ICE HOCKEY: It was celebration all round this weekend at the Riverside as the Chelmsford Chieftains and Warriors picked up maximum points to keep in the hunt for top spot in their respective leagues.
On the Isle of Wight the Chieftains ran in an early 3-1 lead with the goals coming from Gary Clarke, Danny Hammond and James Ayling.
But it was a nervy ending to the game as a third period goal from the home side almost cost the Chieftains a point. However, they battled on to send the large travelling fans home happy.
Clarke had said before the game that he expected a different side to what has been seen in recent weeks and overall it was a comfortable result, if unspectacular.
In Essex, it took two late goals from Gary Brown and Lee Hounslow to secure the two points for the Warriors after they had traded goals with the Buffalo throughout the game to leave the scoreline at 5-5 with five minutes to play.
On Sunday, the always intense games between the Chieftains and Dynamos seemed in the offing again, but it was a slow start from both sides and neither side broke down Ben Clements or former Chieftains stopper David Wride in the first session of play and at the first interval it was 0-0.
In the second, the home side began to take control of the game by utilising all the players on the bench whereas the visiting coach, Kevin Parrish, tried to keep his side in the game by sticking to his top two lines of players on a rotation basis.
It was to no avail though as they tired quicker and towards the end of the period an edge was beginning to creep into the game. Michael Ranby netted first for the Chieftains in this period before a wonderful individual effort from Cameron Bartlett who fired into the top corner after dinking in and out of the Dynamos defence leaving them all red faced.
Andy Smith and Julius Sinkovic squared up in front of Clements’s net, but the officials kept them apart before the gloves came off and sent both for two minutes for roughing.
Callum Fowler was fortunate with a lucky bounce at the back post to score with a minute to go. The third was one-way traffic as the home side ran in five unanswered goals from Sinkovic who got two, as did Ayling and a single marker from Darren Brown.
However, the main talking point will be the off-ice antics of the Dynamos bench and in particular Parrish.
After an incident on the ice, Peter Vaisenan was sent to the penalty box and then a water bottle was thrown across from the Dynamos bench towards the home team. The sin bin attendant made the officials aware of this as they had missed it while sorting out the penalties.
Then something was said from the visiting coach that caused the attendant to decide enough was enough and leave the box.
This caused another water bottle to be thrown at the off-ice official and it clearly came from Parrish and this caused a melee of players and officials around the penalty box.
It threatened to get ugly as various items of kit and furniture appeared to be attempted to be launched, but cooler heads on both benches stopped it escalating out of hand.
In the aftermath, Parrish was assessed a match penalty for failing to control the bench and as such missed the remainder of the game and will face a minimum of a one-game suspension, which could increase upon review by the EIHA.
Next weekend it’s just one home game on Sunday afternoon at 2pm as the Cardiff NIHL Devils come to town in what will be an intense and physical affair.
Following hot on the heels of the first five names announced last week, there has been a flurry of interest in the Chelmsford Chieftains 25th Anniversary game at the Riverside on December 30.
It is only fitting then that the Chieftains Legends team has a further announcement of players to go alongside the great news that long time programme and promotional material printers Solopress will be sponsoring the game.
First is Craig Britton, a defenceman from Peterborough who has made 141 appearances for the club in 3 spells at the Essex side, including being a key part of the treble-winning side of 1999-2000.
Also in that fantastic season were two brothers who would both go on to be Chieftains icons in the form of Darren and Jon Cotton.
Finally, defenceman Phil Donovan made 149 appearances for the club in a spell lasting six years from 1990 to 1996, before moving on to Romford and then Invicta Dynamos where he finished his career in 2001.