With only a week having passed since Nottingham visited Sheffield it was time for the rematch. Nottingham played some of the best hockey I had seen them play over the last few years, but after a short poor spell in the third, Sheffield were again the victors.
The first period saw only one goal for Sheffield with Nottingham containing the opposition and in the second Nottingham dominated with a goal from Captain Coughill. Both sides started to get penalties as neither team could break the deadlock, becoming frustrated and starting to pick up penalties.
In the third Sheffield ranked up the pressure and during a 10 minute spell where Nottingham lost confidence and concentration, Sheffield were rewarded with 6 goals coming at 33.15, 33.44 38.31, 39.06, 40.48 and 44.01. Nottingham were only able to muster one more at 42.07 and the game finished as the last with Sheffield the victors.
Vipers had every right to be proud of their effort and first two periods play. They doubled their own score and reduced the goals against them compared to the first encounter.
Spirit of the Game – Lucy (Ebinger) Maxwell
The first period started with Coventry on the attack and Debbie having the first save of the game at 3 minutes in. Despite Coventry pressuring, Nottingham managed to keep the game flowing end to end and Katie got Nottingham’s first shot at the other end. At 6:02 Coventry were rewarded with an unassisted goal by number 21. Nottingham kept working hard and were rewarded with a goal from Katie, assisted Julia at 10:01. With Debbie unsighted, Coventry took the lead with just 17 seconds left in the period.
The second period started with Nottingham on the attack from the off. Frenchie worked hard along the boards against her old team. Play was end to end with Vipers keeping the pressure on Coventry. Debbie was called into action covering the post, but the puck wasn’t cleared and against the run of play Coventry were lucky with the puck bouncing over Debbie’s pads at 23:27. Nottingham went on the attack again with Julia winning the puck back at centre ice. The pressure swung back and forth with Debbie stonewalling a one on one and then Wilko’s shot being stopped at the other end. Laura Q and Cookie worked hard forcing two quick saves from the Coventry netminder, however Nottingham’s hard work paid off with Frenchie scoring at 28:56 assisted Julia and Lucy. The period ended with Coventry 3 : 2 up.
Nottingham came out attacking at the beginning of the third; Kendra having a really good effort on goal only for possession to be lost and Coventry taking a quick long shot and scoring at 31:56. Vipers didn’t give up and kept the Coventry netminder busy but without reward. Kendra was working hard getting back to clear the puck and then straight away getting in on the action in front of net. Coventry had a breakaway shot which was saved but at 34:46 Debbie could not contain the Phoenix and they opened up their lead to 5 : 2. Two minutes later Nottingham were awarded a penalty shot which Katie bravely stepped up to take, but was denied by the Coventry keeper. Debbie was then called into play with two good saves in quick succession. Paige then went on a solo dispy doodle, got a shot away but again Coventry’s keeper was solid between the pipes. With about 3.5 minutes left the game became more physical and earnest with Nottingham trying to lessen the deficit and Coventry pressing for another. Nottingham iced the puck twice before Paige took a shot on the breakaway but being denied again by the keeper. Nottingham kept going right to the end with Wilko, Kendra and Cookie in the thick of it in front of the Coventry goal. The final buzzer came too soon with the game ending 5 : 2 to Coventry.
The end result did not reflect the standard of play by Nottingham in anyway. The Vipers were hard working, committed but unlucky again. The effort was there, but the killer instinct in front of goal needs to be honed. As the season continues the team will get stronger and more confident – I’m sure the results will soon go our way.
Player of the Game: Emma French
SLU – Tally in goal, Katie, Paige, Cookie, Lucy and Laura
The period got under way with end to end play from the start, Tally being called into action with less than two minutes gone. Cookie then had a good shot on the Coventry goalie but sadly no one was able to get to the rebound. Lucy Ebinger had a really lonnnnnnnnnng shift but eventually managed to get a change! Nottingham pressed hard with Paige having a good effort on goal and then came our comedy moment when Nat and Cookie collided mid ice and went down like a pair of skittles! Luckily, possession was retained.
Katie was called for tripping and Coventry weren’t called for too many players! Cookie got a shot away, pad save and play continued end to end. Claire worked hard in D where she had again been asked to take on the role due to players’ unavailability. Katie was called again for holding whilst play continued back and forth with Wilko and Paige both having good efforts on goal. There was then a bit of faffing about in front of net but Tally was on hand to cover the puck, this was followed by a bit of a kerfuffle (see the chicken) in front but the period ended even with no score.
The second started with Nottingham having the majority of the possession, Wilko taking a great try on a bouncing puck. Nottingham won the face off with Cookie having a great shot, then another, both saved by the Coventry keeper. Coventry then went on the offensive forcing Tally to save immediately followed by Paige having a good long range effort denied by the keeper. Change in net for Nottingham at 7.53 with Debbie being given only 35 seconds before being called into action. Nottingham again pressured the Coventry D with Nat and Katie working hard in front. Play sent back down the other end with Debbie saving the shot but with an unlucky bounce off a Nottingham defenders stick and against the odds Coventry were in front – a real sickener!
Nottingham carried on as they had previously with Wilko showing gritty determination not to lose possession. Coventry were called for hooking and Cookie took the opportunity to take a long range shot. With Coventry down 3 skaters for 9 seconds Nottingham piled on the pressure but were kept at bay by the Coventry keeper. The period ended Coventry 1, Vipers 0.
For a short while in the third the DJ provided us with some better tunes but this was short-lived. As in the previous two, the period started out with end to end play, Nottingham putting in the effort as both teams began to tire. Katie had a good effort, Lucy took a tumble , and Katie had another good effort. In D, Laura Q was working hard with a cover up by Debbie. Paige had a good effort (great face offs today Paige!) Coventry had a good opportunity but were denied and then drew a penalty at 42.12 for tripping.
Final Score: Coventry 1 Vipers 0
Player of the game for Nottingham: Katie Ferguson
The only thing to disappoint about this game was the final score. Nottingham was working with new players and with players covering new positions, Nottingham had the majority of the attack and possession all game long with Blackburn taking their breakaway chances and their netminder keeping Nottingham out of the net.
From the off, Nottingham pushed Blackburn with Katie working well down the boards and Paige having the first shot of the game. With Blackburn conceding an early penalty, Vipers pressured in front of net but without success and at 7.06 Blackburn capitalised on their breakaway chance. Vipers still kept working hard with Paige and Cookie getting back to help the D. Debbie was called upon to keep the Vipers out of trouble with players crowding round the net before play moved back in their end with the Nottingham girls pushing for a goal. An unlucky breakaway with 10 seconds to go resulted in Blackburn’s second. End of the first Blackburn 2, Vipers 0.
The second started as the first, with Nottingham piling the pressure on the Blackburn net. Becca shot from the face off after skating down the left wing, caught by the keeper. Katie’s shot was then scrambled away for Paige to have a go. Blackburn had a bit of luck when at 21.59 they scored their third, quickly followed by their fourth at 22.11, again a bit of good luck for them in front of net. Debbie did well under a short period of pressure stick saving and the Nottingham forwards coming back again to help out the D. Play continued back and forth with Paige taking a second penalty (and a broken nail) and Nottingham changing netminder at 9.05. Blackburn converted two further shots before Julia opened the account for Nottingham at 35.59, assisted Cookie.
Nottingham started the third still determined and positive but short-handed. After a dodgy icing call Nottingham were again rewarded for their efforts with Paige scoring, assisted Katie and Becca. Clare worked hard in D behind the net and sent the puck up the ice to Cookie who was denied by the glove. Blackburn scored again but Vipers were again rewarded and came right back with an answer provided by Paige – a good solo effort. With players in the bin for both sides (Laura for Tripping) Blackburn scored their final goal to end the game victorious at 9 : 3, Laura receiving a well-deserved player of the game trophy.
As stated at the beginning, the only thing to disappoint about this game was the final score. Effort, energy and commitment were in abundance and the coaches were pleased with the positivity of the players and their team spirit. A good performance which can be built on and strengthened during the season.
First period – The puck drops and unfortunately 5 seconds later it’s in the back of the Nottingham net, scored for Sheffield by Jodie Leigh Bloom. Sheffield also received the first penalty of the game, for roughing. After the initial set back Vipers started to play more controlled hockey which led to a Viper’s goal at 5:01, a power play goal scored by Emma Wilkinson. The game continued with Vipers pushing forward until at 14:45 Sheffield scored their second goal and then a third goal at 18:07; both goals involving Sheffield’s premier players. The period ended 3-1 to Sheffield.
Second period – Good work by Vipers at the start of the period with a good chance missed by Nat. At 5:07 Sheffield’s Jessica Holgate was thrown out for fighting with more penalties going Sheffield’s way, but Vipers failed to make the 5 on 3 count. The period continued with Vipers trying hard and playing some good hockey but goals at 33:11, 35:30, 36:43 and 39:23 left Vipers trailing 7-1 at the break.
Third period – Vipers started the period brightly with good chances being missed by Julia and Cookie. Vipers then received another setback with another goal for Sheffield at 42:48 again involving premier players. More spirited play by Vipers and nice work created a 1 on 1 chance for Julia. Sheffield then killed the game off totally with another goal at 58:39. Sheffield won the game 9-1. Hopefully Viper’s will have learned lessons and will be able to take revenge in their next meeting.