Sunday, 20 December 2009

Another 4-4 with a sting in the tail

For the second time in a weekend I witnessed a really exciting game that ended in a 4-4 draw. However, the first versus second contest between Coventry Blaze and Belfast Giants was resolved by a sudden death play off which ended in a winning Blaze goal, allowing them to remain at the top of the Elite Hockey League.

Blaze have been hit by an injury crisis, the latest blow being Swedish defenceman Matt Soderstron breaking his big toe in practice. On top of that the team doctor slipped on the ice and broke his arm when coming to the aid of a player while another player had to have his appendix out.

Things became so desperate last weekend that the office manager was told to collect some kit and hare down the motorway to Cardiff. It's a bit like every football fan's dream: bring your boots along to the match, although skates in this case of course.

Tonight he was kept off the ice until the second period when he came on, leading to complete pandemonium as he bumped into other players and generally created mayhem. It didn't help that as far as one could tell under his uniform, he seemed to be quite horizontally challenged and was not a very fast mover. Indeed, he complained in the programme that he had found the game at Cardiff very fast. He seemed to have been told to stand around in front of the Blaze goal and wave his stick around. He looked as if he would rather be back behind his computer and was taken off never to be seen again.

The antics of Irish charm merchant Sean McMorrow also ignited the crowd. Sent to the sin bin, he turned round and abused spectators, waving his hockey stick at them. When Blaze went 3-1 ahead in the first period, hapless net minder Stephen Murphy was serenaded with chants of 'dodgy keeper' and 'dodgy helmet'.

When Blaze went 4-3 down in the third, I thought it was all over but they fought back to force overtime. What a sporting weekend!

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