Ice Hockey: Hawks in the frame

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The Independent Online
HUMBERSIDE HAWKS earned the final place in the last eight of the Premier Division play-offs at Wembley next month at the expense of Basingstoke Beavers.

Hawks beat Billingham Bombers 14-11 while Basingstoke Beavers' 11-5 defeat by Peterborough Pirates means that Hawks now have the chance to reach the semi-finals at Wembley on 23 and 24 April.

However, the two best Premier matches of the weekend were Cardiff Devils' encounter with Durham Wasps, who are finally running into form, and Whitley Warriors' game against Fife Flyers.

Wasps arrived at Cardiff with just 11 skaters, including two netminders, but they came with the right attitude and led twice in the first period which eventually ended with Devils 5-2 in front.

The expected Devils rout did not materialise as Wasps fought back with Dan Vincelette scoring one minute into the third period to level the match at 7-7.

Ian Cooper scored the winning goal for Cardiff a minute later and any chance of more goals came to an end when the Devils' Rick Brebant and Chris Norton, of Wasps, were sent to the sin-bin following Cooper's goal.

Whitley and Fife were playing for honour but by the end the plaudits went to the two minders, Kevin Dean and John McCrone. They kept the first period clean, let in just two each in the second and McCrone was the only one of the two at fault in the third as Scott Morrison scored what turned out to be the winning goal in Warriors' 3-2 win. Their performances earned them the men-of-the-match awards.

BRITISH LEAGUE Premier Division (Sunday): Basingstoke 8 Nottingham 9; Cardiff 16 Peterborough 3; Humberside 4 Durham 10; Murrayfield 15 Bracknell 3; Sheffield 16 Billingham 1; Whitley 3 Fife 2. First Division: Blackburn 3 Telford 8; Guildford 5 Chelmsford 4; Lee Valley 12 Dumfries 9; Oxford City 6 Paisley 26; Solihull 4 Swindon 8; Streatham 3 Milton Keynes 9; Trafford 10 Medway 8.