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TICKETS: The Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm welcome arch-rivals, the Sheffield Steelers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday 9th September, here at SilverBlades Ice Rink Altrincham! Tickets can be ordered online by clicking here, by calling the box office on 0161 926 8782, or in person at the box office.

Next up for Storm

Anticipation is high for the first competitive Roses clash of the new season, as the Sheffield Steelers make the short trip across the Pennines to the Storm Shelter for Saturday’s challenge cup clash. A day later, Storm travel to the Skydome to open the league and Patton Conference campaigns against the Coventry Blaze. Steelers and Blaze completed their pre-season schedules by facing off against each other this weekend in a home-and-home series.

Steelers won a feisty home leg at the Sheffield Arena 2-1, with Levi Nelson and Tim Wallace on the scoresheet before a late short-handed consolation goal from Coventry assistant coach Brett Robinson.

However, the Steelers melted in the return fixture, as the Blaze forged an impressive 8-2 win at the Skydome. Great Britain forward and ex-Steeler Luke Ferrera was the Coventry hero, deservedly named man-of-the-match after picking up a hat-trick plus two assists against his former team-mates.

Panthers and Devils on a Swiss roll

There were further ground-breaking performances from EIHL sides in the Champions Hockey League, as both Nottingham Panthers and Cardiff Devils posted home wins against Swiss opposition.

Panthers recovered from a 2-0 first period deficit to win 4-2 against the tournament’s fourth seeds, SC Bern. 22 year old Russian winger Alexander Mokshantsev scored twice to bring Panthers level, before Jeff Brown bagged the game winner early in the third period. GB forward Robert Lachowicz found the empty net to kill the game off with 11 seconds remaining.

With four games played, Panthers are now top of a tight Group F with all four teams still in contention. One win from their two remaining games, home and away to Finnish side TPS Turku, would see them become the first British side to qualify for the knock-out stages of the CHL.

Cardiff Devils are out of the running in Group E but after a chastening start to life in the CHL, they regained some pride at Ice Arena Wales with an impressive 4-3 overtime win against a HC Davos side who had humbled them 10-1 in the reverse fixture. Devils twice came from behind before Drew Paris scored a power-play winner 23 seconds into the extra period. Devils will round off their CHL campaign with two tough fixtures against Swedish side Växjö Lakers, who are top of the group with four wins from four.

Storm old boys shine as Stars beat Giants

There was success for three Storm old boys in the weekend’s only other competitive Elite League fixture, with Omar Pacha’s Dundee Stars taking a surprise 3-2 penalty shot win at home to the Belfast Giants. Taylor Dickin set up Riley Stadel to pull Dundee level after Colin Shields had opened the scoring for Belfast, and after Brendan Connolly had put the Giants back ahead, Adam Harding grabbed a late equaliser with just 27 seconds remaining.

In the subsequent shoot-out, Stadel was the only player to find the net; Stars netminder Travis Fullerton made 47 saves in regulation and overtime, and followed up by shutting out all three Giants penalty shots to give Stars the spoils.

Pre-Season round-up

The Stars followed their Belfast win with a short trip to Edinburgh for a pre-season fixture, but they couldn’t repeat their penalty shot magic at Murrayfield. Veteran Russian winger Igor Valeyev scored the winning penalty shot for the Capitals to seal a 3-2 win.

Fife Flyers continued their pre-season preparations with two home fixtures against Herlev Eagles of the Danish Metal Ligaen. On Saturday, Ian Young led the scoring with 2+1 and former Storm defenceman Ričards Birziņš chipped in with an assist as the Flyers won 3-1, but they were unable to repeat the trick on Sunday night, falling 4-1 to the Eagles, Danish international Kim Staal the stand-out performer with two goals.

It was all about the goaltenders as Milton Keynes Lightning took on Guildford Flames in a home-and-home pre-season double. There was a surprise return for former Nottingham keeper Miika Wiikman in the Lightning goal, signed on a short-term deal after regular starter Przemysław Odrobny suffered an injury last weekend. Meanwhile, maverick Flames netminder Brian Stewart generated a more unwelcome set of headlines in the opening fixture, receiving a match penalty for excessive roughness. MK won both games 3-1.

Earlier in the week, the University of Manitoba Bisons concluded their UK tour with games against the Edinburgh Capitals and the Braehead Clan. 16 year old Caly Robertson was on the scoresheet for the Capitals, but the Canadians scored late to win 2-1. The Bisons then beat an experimental Clan line-up 7-1 to end their tour with three wins out of four.

TICKETS: The Go Goodwin’s Manchester Storm welcome arch-rivals, the Sheffield Steelers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday 9th September, here at SilverBlades Ice Rink Altrincham! Tickets can be ordered online by clicking here, by calling the box office on 0161 926 8782, or in person at the box office.