Ice Hockey: Walkington walks away from Beavers

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TROY WALKINGTON, coach of the Premier Division side, Basingstoke Beavers, has left the club to return home to Canada, citing 'personal reasons' for his departure.

Beavers, eighth in the League, have asked Lloyd Clifford, their goaltending coach, and Kevin Conway, their reclassified import, to take over Walkington's duties.

The year ended with Fife Flyers top of the Premier Division but their lead is just one point; a 7-4 defeat by Murrayfield Racers coupled with Cardiff Devils' 9-3 win over Bracknell Bees moved Cardiff, the champions, up to second with two games in hand over Fife. Third are Murrayfield Racers, two points behind Cardiff and with the same game advantage over Fife.

Fife should maintain their lead, with a home game against the bottom side, Teesside Bombers, on Sunday, but Devils are at home to Basingstoke and the real shock would be defeat for the Welsh side. The game of the day, however, has to be between Durham Wasps and Sheffield Steelers.

Wasps, after a shaky start to the season, proved themselves to be contenders with a 10-6 win over Whitley Warriors after being 5-3 down in the third period.

In the First Division, one club at least got a late Christmas present. Lee Valley Lions, bottom of the Southern Conference with just three wins from 21 games, travelled to Guildford Flames, 12 wins from 22.

Lions, who have had more than their fair share of import problems, had the much-travelled Fred Perlini on their books and despite being 5-2 down at the end of the second period, stormed back in the third to win the period 7-3 and the match 9-8, the game-winning goal coming at 59.50. Perlini scored five and his fellow import, Darcy Cahill, added two but, as importantly, five assists.