ICE HOCKEY: Five fall foul of capping law

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The British Ice Hockey Association has disciplined five clubs for contravening the wage-capping rules intended to create parity in the sport. Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers, Cardiff Devils and Edinburgh Racers in the Premier Division and Guildford Flames in the First Division have been fined £5,000 and had five points deducted.

But the points deduction has not affected any of the five teams' league positions and with less than a handful of league games left before play- offs for Wembley the only benefit would be to teams like Durham Wasps who could improve their league standing at the expense of Racers alone.

On the ice, Cardiff and Sheffield offered up the best entertainment - Devils were unbeaten at home for 50 games, Sheffield were after their 13th win on the trot to keep up the pressure on the leaders, Panthers. The match was about Steelers' outstanding defence withstanding Devils' forwards and picking up on mistakes. At the end of the second period, Steelers were 3-1 up.

Devils pulled back to equalise, the first a fluked goal off the back of the minder Martin McKay's pad, the second from Ian Cooper for 3-3. But the hero was Tommy Plommer, who bore down on the defender Stephen Cooper, Ian's brother, with 90 seconds left. Cooper lost the puck between his legs but Plommer did not, stealing it to fire home the winning goal.

In the First Division, Telford Tigers and Swindon Wildcats join Slough Jets and Paisley Pirates in the promotion-relegation play-offs. Both did so by beating Trafford Metros, the fifth-placed team who could have stayed in contention to oust Swindon if they had won both.