The season is back in full swing after the Christmas break and the past week was probably the best example of this with 11 teams in action. In total, 6 games took place with 5 in the IIHL Recreational Division and 1 in the IIHL. The week started with a late night contest between the DkIT Ravens and the Kilkenny City Storm on Tuesday. The game started off at a fairly fast pace with the Ravens scoring first on the 6:48 mark through Jason Monahan off a feed from Michael Rogan. However, the Storm tied it up 5 minutes later through Harry Maharaj. The game was close and tempers started to flare up with both Rogan and Jamie Cummins, of the Storm, sitting 2 minutes each for roughing. The teams went into the second period a goal apiece but the Storm took the lead early in the period through Scott Latimer. Craig Fay picked up the assist. Both teams then traded chances for the remainder of the period but neither could find the back of the net. The score going into the third period was 2 – 1. The Storm then wrapped the game up in the third period with goals from Brian Murphy, Vladimir Nizjolko and Garry Fox. Final Score was 5 – 1 to Storm with Rajski in net for the Storm picking up the win with 20 saves. O’Neill in the other net stopped 25 of 30 shots he faced.
The weekend’s action started on Saturday evening with the Dundalk Bulls Ladies hosting the Dublin Wolves. Both teams have been close to the bottom of the table all season long and a win for either team would earn them a few places in the standings. The Wolves took the lead after only 2 minutes with Mark Teather slipping a lose puck past Jodi Plocher, in net for the Ladies. The first period ended 1 – 0 to the Wolves but the Ladies were quick to tie it up in the second period with Martina Palenikova scoring a wrap around effort with only 35 seconds gone in the period. That first forward line combination of Palenikova, Gabriela Vlasankova and Lorna Hoey caused the Wolves nothing but problems all night. They had several chances but Bill Arsenault, in net for the Wolves, was up to the task and turned several efforts aside. The Wolves finished this game off though with goals from David Freeman and Jimmy Young. The final score was 3 – 1 to the Wolves. Arsenault stopped 18 shots while Plocher stopped 22 of the 25 she faced.
Immediately following that game, saw the only IIHL encounter of the week take place with the Dublin Rams hosting the Dublin Wolves. This was an extremely close game in the first 2 periods with the score 5 – 4 to the Rams after 40 minutes of play. It was only in the last 10 minutes of the game that the Rams decided to turn it on scoring 6 unanswered goals. The final score was 12 – 5 to the Rams in what was an excellent game despite the scoreline. Sean Gibson, in net for the Rams stopped 26 shots of the 31 he faced. While, Dermot Carney, in net for the Wolves, stopped 44 shots of the 56 he faced. The Rams also edged in the penalty department clocking up 26 minutes to the Wolves 22 minutes.
Sunday evening saw 3 games take place at the Dundalk Ice Dome with the Drogheda Ice Breakers 1 hosting the Flyers I.H.C. The Ice Breakers 1 took the lead against a 7 man Flyers team after only 13 seconds through Klavs Ciprikis. They doubled this lead a minute later through Pavol Kuruc. However, it was 10 minutes later before the Ice Breakers 1 scored again as the Flyers constantly frustrated them. Smisek Franto got the third goal for the Ice Breakers 1 while Emmet Dowling, in net for the Flyers, made 15 saves. As was probably expected, the Flyers’ players got extremely tired and conceded 4 more goals in the 2nd Period and a further 5 in the 3rd Period. The final score was 12 – 0 to the Ice Breakers 1 who are now top of the standings with the Flyers slipping to second position. Dowling faced 50 shots while Robert Trnovec made 10 saves to earn the win and his shutout.
The second game on Sunday saw the Dundalk Bulls host the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks took an early lead with the goal coming from Juris Lansbergs and assists going to Eduards Hmnelicki and Normunds Ekuss. The Bulls responded a minute later through Robert Grochowicz who added a second for the lead 5 minutes later. The Bulls then went 2 goals up just before the break through Lucasz Pniewski. They then added 3 more goals in the second period through Grochowicz, Pniewski and Roman Pecho. The Blackhawks pulled one back through Oskars Strazdins. They then opened the scoring in the 3rd period with a goal from Aleksandrs Staselovic. However, Grochowicz of the Bulls finished off the scoring with his 4th of the night and the Bulls 7th. The final score was 7 – 3 to the Bulls.
The final game of the week was a tight battle between the Drogheda Ice Breakers 2 and the DkIT Ravens. The Ravens took and early lead with 2 goals in the first 10 minutes. First up was Michael Rogan who got an unassisted marker. This was followed by a goal from Paul Hughes off a feed from Patrick Jarratt. The Ravens kept their 2 goal lead going into the second period. However, late in the second the Ice Breakers 2 clawed back a goal on the powerplay. Vysnal Lubo fired the puck past O’Neill, in net for the Ravens, after he received the puck from Armands Paudrups. This set up a very tight match up for the third period. Both teams traded chances. O’Neill in particular stood on his head as he stopped all 10 shots he faced in that period for a total of 24 saves on 25 shots. The Ravens added a 3rd goal through Blaine Rennicks from Aidan Shields. The final Score was 3 – 1 to the Ravens.