Ice Hockey: Nottingham storm to the top

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The Independent Online
NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS' reward for a gruelling four-day spell was a share of the Sekonda Superleague leadership after returning from Ayr on Sunday with a 4-3 victory.

Despite playing their third game in four days, Panthers showed they still had enough fighting spirit to secure their third win on the bounce.

On Thursday night the Panthers spoiled the London Knights' party at the opening of their new London Arena home with a 4-3 victory, on Saturday they beat the Knights 6-2, this time at home, and then a day later they made the long journey to Ayr to collect the points.

Greg Hadden netted Nottingham's game-winning goal after 55min 56sec to complete a fine recovery from Mike Blaisdell's side, who fell 2-0 behind in the first period. Dino Bauba and David St Pierre notched the goals in the opening 20 minutes before Panthers broke their shut-out through Mark Kolesar.

Paul Adey tied the game then Hadden put Panthers ahead before Sam Groleau equalised for the defending champions, only for Panthers to have the final say.

It was another black night for London Knights on Sunday at the Manchester Arena as they fell to their third defeat in four days. The Knights, who were missing Kelly Glowa, Ian Cooper, Debb Carpenter and Jonas Anderson, were clearly feeling the effects of their schedule as they went down 5- 1 to Manchester Storm, who joined the Panthers on 10 points at the top of the league.

Andrew Dale cancelled out Jeff Tomlinson's opener to leave the scores level at the first break but goals from Jonathan Weaver, Dave Morrison, Stefan Ketola and Pierre Allard ensured Knights returned to the capital pointless.

Bracknell Bees ended their five-match losing streak with a 5-1 victory over Newcastle Riverkings. Dennis Burke led the way with a brace, with Colin Ward, Chris Brant and Matt Cote - his first of the season - also on the mark. Rob Trumbley broke Mark Bernard's shut-out in the closing minutes.

Sheffield Steelers ended Cardiff Devils' 100 per cent league record as they triumphed 2-0 at the House of Steel. The Yorkshiremen put aside injuries, illnesses and their league position to stun the visitors thanks to strikes from Scott Allison and Ken Priestlay.

The first loss in five for the Devils made their reign at the top of the Superleague short-lived following a 3-1 victory on Saturday at home to Bracknell. Shayne McCosh gave Bracknell an eighth-minute lead via the powerplay, but Cardiff then responded with goals from Doug McEwen, Martin Lindman and Vezio Sacratini by the end of the second period to wrap up the points.