Ice Hockey: Racers hurry to Wembley

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The Independent Online
MURRAYFIELD RACERS became the first team to qualify for the Heineken Championship thanks to an emphatic 12-3 win over their local rivals, Fife Flyers, in the play-offs, writes Steve Pinder.

Fife missed their imports, Bob Giffen and Darin Bannister, who were injured, as was the British international, Dean Edmiston. Another import, Frank Morris, was suspended.

It was 4-0 after 12 minutes on Wednesday night and 8-0 with just under 10 minutes to go when Iain Robertson put Fife on the scoresheet. Tony Hand responded with a hat-trick for Racers - barring miracles, Fife will not be at Wembley.

Racers look likely to be joined by Nottingham Panthers from their four-team mini-league. Their coach, Kevin Murphy, kept faith with his new first line of imports, Steve Moria and Paul Adey, and the young British player Simon Hunt, who served him so well at the weekend. They contributed a total of six goals and six assists in the 8-2 win at Billingham Bombers.

The only other game saw the league champions, Cardiff Devils, move one step closer to the final with an 8-3 defeat of Bracknell Bees who, like Fife, are relying on a miracle.

In the Premier/First Division promotion/relegation play-offs, the match between Durham Wasps and Romford Raiders was abandoned in the third period, with Romford leading 8-3. A series of dismissals had left Wasps with too few men on the ice.

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