Saturday night saw all the home sides claim the bragging rights in the Elite League, with a result that has been a long time coming being the highlight of all the action.
Hull Stingrays held on to claim a huge 7-5 result over last season’s treble winners Nottingham Panthers at Hull Arena.
Stingrays’ Guillaume Doucet claimed a hat-trick in a final period that saw a credible effort by the Panthers to fightback to claim their first win over Corey Neilson’s side since October 2011.
Stingrays raced into a 7-1 lead after just 47 minutes but Panthers scored four unanswered markers to set up a nervous finish at Hull Arena.
Coventry Blaze went down to a 5-1 defeat to league leaders Belfast Giants in a feisty clash at the Odyssey Arena.
Chris Higgins gave Belfast the lead at 7.28 but Ryan Ginand levelled 44 seconds later on the powerplay with his 26th goal of the season.
Giants’ Jeffrey Szwez edged his team ahead on the powerplay at 14.43 and but soon ejected after receiving a game misconduct for third man in at 25.53.
The final period got off to an emphatic start for the home side, as two goals in quick succession from Robby Sandrock (42.43 powerplay) and Darryl Lloyd (44.54) forced the Blaze into calling a time-out.
Rounding the night off, Lloyd later made it 5-1 with just 73 seconds left on the clock.
The tables were completely turned on Fife Flyers, as Braehead Clan soundly avenged last week’s defeat, in a thumping opening two minutes to the third period on the way to a 5-0 victory.
Ed McGrane (18.33) scored the first of the five whilst his team were shorthanded.
Despite plenty of opportunities for the Clan in the second period, they could not capitalise on their slender lead, until that fantastic start to the third.
With just forty-six seconds on the clock Ash Goldie doubled the home side’s advantage. The Flyers faced another sucker punch when Joel Champagne added the third of the night at 41.12 and then McGrane on the powerplay with his second at 41.56 gave the hosts a four goal lead. Matt Towe got in on the action late on too, firing home the fifth at 53.43.
Kyle Jones also claimed his third shutout of the season with this result; and a second against Fife.
After trailing 3-2 at the end of the first period, Sheffield Steelers netted twice in the second to claim a 4-3 win over Cardiff Devils, making it five straight home wins on the way to moving up to fourth place in the Elite League.
Tomas Kurka’s powerplay goal (4.33) opened proceedings for the Devils before doubling their lead thanks to Matthew Myers (8.30). Steelers kept in touch with Gord Baldwin netting on the powerplay at 12.08 before the returning Rob Dowd, out for the last seven games, brought the score level at 13.46. The Devils restored their lead with a goal from Mac Faulkner at 17.44.
For the second time on the night, Sheffield drew level with a strike from Jonathan Phillips at 28.14. Just past the midway point, the home side took their first, and only lead of the game with a goal from Drew Fata at 30.18.
Although a well fought contest in the third period, neither team could produce any more scores, leaving the Steelers to claim the two points.