With the Elite Ice Hockey league now past the halfway stage, The Sports Lowdown takes a look at which teams are competing for the title and who have been the standout players so far.
It is currently Cardiff who lead the way, having won 20 of their 31 games and finding themselves well positioned on 43 points. Cardiff finished third last year and have kicked on this season. Last year’s league winners Sheffield are in second with 28 wins from their 29 games. They are six points off Cardiff but have two games in hand. Belfast also have 37 points and have only played 28 games, while Nottingham have 36 points from 29 games. The other two teams still in contention for the league title are Braehead and Dundee, who have 35 and 34 points respectively.
There is then a gap down to Fife, who are in seventh with 27 points. Last year’s play-off winners Coventry are having a poor season. They have won just twelve of their 26 matches and have 26 points. The two sides looking like they will miss out on the play-offs are the newly formed Manchester and Edinburgh. Both teams having just 21 points and will need to improve significantly to get into the top eight.
This year’s top scorer is Joey Martin of Cardiff, who has 48 points to his name. Ryan Hayes of Edinburgh has 47 points and another Cardiff player, Andrew Hotham has 45 points. Chris Holt of Braehead has been the standout keeper, while Stephen Murray of Belfast and Nottingham stopper Miika Wiikman also impressing.
There is still plenty of time for the league table to change, although it is worth mentioning the teams in the Erhardt Conference seem to be doing better than those in the Gardiner Conference.