Manchester Mayhem remained top of the British Para Ice Hockey League table with a 5-1 win over the Peterborough Phantoms as a hat trick from Karl Nicholson helped the Mayhem to a gritty and scrappy contest against the home side down at Peterborough Ice rink, as Manchester kept up their good start to the season.
It saw the Mayhem coming out strong, to begin with, but without really testing David O’Meara in the Peterborough goals, as a couple of early attempts were pea rollers in truth. Manchester gave every player a good shift within the opening five minutes of play as the home side was having to work hard to quell the Manchester attacks.
Eventually, the pressure told, with the visitors getting the opening goal as a Karl Nicholson shot on net was turned in by Anthony Booth at 5.45 to give Mayhem a deserved lead. The Phantoms were struggling to get into the game and had Scotty Trigg-Turner being the only one posing an attacking threat from the hosts.
With Manchester looking comfortable, it saw Peterborough trying to adopt a more physical gameplan midway through the first, as Dan Grange and Jamie Hutchcraft rattled a couple of buckets with big hits and saw the home side seemingly finding some joy with the change of gameplan, as they began to get in the Mayhem zone more. Manchester though failed to be drawn into retaliating and saw the visitors re-asserting their dominance to end the first on top.
In the second period, Manchester doubled their lead early on thanks to Captain Karl Nicholson with the Mayhem forward trying to poke the puck out front, but instead the puck got wedged between goalie and post and have a rushed clearance ricocheting off Rob Allen, right into the path of Nicholson and he put it home over the shoulder of O’Meara for 2-0 at 18.21.
The visitors were guilty of being wasteful in their chances through the middle frame, as they got into great positions to add to their lead with a couple of 2 on 1’s and 2 on 0’s, but they failed to make the most of these goal scoring opportunities.
Peterborough had a couple of chances with Scotty Trigg-Turner testing Darren Pomfret in the early part of the third, as Pomfret had next to nothing to do for most of the game. Nicholson made it 3-0 for Manchester at 39.22 gone in the game, as the forward picked up possession in the Phantoms zone and fired his shot past O’Meara to give the visitors a bigger lead.
A bit of handbag’s soon followed involving Karl Nicholson and David O’Meara, as the pair both picked up Roughing calls after the Mayhem captain skated in on goal and caught the Phantoms goalie, to which O’Meara wasn’t best pleased with the Manchester man.
Following a delay due to O’Meara having equipment problems with his netminder kit, it saw a puck loose in the Peterborough zone having Anthony Booth quick as a flash to dash hard to get to the puck and saw him creating space before curling back at goal and firing high up into the Phantoms net for a 4-0 lead with 2.07 left to play.
The hosts were nearly caught out again less than a minute later when a harmless clearance by Nicholson off the boards saw the puck up ice and see indecision from defenceman and Goalie and nearly let in the Mayhem.
Peterborough’s Ashley Greening tried to spark a late attack, but her attack was quickly snuffed out by the Mayhem’s Simon Berry. As play carried on, it saw Manchester’s Pat Bailey backhanded clearance from behind his own net going straight to the stick of Phantoms forward Trigg-Turner who was positioned in front of goal and saw the GB man roofing it past the goalie to end Pomfret’s potential shutout with 17.2 seconds remaining in the game.
That wasn’t the last of the goal action though, as Karl Nicholson completed his hat trick with 2.4 seconds left on the clock, as Graham Wilson hit the puck up ice and saw a Peterborough defenceman taking the sting out of the dump up ice and led to O’Meara having to come out to play the puck with Booth oncoming, but his clearance went straight to Nicholson and he scored into an empty cage to make it 5-1 and seal victory.
Reporter: Peter Bradbury.