ALTRINCHAM ACES 4-2 SHEFFIELD SCIMITARS 12 JANUARY 2003
Second v First as Sheffield brought their 100% League record in but would leave without it. Aces were without Phil Keelan and Steve Michie, Scimitars were missing Neil Hardy and John Ross. Sheffield included ex Steelers Les Millie and Neil Abel who have also been playing for Newcastle Vipers in the BNL this year and apparently played for Edinburgh Capitals on the Saturday night.
The game started, Tim Dempsey sent a shot in, Matt Darlow made an innocuous pad save and there was Greg Allen to his right shooting the puck in after only nine seconds and getting the large home crowd going early on. Jason Hewitt set up Billy Price for a good chance and Sheffield's first effort was a long range shot from Les Millie. Aces were two up in the ninth minute. Brian Worrall chased the puck into the corner, got involved in a tussle with a defenceman but the puck reached the goal crease and Steve Daly prevailed in the scrum in front of the net to put it in. Millie had another couple of attempts saved by Phil Verstappen and was providing virtually all Sheffield's attacking threat. His game would finish soon though. A flowing move saw Greg pass from the left side to Jason who'd outpaced the defence and slotted home. Slightly behind Jason, Millie had tripped Billy from behind and as Billy celebrated in front of Millie, the Sheffield player lost it and started punching which led to him being thrown out. That also seemed to decide the game but Aces couldn't convert on the five minute powerplay.
Phil made a good save to deny Andy Chapman at close range early on but play was end to end without much quality in the way of chances created. Phil continued to keep the Scimitars out stopping one effort close in and a screened shot from Shaun Ashton. Brian showed Abel his speed and sent in a screened shot before more saves from Phil to deny Gavin Farrand and then Abel. As time ran out in the period, Russ Richardson sent in a long range shot that dinged off the post. Sheffield probably edged the period but the Aces had perhaps taken their foot off the gas with the three goal lead and Millie gone.
Phil made a good early low save to deny Abel again but Sheffield were off the mark soon after, Rob Flemming intercepted a clearance and fired home with Phil not quite getting enough of his belly on it to stop it. That put Sheffield properly in the game and they benefited from a scuffle soon after that saw Chapman go for elbows, Jason for roughing (holding onto the elbow) and John Wigston for being third man in, Aces ending up being shorthanded for four minutes with Tim sitting a double minor. Sheffield converted the powerplay as it wound down, Phil having made two saves from Dan Hughes but Shaun Ashton put in the final rebound. Only 3-2 now and that got nerves jangling. Greg had 2 good chances, one almost squeezing through Darlow as the game remained on a knife edge and then a Dean Smith shot hit the post of the Aces goal. Sheffield took a too many men minor and that set off a string of minors for them. With Aces 5 on 3, Nick Crawley's shot from the blue line sailed into the top of the net settling those nerves down. Sheffield's penalties meant they couldn't really threaten and Greg had a shot just saved and Tim hit the pipework. That was that and a 4-2 win for the Aces, the team performance all the way through that was needed to get the win.
Altrincham 2 Yorkshire 0.
1-0 00.09 Allen from Dempsey
2-0 08.47 Daly
3-0 15.58 Hewitt from Allen PPG
3-1 42.26 Flemming from Farrand
3-2 47.28 S Ashton from Hughes PPG
4-2 53.52 Crawley from R Richardson and Price PPG
Tim Dempsey 0+1, Greg
Allen 1+1 (MoM), Russ Richardson 0+1, Brian Worrall,
Nick Crawley 1+0, Jason Hewitt 1+0, Simon Mills, Arran Richardson, Stephen Elliott,
Luke Stretton, Steve Daly 1+0, Kevin Cassidy, Billy Price 0+1
Phil Verstappen (37s, 2g, 94.59%), Danny Higgin
SOG 40-37 PIMS 41-92