clan to stun a capacity 3500 crowd.

Evan Bloodoff netted four as Flyers re-calibrated the biggest rivalry in Scottish ice hockey for the new season, but hopes of a four-point weekend ended in disappointment as Guildford Flames made a welcome return to Fife and skated to a deserved 5-3 win.

They didn’t look or play like EIHL rookies as they shut down red-hot Bloodoff, looked resolute in their own zone and broke with pace to exploit some individual errors from Fife to seal the deal with an empty netter.

It was Flames first visit to Fife in 12 years, and it looks as though the old BNL rivals could serve up some fascinating head to heads in the top flight.

Flames boarded the bus to Fife at around 6.30 a.m. on the back of a fine 5-4 OT win over Coventry Blaze. So much for bus legs ...

They were 3-0 up and looking good until Danny Stewart’s side got into its stride – possibly on the back of some straight talking from Stewy – to tie the game in the third at 4-4, and take it into overtime where Brett Ferguson served up a winner.

For Blaze, the weekend’s highlight had to be their stunning 6-1 blitzing of Belfast Giants.

They didn’t hang around either, building up a 2-0 lead with barely 45 seconds on the clock.

Giants got on the board before the first period break only to cough four straight goals – the sort of result that must have had coach Adam Keefe fuming.

But there was an upside – a huge 5-3 victory in Wales over Cardiff Devils to nail a three-game losing streak.

It was one of three EIHL matches which attracted capacity crowds – the ‘house full’ signs also in use at Braehead and Nottingham.

Giants did it the hard way too, coming back from 2-0 against a side that has delivered some stunning results on the European stage.

Nottingham Panthers, another side breaking new ground in the Champions League, endured Sheffield claiming the bragging rights in their own building with a tight 3-2 victory.

Steelers were 2-0 up in this Challenge Cup tie and in control before Panthers rallied only to run into a brick wall in the shape of netminder Ervins Mustukovs who stopped some 46 shots.

Steelers 100 per cent cup record remained intact as they also shot down Braehead - once their oppoennts turned up.

A bus breakdown left the team stranded en route -– hardly the best preparation, but they reached their destination only to go down 3-2. Manchester Storm and MK Lightning shared the spoils in back to back games.

The matches went with the home team, Lightning winning 3-2 after coming from 2-0 down – Denny Kearney netting the GWG.

Altrincham is proving to be a tough place for hockey clubs to visit, as MK found out when they arrived and were thumped 6-0.

Luke Moffat ‘’did a Bloodoff’’ with four goals, while Storm’s latest ex-Clan addition, Scott Pitt, netted his first point for his new club.

In the other back to back test, Edinburgh Capitals swept Dundee Stars 7-2 and 2-1. It’s starting to look like it may be a long season on Tayside ...