Sunday, April 7, 2013

Graham vs Whitley Update- Graham Wins Championship

Bruce Graham -
Chris Whitley -
Bruce Graham and his Nottingham Panthers took on Chris Whitley and his Cardiff Devils yesterday in the semi finals of the playoffs of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). The EIHL is the top league in the United Kingdom. Bruce got the best of his old teammate "Whits" as he got a hat trick and was the #1 star of the game as Nottingham won the one game playoff  by a score of 6-3. Compared to the CHL the playoff  in the EIHL is quite different and as Bruce explained to me it is set up more like soccer playoffs. Here is how it goes.

- Eight of the ten teams in the league make the playoffs, this is where the similarity to the CHL ends.

- The first round of the playoffs is a two game home and home series with total goals deciding the winner if they split the two games. As it turns out three of the four first round series ended up splitting the two games. Nottingham lost to Fife in their first game 4-2 but won the second game 3-0 to advance on total goals 5-4. Cardiff had a similar road to the semi finals by losing to Braehead 7-5 in their first game and then winning the second game 7-2 to advance on total goals 12-9.

- The second round/semifinals is a one game playoff which took place yesterday (Saturday). As mentioned above Nottingham took on Cardiff in one game and Belfast faced Coventry in the other. Nottingham won 6-3 and Belfast won 5-1 to advance to the one game final game which took place today.

- It is interesting to note that with two games in the first round and only one game in the second round you would think there would be upsets along the way. However, this year the two teams in the finals (Nottingham & Belfast) were the top two teams in the league standings.

- The third place game was played earlier today and Coventry beat Cardiff 11-5. Probably a tough game to play as the last game of the year playing for third place. Chris Whitley gave up five goals in the first period and was replaced. He had a tough playoffs (remember only four game) with a GAA of 6.21 and a save percentage of 82.6%.

-The championship game just finished and Nottingham was the winner with an exciting 3-2 overtime victory over Belfast. The BBC first post an the game is below. The reference to the "dream treble" is that Nottingham won the league championship (equivalent to the CHL's Governor's Cup), the Challenge Cup (a tournament spread through out the season) and the playoff championship (equivalent to the CHL's President's Cup). Congrats to Bruce and Whitney from all of their Allen Americans fans on what I know was a great experience living and playing hockey in England and on an outstanding season. They are headed home to New Brunswick this week.

Elite League play-off final: Nottingham Panthers 3-2 Belfast Giants (after overtime)

Nottingham Panthers secured a dream treble with a gripping overtime Elite League play-off final win over Belfast Giants at the National Ice Centre.
A freak Rob Lachowicz goal and Jonathan Weaver's rasping strike put Panthers 2-0 up at the end of the second period.
Belfast fought back to level at 2-2, through Robby Sandrock's sweet strike and Kevin Saurette's rebound.
But Jordan Fox grabbed the decider on the rebound in the extra period to break Belfast hearts on the powerplay.
Nottingham Wins Playoff Championship

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