After seeing a low quality and dispiriting goalless draw at The Valley on Saturday, my spirits were restored by an emphatic 5-2 victory by Coventry Blaze over table topping Nottingham Panthers at the Skydome last night.
The first period ended 0-0, relatively unusual in hockey in my experience. It was, however, highly competitive and a fight broke out after ten minutes when two players squared up, the Panther eventually flooring the Blaze player, at which point the inept referee, whose name had been greeted by a chorus of boos, threw himself on top of the player on the ice.
Blaze had been unable to take advantage of a 5 on 3 in the first period with the Panthers crowding round their goal, but Blaze had been displaying some fluent and speedy passing and went 3-0 ahead in the second period.
It looked like game over when they made it 4-0 in the third period, but Panthers got two goals back. However, Blaze sealed the match with a fifth. The second and fourth goals were particularly brilliant examples of a rapid attack out of defence.
The Elite League is down to eight teams this season, Manchester and Basingstoke Bisons having dropped down to the Premiership. There are no teams from the London area and haven't been since the London Arena was demolished. Rumours of a Kingston team came to nothing.