Stingrays shock Steelers as Playoff finals take shape
ELITE LEAGUE ICE HOCKEY:
Playoff quarter finals - second leg
Hull Stingrays pulled off one of the biggest shocks in Elite League history as they comprehensively dumped Sheffield Steelers out of the playoffs. Plus a round up of the other playoff games.
Sheffield Steelers 2 Hull Stingrays 5
(Hull win 7-4 on aggregate)
A huge shock as league runners up Steelers were dumped out of the Play-Offs at the quarter final stage by seventh placed Stingrays in convincing fashion, led by a hat trick by ex Steeler Derek Campbell.
Stingrays reward for qualifying for the finals weekend for the first ever time is now a Semi-Final match up against Nottingham next Saturday night, but for Steelers it has been a miserable last few weeks of the season as they lost form at such a vital time.
Steelers had taken the early initiative and went ahead after only 3.15 as Jeff Legue scored on the powerplay but Stingrays hit back to tie the game at 10.27 with Jason Silverthorn on target and then only 6 seconds from the break Campbell fired home his first on the powerplay.
The second period saw Jason Hewitt make it 2-2 at 25.36 and his side dominate the chances throughout but they could not make it count again and at 36.01 it was Campbell for a second time who edged the visitors ahead on the night and on aggregate.
Steelers grip was hanging by a thread when Matt Davies gave Stingrays a cushion when firing them 4-2 ahead after only 4.01 of the third period and as the visitors confidently shut up shop and Steelers seemed to have no answers it was left for Campbell to complete his treble at 54.09 and complete a historic victory for the underdogs.
Cardiff Devils 4 Coventry Blaze 1
(Cardiff win 7-4 on aggregate)
>p>Devils' remarkable run of qualifying for every Play-Off finals weekend continued as they followed up the 3-3 tie in Coventry on Saturday night with a solid home win over Paul Thompson’s men to book a place against league champions Belfast next Saturday afternoon.
Both teams went hard at it from the off and it was the home side who took the lead at 5.05 with a powerplay strike by Phil Hill. Blaze were in no mood to play second fiddle at his point however and at 6.40 their own powerplay unit came up with the goods and a goal from Robert Farmer.
That ended the first period scoring but not the action in a super period of hockey where 30 shots were shared by the teams and Devils Jeff Pierce missed a penalty shot at 17.14.
The second session saw Devils gain the momentum and dominate the period. Only one goal was scored by the home side but it did edge them ahead and came from skipper Stuart Macrae at 34.21.
Blaze tried hard to come back in the third period but it always looked like Devils had too much in the locker for them – and so it proved.
Macrae scored his second of the game at 49.51 to give his side the insurance and with peter Hirsch pulled late on it was left to Pierce to find the empty net at 58.09 to send his side to Nottingham next weekend.
Dundee Stars 0 Belfast Giants 9
(Belfast win 14-0 on aggregate)
Giants ensured this was very much a one-sided Play-Off Quarter Final as they shut out Stars for the second night in a row with Stephen Murphy and Andrew Dickson sharing a 28 shot blanking of a home side who were simply outclassed.
Giants now face Cardiff at the NIC next Saturday afternoon and on this form will be very difficult to stop as they chase a league and Play-Off double.
With Stars already 5-0 behind after the first leg the last thing they needed was for Giants to score early – but they did – twice in the opening three minutes, to kill off the tie.
Aaron Clarke was first to score after only 27 seconds and the same player added a second at 2.33 to set the visitors well on their way. Further opening period strikes came from Mark Garside at 13.52 and Craig Peacock at 17.08 as Giants led 4-0 at the first period break.
Giants continued to find holes in the home defence in the second period and added goals by Darryl Lloyd at 27.39 and Robert Dowd at 32.38 to lead 6-0 before frustrations rose and saw two fights late on in the period with Nick Kuiper taking on Brennan Turner and Lloyd going against Jeff Hutchins.
The procession continued in the final session as Giants added three more strikes early on from Mike Hoffman at 43.39, Gareth Roberts at 44.05 and finally Dowd again at 47.00 shorthanded to end the scoring and a thoroughly miserable Play-Off series for Stars.