Cardiff Ice Hounds v Cardiff Eagles, Saturday 11th June 2011
Ice Hockey: EIHA Southern Rec Hockey Conference
Saturday saw the Cardiff Ice Hounds’ home leg of their Southern Rec Hockey Conference group stage matches against local rivals, the Cardiff Eagles.
For the Cardiff Ice Hounds, it was their last attempt to topple their closest rivals – the Army Air Corps Ice Hawks – off the top of the Conference (West) table, before the playoffs start. But with the RAF Bluewings failing to play the Ice Hounds in Cardiff on the 21st May (citing that they were unable to ice a squad due to ‘service’ commitments), the resultant 5-0 forfeit awarded by the League to the Ice Hounds, meant that the deficit between their goal difference and the Ice Hawks presented a comparative mountain to climb against the Eagles, as the Hounds would have to win against the Eagles, by a 15 goal margin. This would have been quite a tall order against the bottom of the table teams, but as the third placed Eagles had shown form in their match against the Swindon Rec Wildcats the weekend before, they came out against the Hounds, hungry to restrict the damage and maybe even fancied taking an 11th hour scalp.
It was this hunger that kept the Ice Hounds at bay in the opening minutes of the first period, with the Hounds failing to press the advantage on either possession or territory. In fact, it was the Eagles that were to benefit from their hard work in the Ice Hounds defensive zone, when Lewis Jones’ shot from the right wing, deflected off the shaft of the stick of Hounds’ centre, Jason Chalke, floating past his brother, Martin Chalke’s shoulder, into the back of the net at 7min20seconds.
This was a rude awakening for the home side, who for some reason had taken to the ice as if they knew the win was theirs, but forgetting that they would actually play for it. With the realisation hitting the Hounds that the only way they were going to score more than the Eagles, was by putting the black biscuit in the back of the Eagles net, they were given the opportunity to open their account, when Eagle, Mathew Lacey was sent to the penalty box for two minutes for Holding. It took the Ice Hounds power play line just twenty seconds to take advantage, when Andrew ‘Spud’ Davies (assisted by Craig Camilleri & David Owen) beat the keeper for his first goal of the night (time of goal 9min23sec).
With the score levelled, the Ice Hounds settled took control of their defensive zone, denying the Eagles any further goals for the rest of the first period. The Hounds should have been relaxed that the game was back in their control. But in the 17th minute, as ‘discussion’ between Jason Chalke and the referee seemed to go a little wrong and Chalke’s verbal outburst saw him receive a 10 minute misconduct, followed by a further 10 minutes, as he failed to cool his temper. With Chalke’s early shower, the Hounds took a few shifts to settle back into their rhythm. The period rounded out with two more goals, this time from the stick blade of Hounds top scorer, Craig Camilleri (with the second assisted by Dominic Curran). The period break was greeted with harsh words in the Ice Hounds changing room, as the team was forced to focus on the job in hand, rather than believing the win was going to be gifted to them.
The second period saw much tighter defensive play from the Ice Hounds, who didn’t concede. But the Eagles also played well in their own defensive zone, flooding the zone and making it hard for the Hounds to release shots. In fact, it took the Hounds best part of 12 minutes to penetrate their defence, when Gareth Shaw picked up the trash in front of the Eagles net (assisted by Gavin Burns). Shaw was to score again, just over a minute later, on a power play goal (assisted by Davies & Camilleri).
Rounding out the second period at 5-1 (a 2-0 period), confidence was restored in the Ice Hounds locker room, that the game was fully in their control. But a dark cloud was starting descend over the squad, as the realisation that the opportunity of making the target 15 goal margin, was rapidly slipping through their hands.
The third period, pretty much followed a similar formula to the second, with a second (unassisted) goal for Andrew Davies, a goal from Joseff Davies (assisted by Andrew Davies and Owen) and a power play goal from the blue-line, from defenseman, Craig Balchin (assisted by Burns & Andrew Davies).
The Eagles scored a second and final goal (Daniel Salisbury, assisted by Phillip Osbourne), which brought a final score of 8-2 in favour of the Ice Hounds.
Whilst the goal difference was far short of what the Ice Hounds were aiming for, going into the weekend, they were pleased with the result, considering they were playing without the energy and dominance on the wing of Steven Donovan. Hounds netminder, Martin Chalke picked up the Man of the Match honours for the home squad, whilst James Towers took home the beers for the Eagles.
The club was also really pleased with the attendance for the game. Joining the usual supporters from each team, were Cardiff Devils fans, grasping a little summer hockey fix and also representation from some of the other ‘skate sports’ in the City.
Trauma B, Lola Coaster, Dolly Dropkick, Hello Reeshii & ‘fresh meat’ Allie Brock of the Tiger Bay Brawlers joined in with their support, along with some of the players from the Cardiff Roller Collective inline hockey squad, Cardiff Bay Cross Bones.
Both teams now going into their respective playoff campaigns, which sees the Ice Hounds and the Eagles both face each other yet again this coming Saturday (18th June) at the Cardiff Bay Ice Arena. Face off is at 4:30pm and entrance in again free.
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