By Kris Smith
STREAM AND PRICES
Game 5: Manchester Storm V Nottingham Panthers
In the final game of the first round of fixtures, the Storm will be seeking a clean sweep of all their opponents in the Elite Series and a win against the Panthers will extend their lead at the top of the standings.
Meanwhile, Nottingham are still searching for their first win of the season and want to bounce back from their opening weekend defeats.
Tuesday 6 April, Face-off: 19:00
MS – 2-0-0
NP – 0-2-0
Ciaran Long – 4 points (3G, 1A)
Scott Simmonds – 4 points (1G, 3A)
Five Players – 2 points
Kevin Domingue – 2 points (2G, 0A)
Austin Cangelosi – 1 points (1G, 0A)
Three Players – 1 point
BETWEEN THE PIPES
So far, Sean Bonar has defended the Storm goal in both victories and was backed up by ex-Star, Stephen Murphy on both occasions. The Canadian has faced 60 shots, stopping 54 for a save percentage of 90 per cent and holds a goals against average (GAA) of 3.00.
Whereas in the Panthers net, Tim Wallace has rotated his starting netminders with Ben Bowns starting in the 3-2 loss to Sheffield and Jackson Whistle getting the nod for Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Coventry.
Bowns faced 28 shots and recorded a GAA of 3.10, plus a save percentage of 89.29 per cent on Saturday. Meanwhile Whistle saved 21 of his 24 shots on goal and also has the same goals against average but has a save percentage of 87.50 per cent.
The Storm haven’t met the Panthers since February 12, 2020 and it was Manchester who secured the two points with a 4-3 shootout win at home.
That night saw Tyson Fawcett assist on one of Manchester’s goals, while Mark Matheson created and scored a goal for Nottingham.
The soon to arrive Brett Perlini also assisted for the Panthers that night and they are hoping he will be available for this weekend’s fixtures, depending on his COVID test results.
Game 6: Sheffield Steelers V Coventry Blaze
Both of these mid-table clubs will be looking to put a positive spin on their mixed opening weekend results and the Steelers will be looking to bounce-back from defeat, while the Blaze want to build on Sunday’s win.
Wednesday 7 April, Face-off: 19:00
SS – 1-1-0
CB – 1-0-1
Kevin Schulze – 4 points (0G, 4A)
Liam Kirk – 3 points (3G, 0A)
Three Players – 2 points
Tristan Keck – 2 points (1G, 1A)
Mike Hammond – 2 points (1G, 1A)
Nick Jermain – 2 points (0G, 2A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Sheffield took the first big injury hit of the season with Canadian netminder, John Muse leaving the game with a lower body injury after just 34 minutes. Up until then he had saved all 19 shots he had faced.
Enter Ben Churchfield, the big Brit came to the rescue for the Steelers on Saturday before a close 5-4 defeat to Manchester on Sunday, handed them an even record. Across both games, Churchfield saved 42 of 49 shots and has a 5.00 GAA and a save percentage of 85.71 per cent.
Meanwhile at the other end of the ice, Coventry’s Shane Owen has started both games and also has one win and one loss against his name. The ex-Fife Flyer and ex-Belfast Giant has made 52 saves on 56 shots, which gives him a GAA of 2.00 and a save percentage of 92.86 per cent.
January 26, 2020 was the last time Aaron Fox’s side faced-off against Danny Stewart’s men and it was the visiting Steelers who won the game in overtime.
In a 6-5 win for the Yorkshire club, Tanner Eberle had 3 points (2G, 1A) for Sheffield and Brendan Connolly created two of the goals. Whereas, Coventry’s Luke Ferrara also had a 3-point night (1G, 2A) and Janna Laakkonen assisted twice.
[Featured Picture Credit: Dean Wooley]