The Manchester Mayhem opened up their 2019 British Para Ice Hockey League campaign with a ‘smash and grab’ win at home to the Cardiff Huskies last Sunday, as two goals from both Anthony Booth and Captain Karl Nicholson, helped the Mayhem to an opening day win at Planet Ice by a score of 4-1.
Manchester for the most was on the back foot throughout, as their opponents in Cardiff came out far strong and put the hosts under severe pressure from the off. While the home side was still half asleep and started out shaky to begin with, their netminder, however, in Darren Pomfret, was in top form and repelled every Huskies attack early on in the game.
Karl Nicholson ready for the puck drop – Photo: 98 Yetiiis Photography
For all the play and attacking threat that Cardiff posed, unfortunately for them, they had nothing to show for their complete domination in the first and was left frustrated by the performance of Pomfret in Mayhem goal. Manchester was really finding it hard to get going in the contest and saw them limited in their opportunities going forward.
The first stanza had seen the opposition out-shooting their hosts 12-4 and had towards the back end and start of the second on the powerplay, following an Interference call against Mayhem’s Karl Nicholson with 34 seconds in the period. Play in the second, was much like the first, with the Huskies looking the better side, but good news for the Manchester was the side began to stir and started creating chances.
Having successfully killed off a penalty against them, Manchester then, went on the powerplay themselves when Tyler Christopher got called for a Teeing penalty and saw the home side punish the Huskies. When the goal came, it was very much against the run of play, as an attempted clearance by the away side saw it hitting the sledge of a teammate and Anthony Booth was quick as cat to jump on the puck and score past Susan Cook in the Cardiff goals for a 1-0 lead at 23.10 in the game.
With the visitors looking to hit back, it saw them committing too many high up the ice and left them open at the back to which after Dean Lahan battled for the puck – he played the puck towards his captain Karl Nicholson, who then flipped it high up ice for Anthony Booth to chase down and make it 2-0 at 23.58, as Cardiff was made to pay.
Anthony Booth & Rob Allen battle with Cardiff’s Paul Furber – Photo: 98 Yetiiis Photography
In the third, it saw Cardiff keeping up the pressure on Pomfret in the Mayhem goals, but he still refused to budge. Meanwhile, up at the other end, another break resulted in Karl Nicholson netting for Manchester, as Cardiff’s defence was playing ‘Matador defence’ with the Manchester captain skate through on goal and finishing for 3-0 and that seemed to be game over.
However, the Huskies finally got on the board through Tyler Christopher, as the visiting constructed a lovely move that was finished off by the forward, as Christopher finally managed to get one by the goalie for a 3-1 score with ten minutes to play.
Any hopes the visitors had of a comeback was quickly extinguished a minute later – when Booth chased hard for a puck in the Cardiff zone and forced the defenceman to go round the board with his clearance, but it was gathered by Rob Allen at the side of the net and his awareness picked out Nicholson who skated in on goal and grabbed his second in the period and the game, for a 4-1 scoreline.
In truth, a 4-1 scoreline flattered the home side, but there will no doubt be games like Cardiff played out where you dominate and find yourself on the back of a loss. That said, a win is a win and the Mayhem sit atop of the table after one game played and will look to stay there come to the end of the season.
Report courtesy of Peter Bradbury