WEEK 6 of the 2023/24 Elite Ice Hockey League season and the Flyers make an early start to proceedings with their first visit of the season to Nottingham. This will be the first meeting with the Panthers this term as it will be on Friday night when we head to the Storm Shelter to meet the Manchester Storm. The three games in five days is wrapped up on Sunday night when the Flyers welcome the Sheffield Steelers for the first time this term to the Auld Barn.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25th v NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS @ MOTORPOINT ARENA – FACE Off 7.30pm
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The Panthers start to the season has seen them struggle somewhat in their Challenge Cup fixtures yet in the league they have the chance to go joint top with rivals the Sheffield Steelers with a win against the Flyers.
So far in league competition they have won five of their six outings. They have yet to lose, or indeed win, any more than two consecutive games so far this term. Panthers opened the season with a fine 4-2 road win in Manchester in the Challenge Cup but as mentioned above have since struggled in the competition with three consecutive defeats, losing a second game at the Storm shelter as well as two big derby game losses at home to the Steelers where they were outscored 1-10.
In the league the Storm exacted some revenge after their opening night loss at home to the Panthers by winning the next night in Nottingham to claim two big league points. Since then the Panthers are unbeaten in the league with their next four games all single goal decisions. A shootout win in Guildford was followed by a 3-2 win against the Devils at the Motorpoint arena. The Dundee Stars were defeated 2-1 after overtime in the Lace City before a crazy 7-6 shootout win up in Glasgow. Last time out they were also north of the border where they ran up a convincing 7-2 win against the Dundee Stars last Sunday night.
Last League Visit to Panthers
Overall Elite League Away Record Against Panthers
P 27 W 9 L 18 F 70 A 89
Although the Flyers were blanked on their last visit to Nottingham they have a pretty decent road record there in recent times as they had won on four of their previous five visits.
Last season saw the Flyers win the series between the two teams by four games to two – with the Flyers outscoring the Panthers 19-13.
The Flyers require four goals to reach 900 on the road in all EIHL competitions – this number excludes shootout goals.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 27th v MANCHESTER STORM @ PLANIT ICE ALTRINCHAM – FACE Off 7.30pm
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The Storm were early leaders in the league standings but have lost their last four games in all competitions and come into the weekend a couple of points ahead of the Flyers having played two more games. They find themselves in a Challenge Cup group being dominated by the Sheffield Steelers and at the halfway stage of games played they have two points along with the Nottingham Panthers so it appears a straight fight between those two to guarantee progression. Looking at the Challenge Cup they have so far split two games with the Panthers on home ice and lost both home and away to the Steelers. In the league they had points in their opening four games with a win against the Panthers followed by another home ice win when the Stars visited. The next night they got a point in Dundee in a 2-3 shootout loss before they won 3-2 in overtime down in Guildford. Last weekend they suffered back to back defeats against the Cardiff Devils in a home and home series. They are the only team so far this season not to be involved in a shutout game and have recorded the second fewest shots on goal whilst only the Flyers have given up more shots on goal so far.
Last League Visit to Storm
Overall Elite League Away Record Against Storm
P 14 W 5 L 9 F 39 A 49
The Flyers lost on their last visit to Manchester Nottingham although they won the other two league matches last term in the Storm Shelter.
Since the Storm entered the EIHL in season 2015/16 the Flyers have picked up at least one each season in Altrincham.
Last season saw the Flyers win the series between the two teams by four games to two – with the Flyers outscoring the Panthers 21-19.
The Storm remain the only active team in the EIHL that the Flyers have yet to have a hat trick scorer against – Milton Keynes were the other.
One more goal for Dallas Erhardt will tie him for the Storm’s leading scorer against the Flyers – Paul Phillips leads with 8 goals.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 29th v SHEFFIELD STEELERS @ FIFE ICE ARENA – FACE Off 5.15pm
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The Steelers head into this weekend with a seven game winning sequence on the line as they are set to meet the Nottingham Panthers at home before heading North to Fife. They have lost only one game to date and currently sit top of the league standings. Across all EIHL competitions they lead the league with three shutouts in their 11 games and of course blanked the Flyers last weekend. They have a league low goals per game against at 1.36 and are second in goals per game. Steelers have scored 12 on the powerplay which once again is most so far this season along with putting the most shots on goal per game so far whilst only the Belfast Giants have given up fewer shots per game.
Steelers opened the season with a 3-2 home win against the Coventry Blaze in the league and followed that up with a 3-1 win in Guildford the next night. Their only defeat came the following weekend when the Cardiff Devils won 3-2 at the Utilita Arena but since then they have won their next three, a 5-2 win in Coventry, at home to the Dundee Stars 3-0 and then 3-2 in Glasgow. Last weekend they maintained their top spot by beating the Flyers 5-0. To date they have played four games in their Challenge Cup group where they have a 100% record. Having scored six goals in each of their opening three games, 6-0 in Nottingham, 6-3 in Manchester and 6-1 at home to the Storm they won their last game last weekend 4-1 in Nottingham.
Last League Visit from Steelers
Overall Elite League Home Record Against Steelers
P 27 W 7 L 20 F 64 A 102
With the Steelers blanking the Flyers in each of their last three meetings the Flyers will be attempting to end that record setting sequence.
The Steelers last visit saw them win in a shootout after a goalless 65 minutes of hockey – this was the second such game that the Flyers had played in the space of a few weeks when they had early lost at Coventry – both games are they lowest scoring games played by Flyers across all eras.
The Steelers have won on their last four visits to Fife in the league – the last Flyers victory came on 2nd March 2022 when Kyle Thacker, Brandon Magee, Jonas Emmerdahl and Jacob Benson double gave them a 5-3 win.
Last season the Flyers were swept in the six league games between the two sides and were outscored 3-19 whilst being shutout in four of the games.