Ice hockey: Ayr find the ties that bind

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The Independent Online
There was plenty to keep cold hands warm and chilled blood racing as the pre-Christmas Superleague games saw two matches go to overtime without breaking the draw and two others won by just one goal.

Both tied matches featured Ayr Scottish Eagles, who started the weekend at Manchester Storm in front of a 10,000 crowd. Eagles led 4-2 at the end of the second but Storm, second bottom, decided attack was the best form of defence and goals by Shawn Byram, Mike Morin and David Smith saw them lead 5-4.

With 35 seconds left, Ayr pulled keeper Colum Cavilla for the extra player, a tactic that can either force a goal or give an empty-net goal away. This time it worked, Matt Hoffman tying the game 5-5. Sudden-death overtime remained scoreless, a fair reflection on the game.

The next day Ayr welcomed Nottingham Panthers, fresh from thrashing Sheffield Steelers 6-2 with a 4-0 final period. Eagles took a 3-0 lead by the end of the second but Jeff Hoad scored twice in 10 minutes to make the score 3-2. With two minutes left, Neil Morgan tied the match without, again, overtime producing the deciding goal.

Basingstoke Bison met Bracknell Bees for the third time in the league and duly recorded their third win, 4-3, over the bottom club who had three key players missing. Bison effectively won the match in the first, Chris Maybury and Steve Brown both scoring on the power play.