Ice hockey: Ketola restores Storm's status

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER STORM regained the leadership of the Superleague after winning their top-of-the-table game with Cardiff Devils at the MEN Arena on Sunday night. Following a disappointing defeat in Bracknell, Storm delivered the perfect reply in front of a crowd of 12,036 to run out 3- 1 winners, ending the Welsh side's eight-game winning streak.

Jeff Jablonski fired his side ahead after eight minutes but Devils, who recently ended Storm's year-long unbeaten home record, drew level through Merv Priest just before the half hour. Jablonski added a second with 15 minutes remaining and with the game in the balance, Stefan Ketola put the issue beyond doubt.

Nottingham Panthers can virtually concede their title hopes after they suffered a 5-2 defeat to Newcastle Riverkings at the Telewest Arena. The coach, Mike Blaisdell, has refused to write off his side's chances, however, but it now appears to be a two-horse race.

Riverkings made a lightning start when Hilton Ruggles beat Mike Zanier within 59 seconds and Blake Knox added a second by the quarter-hour mark. But Alex Dampier's side threw away a 2-0 lead for the second successive night as Panthers netted twice in the space of 74 seconds through Darcy Leowen and Paul Adey.

The second period came to a premature end when the referee took a puck on the ankle, but Riverkings regained the lead just 38 seconds into the final period when Ruggles notched his second. A bench penalty then cost Panthers the game as Knox netted on the powerplay at 57:07 and Kevin Conway tucked home a fifth in the final seconds.