Ice hockey: Storm increase their lead at top

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER STORM moved five points clear at the top of the Sekonda Superleague after nearest rivals Cardiff Devils crashed to their third successive defeat on Sunday night.

Storm comfortably beat Bracknell Bees 4-1 at the Manchester Arena with the visitors again forced to play a 16-year-old netminder, Craig Astle, because of injuries to Mark Bernard and Brian Greer.

Astle produced a superb performance in keeping Manchester down to four goals, with a Jeff Tomlinson brace either side of a strike from Bracknell's Shayne McCosh putting Storm 2-1 ahead by the end of the second period. Manchester wrapped up the points with third-period goals from Jeff Jablonski and Stefan Ketola.

Cardiff, meanwhile, lost 6-3 to an injury and flu-hit Sheffield side at the Sheffield Arena. The home side had nine players who were told by doctors they should not be playing but none the less coasted to victory with goals from Rob Wilson, Derek Laxdal, Tony Hand, Ed Courtenay, Ken Priestlay and Hakan Falkenhall.

Ayr Scottish Eagles came from 2-0 down after Jason Campeau and Mike Harding had put London Knights in front at the Centrum.

The Eagles rattled home six goals without reply as a double from Mark Wolf came either side of strikes from David St Pierre, John Parco, and a brace from Karry Biette.

Nottingham Panthers remain eight points adrift of the leaders after beating Newcastle Riverkings at the Telewest Arena.

After a scoreless first period Newcastle took a two-goal lead through Dale Jago and Mike Bodnarchuk. Nottingham, however, were level by the end of the second period courtesy of goals from Randall Weber and Jamie Leach, before Jarret Zukiwsky sealed victory for the Panthers. It was the second comeback in as many nights for the Panthers, who on Saturday had to score twice in the closing 72 seconds to see off the flu-ridden Sheffield Steelers.

Despite their defeat at Ayr, London Knights rose off the bottom of the table on Saturday after beating Bracknell Bees 9-3 at Amen Corner for their biggest win of the season.

The game was over inside half an hour as Corey Lyons and Kelly Glowa had both netted twice. P C Drouin pulled one back for the Bees, but two goals for Debb Carpenter, a third for Glowa and one from Mike Harding followed as Knights ran riot.

Colin Ward and Dennis Burke added a touch of respectability to Bracknell's goals tally, before Regan Stocco completed the rout.