This Wednesday will see the Belfast Eagles and DKIT Ravens meet each other in the IIHL Development Division. The game faces off at 8:30 p.m. in Ireland’s ice hockey capital, Dundalk Ice Dome. It may not seem like it will have a huge impact on the standings or on the league as a whole. However, it is a must win game for both teams.
The Eagles have had erratic form since the start of the season. They started off losing 12-1 to a very impressive Dublin Rams ‘B’ team which was followed by a 1-0 victory over the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’ (that game is to be replayed) which was bad luck for the Eagles. A few weeks later came a 1-0 loss to the Dundalk Bulls Ladies in which the Eagles had 41 shots on goal and couldn’t find the back of the net due to some excellent goaltending.
They had played 3 games and had no points in the standings, however, they didn’t let their heads down coming out all guns blazing against the Latvian Hawks ‘B’ winning 6-3. This was quite arguably their best game of the season as they went down 1-0 early in the 1st period only to score three unanswered goals, two of which came from Mat Laury. The Hawks then fought back to level the score 3-3 shortly into the 3rd period. Credit has to be given to the Eagles as they kept plugging away and scored three more unanswered goals to win the game 6-3 with Mat Laury capping his Hat-Trick off with the final goal of the game mid way through the third.
Another loss followed soon after when they took on the Dublin Wolves. This game finished 8-3 in favour of the Dublin outfit. However, the Eagles picked themselves up once more and came to Dundalk to take on the Whalers and in a closely fought game the Eagles just about edged it in a 3-2 victory with goals from Chris Evans, Mike McGrath and Ross Gibson. However, despite this victory they may have felt as though they lost more in this game as several key players picked up suspensions. They then took on the Kilkenny City Storm and were outplayed by a very hard working team. So it just seems as though the Eagles can’t get on a roll but they may be looking at this game for just that. A win will take them 3 points clear of the Latvian Hawks ‘B’ and into 5th position in the standings. However, they need to vastly tighten up their defence and score more goals as their goal difference stands at -15 which is the second worst in the league.
On the other side of the coin, the Ravens started off terrifically with a 6-2 win over the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’ team in the opening game of the season. However, they then went through a rough patch and lost 3 in a row. It was one after another with losses against the Hawks ‘B’, Storm and a heart breaking 4-3 loss to the Whalers. It was after that game, the players and coach must have asked major questions of themselves. They had talented players who coupled with hard working individuals but it just wasn’t clicking. Whatever was said following after that game certainly worked.
They took on the Dundalk Bulls Ladies next and the Ravens knew they were in with a tough task. They needed to find a way to score on arguably the best Goaltender in the league, Seanna Conway. They did, with Chynna Pope scoring the first goal 16 seconds into the first period. That may just be the quickest goal of the season so far, in either league. Michael Rogan assisted on that goal getting the first of his 5 points out of the way early. He went onto to score four goals, two of which were absolute crackers as he picked out the corners perfectly. The Ravens finished off the game 8-0 with Miceal O’Neill getting his first shutout of the season. They had worked hard for that result and deserved it too.
Next up were the Dublin Rams ‘B’ and the Ravens were the underdogs going into this game. They needed to be up for this and all was going to plan for the short benched Dublin team as they were up 2-0 after ten minutes. However, the Ravens pulled one back 3 minutes later with a goal from Michael Hayes assisted by Patrick Jarratt and Aidan Morris. Michael Hayes then went onto score three more goals that night with coach Patrick Jarratt figuring in three of his four goals. They won that game 4-2 and the Rams ‘B’ were left stunned as the Ravens fought for every inch and put their bodies on the line when needed. As it stands they have played 6 games and won 3. They’ve won 2 in a row and must be looking to make it 3 and move into 3rd place in the standings above the Dublin Rams ‘B’.
This should prove to be a very close game and a very entertaining one too. The game is this Wednesday 6-2-2008 and faces off at 8:30 pm in the Dundalk Ice Dome and entry is free. Come along and enjoy the IIHL Development Division.