Wed 31 Dec - Great Britain rounded off their dismal World Junior Championship campaign with another defeat, this time at the hands of Italy. Great Britain finished bottom of Group A of Pool C with no wins and three defeats.
Tue 30 Dec - STORM DEFEAT STEELERS 7-4. In front of 12,616 at the Nynex Arena on Tuesday night, Storm faced Sheffield Steelers in the Express Cup. Dale Jago opened the scoring with 2 minutes gone on the double powerplay. Jeff Jablonski scored to make it 2-0 with 6 minutes gone and Brad Rubachuk continued the demolition of Steelers with the third goal on 17.29. Ed Courtenay pulled a goal back on the powerplay with just eight seconds of the first period remaining. There was much less action in the second period but Sheffield pulled another goal back on 37.48 when David Longstaff made the score 3-2. Brad Rubachuk scored again in the final second of the second period, but this goal was controversial as the goal judge pressed the goal light after the buzzer had sounded. The referee ruled that the goal had gone in before the buzzer (leaving us to assume that it was the goal judge at fault for being too slow). Storm lead the game now 4-2 going into the third period. Frank Kovacs scored for Steelers on 41 minutes to bring the score to 4-3. Dominic Maltais gave Storm a two goal lead again on 46.32 and then Rick Brebant made it 6-3 on 53.26. Kris Miller scored the seventh Storm goal just 18 seconds later and Ron Shudra scored a late consolation for Steelers in the final minute to make the final score 7-4. Brad Rubachuk won Man of the Match for Storm with Tim Cranston winning it for Steelers.
Also on Tuesday in other Express Cup games, Bracknell Bees defeated rivals Basingstoke Bison 9-6. Ward and DeCosty made it 2-0 to Bracknell in the first 7 minutes. Basingstoke came back to level the game with two goals in two minutes by Paddy Scott and Shewan. Just before the end of the first period, Ferraccioli put Bracknell back into the lead 3-2. It was soon 5-2 with Johnstone scoring twice in two minutes at the start of the second period. On 26 minutes, Ward made it 6-2 to Bracknell. Black pulled a goal back for Bison on 29 minutes to trail 6-3. Johnstone scored his hat-trick goal on 34 minutes and then Basingstoke pulled another goal back from Conway just seconds later to make the score 7-4. Gomes made it 8-4 to the Bees with a goal on 38 minutes. The third period saw Bison stage a mini comeback with two goals scored by Black and Gatto. Crawford rounded the goals off with the ninth on 56 minutes. Gomes got Man of the Match for Bracknell while Conway won it for Basingstoke. Nottingham Panthers travelled to Newcastle Cobras also in the Express Cup and won 6-4. Newcastle's chances of qualifying for the Express Cup quarter finals are already looking doomed. Luckily for them there everyone qualifies for the Superleague playoffs so they don't have to be too worried about finishing bottom of that.
Mon 29 Dec - Great Britain's Junior side were defeated 3-1 by Estonia in their latest Pool C (Group A) game in the World Junior Championships. Selected quarter finals are to be broadcasted live on Eurosport starting on Friday 2 January.
Sun 28 Dec - STORM DEFEATED IN AYR. Storm travelled to Ayr to face the still unbeaten Eagles in the Express Cup on Sunday night. Ayr lead first after 7 minutes with a Bauba goal. Storm came back with a Kris Miller goal just two minutes later and then Rick Brebant scored to make it 2-1 thirty seconds later. The scores were levelled at 2-2 just before the end of the first period as Montanari scored for Ayr. On 31 minutes Ayr scored again with Shawn Byran getting the goal. Storm were level at 3-3 on 37 minutes - Brad Rubachuk getting the goal this time. Just before the end of the period, Bauba scored the fourth Ayr goal. The third period saw Ayr score the final goal of the game on 44 minutes when Steer kept Ayr's 100% record intact and almost guaranteed them a place in the quarter finals already.
Also on Sunday, Great Britain's Junior side started their World Junior Championships Pool C Group A campaign poorly as they were defeated 6-1 by Austria in Estonia. In the Express Cup, Bracknell Bees travelled to Sheffield Arena to face the Steelers and came away 6-5 winners. Dale Junkin opened the scoring on 10 minutes and then Ward and Kelman made it 3-0 at the end of the first period. Bracknell were much improved from the previous night's poor display at the Nynex Arena and they went 4-0 up on 23 minutes with a Gomes goal. Ken Priestlay and Nicky Chinn pulled two goals back for Steelers and the second period ended 4-2 to Bracknell. Pellarin made it 5-2 to Bees on 45 minutes. Then came a fightback from Sheffield Steelers. Priestlay, Cranston and Kelland all scored to level the game at 5-5 on 57 minutes. Just 30 seconds later Sheffield's hopes were dashed as Johnstone put Bracknell Bees back into the lead with just two minutes remaining. Bees held out to record a great Express Cup victory. Basingstoke Bison defeated Newcastle Cobras 2-1 after overtime. After just 1 minute, Conway gave Bison the lead and Glenn Mulvenna equalised after 35 minutes. The game went to overtime and with just 28 seconds left of overtime, a Blair Scott shot seemed to be deflected or kicked into the Newcastle net by a skate. The goal stood and Bison recorded a 2-1 overtime win.
Sat 27 Dec - STORM PUT 10 PAST BEES. Storm finally got their first Express cup win with one of their best wins of the season on Saturday night. Bracknell Bees looked very poor at the Nynex Arena as Storm beat them 10-2. Stefan Ketola opened the scoring after just 2 minutes. Jeff Tomlinson made the score 2-0 and then Dave Morrison scored twice in a couple of minutes and Storm lead 4-0 within the first seven minutes. Rick Brebant made the score 5-0 before Bees finally scored with Colin Ward near the end of the first period. Kris Miller made it 6-1 to Storm at the start of the second period and then on 26 minutes Bracknell had some hope as Burke made it 6-2. Jeff Jablonski rounded off the second period's scoring with a goal to make the score 7-2. There were three more unanswered goals for Storm in the third period. Dominic Maltais, Hilton Ruggles and Jeff Jablonski wrapped up the game for Storm. Dave Morrison won Man of the Match for Storm. You will soon be able to hear a couple of commentary clips recorded by Mike Landers and myself when I put them on Real Audio.
Also on Saturday in other Express Cup games, Ayr Scottish Eagles travelled to bottom-club Newcastle Cobras hoping to extend their 100% record. It was maintained at Cobras were defeated 3-2. After a goalless first period, Steer and Hoad gave Ayr a 2-0 lead in the second period. Scott Young made it 3-0 before Chris Norton pulled a goal back for Newcastle. Rob Trumbley pulled a second goal back to set up an exciting last few minutes but Cobras couldn't level the scores and Ayr maintained their 100% record. Nottingham Panthers faced Basinstoke Bison and won 5-4. Jamie Black opened the scoring for Basingstoke Bison after just 1 minute. It was 2-0 after 10 minutes with a Merv Priest goal. In the first minute of the second period, Nottingham pulled one back from a Dallman goal. Rick Strachen then made it 3-1 to Bison before Nottingham pulled another goal back from Blake Knox. Bison scored again to lead 4-2 when Paddy Scott scored. Brent Bobyk then closed the Bison lead to 4-3 and then with seconds left of the second period, Paul Adey levelled the scores at 4-4. Marty Dallman scored a powerplay goal in the third period and Panthers won the game 5-4.
Fri 26 Dec - Nottingham Panthers travelled to Sheffield to face the Steelers in the Boxing Day clash in the Express Cup. Sheffield were hoping to gain revenge for the humiliation suffered a couple of weeks ago when Nottingham won there 5-0 and both sides were involved in a very aggressive game that saw an amazing number of penalties. This game was much less eventful as far as penalties were concerned, although Jamie van der Horst did get a 10 minute penalty for an illegal stick in the third period. It was from the resulting powerplay that saw Paul Adey score the winner for Nottingham. Earlier Dallman and DeAngelis had put Nottingham Panthers in a commanding position. Ed Courtenay and Mike Ware levelled the game with goals for Sheffield Steelers. The came the Adey goal and Steelers were defeated again by their greatest rivals.
Tue 23 Dec - STORM LOSE YET AGAIN. Storm travelled to Bracknell on Tuesday night for a Superleague game live on SKY and live on BBC GMR. Bracknell took the lead after 12 minutes with Crawford scoring for the Bees. It was 2-0 after 15 minutes with Johnstone scoring the goal. It took just 40 more seconds for Bracknell to take a 3-0 lead. Shane McCosh did the damage and Storm were looking a pretty sorry team at this point. Rick Brebant pulled a goal back after 23 minutes but the comeback did not materialise at this point because Ward scored the fourth goal for Bracknell and McCosh scored again on 36 minutes to give Bees a 5-1 lead at the end of the second period. With 8 minutes remaining, Storm scored three goals in 4 minutes - Kris Miller, Mikael Wiklander and Mike Morin brought the game back to 5-4. Storm couldn't quite get the goal they needed to tie the game. They still head the Superleague table, but only by a point and Ayr have three games in hand.
Also on Tuesday in the Express Cup game, Basingstoke Bison hosted Cardiff Devils. Bison led 2-0 at the end of the first period. Basingstoke were awarded a penalty shot that Priest duly scored in the second period. Graham made it 4-0 to Basingstoke moments later. Just before the end of the second period, the game suddenly turned round. Cardiff scored three unanswered goals to make the score 4-3 to Bison. The third period saw another Basingstoke goal and Cardiff were beaten 5-3. In the Superleague, Nottingham Panthers had the chance to move into second place had they beaten bottom club Newcastle Cobras, but drew 3-3 after overtime.
Sun 21 Dec - DEVILS THRASH STORM IN CARDIFF. Storm travelled to Cardiff to face the Devils in the Superleague. The first period was goalless but Cardiff scored twice in the second from Moria and Circelli. The third period saw Storm fall away sharply with five more Cardiff goals - Thornton (2), Circelli, Matulik and McCarthy - with just one in reply from Jeff Jablonski. The 7-1 defeat cuts Storm's lead in the table to just one point from Ayr Scottish Eagles. The defeat was the biggest of the season so far.
Also on Sunday in the Superleague, Ayr Scottish Eagles shutout Bracknell Bees 6-0 at the Centrum Arena. Goals from Woolf (2), Young, Groleau, Bauba and Steer put the Eagles just one point behind Storm in the Superleague table. Meanwhile Sheffield Steelers travelled to Newcastle and defeated Cobras 4-2. The victory puts Sheffield only 3 points behind leaders Storm, although they are still in 4th place.
Sat 20 Dec - STORM GO DOWN IN SHEFFIELD. Storm travelled to Sheffield in the Express Challenge Cup on Saturday and were defeated 5-3 despite a great comeback. Scott Allison scored the first Steelers goal on 7 minutes before Tony Hand made it 2-0 shortly afterwards. Nicky Chinn made it 3-0 and Steelers looked home and dry. Mikael Wiklander then pulled a goal back for Storm. This was followed by goals from Hilton Ruggles and Stefan Ketola. Storm looked to have sent the tie to overtime, but two late goals came from Scott Allison to complete his hat-trick and deprive Storm of yet more Express Cup points.
Also on Saturday, in the Superleague Bracknell Bees travelled to Newcastle Cobras and defeated the bottom club 4-1. After a goalless first period, Bracknell took a 3-0 lead in the second with two goals from Gomes and one from Johnstone. Norton pulled a goal back for Newcastle in the third period to give them hope, but Crawford made it 4-1 to seal the points for the Bees.
John Finnie, the popular ex-Storm netminder, is back in Great Britain having signed for British League side Murrayfield Royals. John had been spending time in Florida since being released by Storm in the summer.
Thu 18 Dec - AYR BEAT STORM AT NYNEX. In front of 6637 fans at the Nynex Arena, Manchester Storm faced Express Cup leaders Ayr Scottish Eagles. With Ayr having a 100% record in this competition to date, it was always going to be a tough tie for Storm. Eric Flinton made his debut in style scoring after just 7 minutes to give Storm a 1-0 lead. Mike Morin made it 2-0 after 11 minutes and then the Ayr comeback started with ex-Storm player Shawn Byram scoring for Ayr after 13 minutes to make the score 2-1. Jamie Steer levelled the scores at 2-2 after one minute of the second period. Five minutes later, Shawn Byram put Ayr into the lead with a powerplay goal. The lead lasted just a minute before Hilton Ruggles levelled the scores at 3-3. There was no more scoring in the game until 58 minutes when the crowd were expecting overtime, Young scored the winner that kept Ayr's 100% record intact. Making his debut, Eric Flinton also won Man of the Match for Storm.
Also on Thursday in the Superleague, Basingstoke Bison travelled to Sheffield Steelers and drew 4-4 after overtime. Bison took the lead on 3 minutes from a Stefan powerplay goal. Ken Priestlay levelled the scores on 8 minutes on the powerplay and then scored again four minutes later to give Steelers the lead 2-1. Black scored three minutes into the second period to equalise for Basingstoke. Sheffield went ahead again on 34 minutes - Ken Priestlay getting a "real" hat-trick. A minute later, Brown scored for Bison and made it 3-3. Just before the end of the second period, Tim Cranston put Steelers 4-3 ahead. The score remained the same until just over 2 minutes before the end of the third period when Conway scored to level the scores at 4-4. The game went to overtime but neither team could break the deadlock. Ken Priestlay won Man of the Match for Sheffield and Gallace won it for Bison. In the other Express Cup game, Cardiff Devils moved into second place in the table after defeating Nottingham Panthers 7-2.
Following the release of Brad Turner and Rick Judson, Storm have signed one new player while the second changed his mind and stayed put at the last minute. Eric Flinton is a 25 year old Canadian left wing forward signed from Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League and he has also been playing with Binghamton Rangers of the American Hockey League. Eric is expected to make his debut in the Express Cup tie against Ayr Scottish Eagles on Thursday. The other new signing was supposed to be 25 year old American Matt Johnson. He was said to have agreed terms but at the last minute he has changed his mind and remained at Tallahassee Tiger Sharks of the East Coast Hockey League. He is reported to have let Kurt Kleinendorst know of his decision to stay by leaving a message on his answerphone after the 15 December transfer deadline. The deadline now having passed means that with the exception of netminders, Storm's incoming transfer activity is over for the season.
Kris Miller has been awarded a new two year contract to reward his good play for Storm so far this season. Most players will only have a one year contract, so this shows Kurt Kleinendorst's faith in the Storm defenceman.
Sun 14 Dec - STORM SHUTOUT NEWCASTLE. Storm travelled to Newcastle Arena on Sunday night to face bottom of the table Newcastle Cobras in a Superleague clash. The only goal in the first two periods came after 19 minutes when Stefan Ketola gave Storm the lead. The third period saw Storm outshoot Newcastle Cobras 12-3 as they forced home their superiority. Dale Jago made it 2-0 on 41 minutes and Hilton Ruggles scored the third goal with four minutes of the game remaining. Mikael Wiklander scored the goal that sealed the game for Manchester Storm in the final minute. Storm's Man Of The Match was netminder Jim Hrivnak and the Cobras award went to new signing Xavier Majic.
Also on Sunday in the Superleague, Sheffield Steelers were shutout at home for the first time ever. This game also saw a ridiculous amount of penalties as Steelers became increasingly frustrated in the third period. In front of a full house at Sheffield Arena, Nottingham opened the scoring after 6 minutes with a goal from Dallman. Panthers scored again on 14 minutes with Dallman again getting the goal. The first period saw three two minute penalties each. Steelers had three more 2 minute penalties before Paul Adey scored the third Nottingham goal on the powerplay followed by a 2+2 for each side. Before the end of the period there was still time for three more Nottingham 2 minute penalties and one more for Sheffield. There was also a fourth Nottingham Panthers goal on 35 minutes scored by Hadden. Then came the third period. Scott Allison started the period off with a 2 minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. A minute later Jamie van der Horst got 2+10 for cross-checking and misconduct. On 44.05 an incredible six Steelers and five Panthers received penalties. For Steelers, off went Beaulieu (2+5+game), Shudra (2), Allison (5+game), Ware (game), Plommer (10) and Cranston (10). For Nottingham, off went Nienhuis (5+game), Sebastian (5+game), Waghorn (10), Twaite (10), Knox (2+2). All the rest of the players were then ordered into the dressing rooms for a cooling off period before the remaining 15 minutes was played out. The penalties hadn't finished then either. Dallman (Panthers) was given a 2 minute penalty on 46 minutes, Premak (Panthers) was also give a 2 minute penalty on 50 minutes. With six minutes remaining, Rob Wilson (Steelers) got a 2+5+game with Laxdal (Panthers) getting a 5+game. With five minutes left on the powerplay, Jamie Leach "delighted" the crowd with the fifth and final Nottingham goal. David Longstaff finished off the penalties with a 2 minutes roughing penalty with three minutes left. I guess the Man Of The Match awards went to the remaining players!! Frank Kovacs got the award for Steelers, while Dallman won it for Nottingham. Ayr Scottish Eagles travelled to Cardiff in a repeat of the Benson & Hedges Cup Final and won again, this time 3-2 after overtime to consodilate their third place in the Superleague table.
Sat 13 Dec - STORM 2 POINTS CLEAR AFTER WIN IN NOTTINGHAM. On Saturday night, Storm travelled to Nottingham for a game shown live on SKY SPORTS. Dallman scored for the Panthers after just five minutes but Storm then went on to lead 4-1 by the end of the first period. Goals from Stefan Ketola (7.24), Stephen Cooper (11.50), Rick Brebant (15.48) and Dale Jago (18.08) put Storm in a commanding position. The second period saw a goal for Nottingham scored by Premak on 22 minutes and Jeff Tomlinson made the score 5-2 to Storm on 24 minutes. Mike Morin scored Storm's sixth goal with ten minutes of the game remaining. Five minutes later, Jamie Leach pulled a goal back for Panthers so Manchester Storm won 6-3 and moved two points clear in the Superleague table.
Also on Saturday in the Superleague, Bracknell Bees shocked Cardiff Devils with a 4-1 victory over the Superleague champions. Ayr Scottish Eagles travelled to Basingstoke Bison and moved into third place in the Superleague table after thrashing the Bison 6-2.
Thu 11 Dec - Cardiff Devils travelled to Newcastle Arena in the Express Challenge Cup and defeated Newcastle Cobras 5-1.
It is reported that Caspian, the owners of new team Leeds Lasers have finally been given planning permission to begin work on the new Arena to be built adjacent to Elland Road, the home of Leeds United FC. Leeds Lasers are expected to join the Superleague the season after next.
Kurt Kleinendorst is reported to be expecting two new signings by the weekend. Matt Johnson is said to be still awaiting a work permit and the second player is Eric Flinton, a defender. I don't have any information on him yet.
Wed 10 Dec - STORM DRAW AT BRACKNELL IN EXPRESS CUP. In the Express Cup on Wednesday night, Storm led 2-0 only for Bracknell Bees to come back and draw after overtime. Jeff Tomlinson scored on the powerplay after 6 minutes of the game and Craig Woodcroft soon made it 2-0 before the 10 minute mark. On 17 minutes Gomes pulled a goal back for Bracknell. The next goal was not until 56 minutes when Bucsis levelled the scores. Overtime was goalless and Storm gained another Express Cup point.
Also on Wednesday in The Express Challenge Cup, Sheffield Steelers beat Cardiff Devils 6-2. Steelers led 2-0 after 11.46 with both goals coming from Frank Kovacs before Frank Evans scored on the powerplay for Cardiff a minute later. David Longstaff made it 3-1 on 16 minutes but Ken Hodge brought the score back to 3-2 with just 7 seconds remaining of the period. There was bo further scoring until the start of the third period when Dion Del Monte put Steelers 4-2 up. Scott Allison then made it 5-2 on the powerplay on 46 minutes. Rob Wilson scored an empty net goal for Steelers in the final minute to make the final score 6-2.
After the games played on Tuesday evening, Manchester Storm have been eliminated from the European Hockey League on goal difference behind Slovan Bratislava and Lada Togliatti. The quarter-finals now line up as follows: Lada Togliatti v Torpedo Yaroslavl, Slovan Bratislava v Petra Vsetin, Moscow Dynamo v Farjestads and Hameenlinna v Feldkirch.
Dominic Maltais has had his two game ban extended to six games. The Superleague disciplinary committee reviewed its original decision made immediately following the kicking incident in the Superleague game against Nottingham Panthers.
The EHL and IIHF have announced that there has been an amicable resolution to the dispute involving Cardiff Devils which has avoided the need for arbitration procedure. Whilst Cardiff remain very disappointed not to be participating in the EHL, they now understand that the EHL is an invitation tournament and no club can automatically participate in the competition through domestic success, although this was initially unclear. The EHL are said to be pleased to consider and evaluate any further application from Cardiff or indeed any other club from Great Britain.
Mon 8 Dec - STORM COME BACK TO DRAW AT AYR. Manchester Storm had a great fightback on Monday night at Ayr Scottish Eagles. The game had been moved back from Sunday night at Ayrís request following the Scottish teamís involvement in the Benson & Hedges Cup Final on the previous Saturday. After a goalless first period, Ayr began to take control in the second. Jamie Steer and Sam Groleau gave the Eagles a 2-0 advantage before Storm finally got their opening goal on 41 minutes. Rick Brebant scored on the powerplay and then Kris Miller sent the travelling Manchester support wild with the equaliser on 49 minutes. The game then went into overtime and despite chances for both sides the scores remained level.
Sun 7 Dec - Cardiff Devils travelled to Nottingham Panthers in the Superleague and won 6-2. The first goal didn't arrive until the 27th minute when Thornton opened the scoring for Cardiff. Hadden equalised 30 seconds later but Yewchuck made it 2-1 to Cardiff on 31 minutes. Jeff Sebastian levelled the game at 2-2 two minutes later and then Kip Noble and Ian Cooper gave Cardiff a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period. Ivan Matulik made the score 5-2 at the start of the third and five minutes later McIntyre sealed the game with Cardiff's sixth goal. In the other game, bottom club Newcastle Cobras travelled to Basingstoke Bison and won 4-2.
Sat 6 Dec - Ayr Scottish Eagles won a close Benson & Hedges Cup Final at Sheffield Arena. Cardiff Devils led for a long period of time after a goal from Doug McEwan in the second period. For a long time it looked as though Ayr were never going to break down Cardiff, but Parco finally equalised in the final period and in dramatic fashion Jeff Hoad scored the winner with only minutes remaining. Cardiff could have levelled afterwards but Ayr held out to win their first ever trophy in only their second season. John Lawless's Telford Tigers were defeated by Slough Jets in the Benson & Hedges Plate Final 4-3 in a close game. In the game played as a prelude to the Cup Final later, Gary Clarke gave Telford the lead in the first period. With one minute remaining of the first, Higdon equalised for Slough. Sloguh then took the lead from Wagstaff in the second period but Claude Dumas scored a goal to level the game at 2-2. Slough then took the lead once again before Claude Dumas scored another equaliser with a great individual effort. With just over a minute remaining, Higdon scored the winner for Slough and the Plate went South.
Dominic Maltais is facing the possibility of an extended ban following the infamous kicking incident in the Superleague game with Nottingham Panthers. The Superleague board will come to a decision as to what (if any) further action needs to be taken shortly. Dominic has already been awarded a two-match ban.
Storm are on the verge of signing new forward Matt Johnson to replace Rick Judson. Matt is a 25 year old American is said to have agreed terms and is awaiting his work permit. He is from Northwood in Massachusetts and has played for Tallahassee Tiger Sharks (ECHL), Bart Vanstaandiluden's current club. This season, he has been playing for Odessa (WPHL). Kurt Kleinendorst says that Matt is not expected to arrive in time for Monday's game at Ayr Scottish Eagles. There are though conflicting reports of Matt's impending arrival.
The Middleton & North Manchester Guardian newspaper is now carrying Manchester Storm news and reports as supplied by me from this week. My reports will be in the paper "almost every week" with occasional appearances in the Rochdale Observer depending on space available.
Following Storm's game with Bolzano, the expected announcement came that Brad Turner was set to leave Manchester and return home. Brad was reported to have not fit into Kurt's system and his form was disappointing after playing well under John Lawless last season.
In the latest unsubstantiated rumour, Piero Greco was spotted at the Storm v Bolzano game and also later on at the Arches being introduced to the Storm puck bunnies. On questioning, assistant coach Daryl Lipsey denied that Greco was on his way to Manchester. Also, despite this being apparantly the truth many times last season, Dale Jago will definitely leave at the end of this season (probably!). Jim Hrivnak is set to play the next few games as first choice netminder despite Grant Sjerven appearing to have been given the role of number 1 netminder before the Bolzano game.
Tue 2 Dec - STORM BEAT BOLZANO BUT HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK. In front of 5278 fans at the Nynex Arena on Tuesday night, Storm faced Forst Bolzano in their final European Hockey League group game. Man of the Match Mike Morin opened the scoring with just 3 minutes on the clock. This goal was particularly significant as it was Storm's 200th goal in all competitions this season. Ten minutes later, Jeff Jablonski made it 2-0. Bolzano pulled a goal back a minute later on the powerplay and the first period ended 2-1. Stefan Ketola restored the two goal advantage for Storm with 30 minutes on the clock but Bolzano made it 3-2 two minutes before the end of the second period. Mikael Wiklander scored what turned out to be the winner on 45 minutes, but there was controversy near the end of the game as Jeff Jablonski scored what should have been Storm's fifth goal but the referee ruled that the puck had not crossed the line. So Storm defeated Bolzano 4-2 and following news that Moscow Dynamo had beaten Sparta Prague 3-2 after overtime and penalty shots (the penalty shootout win being equivalent to a goal) the second place in Division F was confirmed. Now Storm must wait until next Tuesday when the final games take place before they will know whether or not they have qualified for the next stage or not. There have been various interpretations of what needs to happen for Storm to progress, and as it just confused me no end trying to work it out, I'll just blame Kurt Stephens if this is wrong. Kurt says that if Kolner Haie of Division C do not lose in overtime to Feldkirch then Storm go through. If Lulea of Division D beat Yaroslav then we go through. If anything else happens then...I'm not sure!
It is reported that a number of NHL investors are interested in establishing teams in the Superleague in the coming seasons. Reports say that there may be three rinks built in London with a Superleague team playing out of each.
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