Yet again, another exciting night in the IIHL Development Division, as the Dublin Rams and DkIT Ravens collided, followed by the Dublin Wolves and the Dundalk Bulls Ladies. As expected, the two games were filled with excitement, especially the first game between the College men and the playoff-aspiring Rams.
The game started slowly, seeming well balanced early on. The Ravens were somewhat depleted with five important members of the team out, including their top scorer as well as key players in other positions. However, they could welcome back their player-coach Patrick Jarratt. The Rams on the other-hand had one of their fullest benches of the season, and were looking to continue their winning ways and step closer to a playoff spot. Last time the teams met, it was an intense affair with the Ravens winning 4-2.
Midway through the first the Rams broke the deadlock from a scrappy mess in front of the Ravens net. Gerard Lopez got the goal, with Marian Pavlovcak picking up an assist. Looking to get a goal back, the Ravens pushed forward, with the Hayes, Guest, Pope line looking most threatening. But the Rams scored next to make the score 2-0 after a mistake in the Ravens zone, scored by Gerard Lopez for his 2nd of the game. They tagged on a third with another mistake and the game then got out of control.
Jason Monahan clashed with a Rams forward and was ejected from the game, with a match penalty. This was followed by indiscipline on both sides, as Ravens coach Jarratt was ejected from the game. Rams goal scorer Lopez was also removed from the game with a match penalty. After the players had picked up their gear, the game continued end-to-end in an exciting affair, both teams with good chances. Soon after, Ravens player Stephen Hayes was ejected, following a second misconduct. The Rams were then able to dominate the rest of the game, making the score 4-0 with Marian Pavlovcak getting the 4th goal.
The Ravens had a chance with a penalty shot, but Andrew Guest couldn’t beat Johannes Granlund, as he went backhand only to be stopped by Granlund?s right pad. Late in the game, the Rams scored a fifth, and ended the three game winning streak and marched closer to the playoffs.
In the other game the Wolves beat the Bulls Ladies 9-1 thanks to 3 goals from Ross Killen, 2 from both Roman Bnocko and Karim Saleh and 1 each from Ajiptal Dhaliwal and Vlado Zak. The Bulls Ladies only response came from Martin Palenikova. The Wolves definitely look heavy favourites for the title, with only two dropped points this season.
Yet again, the improvement in the IIHL Development Division is a credit to all teams, and as the end of the season approaches, everyone builds towards a successful 08-09 season.