Chelmsford Chieftains had a dominant weekend in NIHL Division 2 South, shutting-out both Swindon Wildcats and Peterborough Phantoms. The perfect way to say goodbye to Riverside Ice and Leisure as they take to the road for the rest of the 2018/19 season. With the rink closing until spring 2019 the remaining ‘Home’ games will be played at Lee Valley. On Saturday the Wildcats were short-benched with only nine players, so from the off it was always going to be an uphill struggle for the visitors. Chieftains dominated the game from the off in a one-sided affair which ended with them outshooting their opponents by 82-22 shots on goal. Brad Moore, James Ayling and Cameron Bartlett all netted a brace to help secure a emphatic 11-0 victory with Chieftains shot-stopper James Tipple getting his first shut-out in the Black and Gold. Sunday was always going to be the game of the weekend with the visit of Peterborough Phantoms. Always a tough and physical encounter and a big game for coach Joe Wilson who has spent all of his hockey career at his home time club before moving to Riverside to coach the Chieftains. A massive crowd turned up to witness the clubs final game in the city before their temporary move and they were treat to a entertaining evening of end-to-end ice hockey. Always a bruising encounter and within ten minutes the gloves were off. Grant Bartlett put a late hit on Kenny Bavin which lit the blue-touch paper. This infuriated the Phantoms who surrounded Bartlett and from the melee emerged twin Cameron and Phantom Jack Sansby throwing punches. Both players went down to the ice which ended in the visitors getting a four-minute powerplay. Phantoms pressurised the Chieftains defence but they held firm aided by some superb stops from Sonny Phillips between the pipes. With the powerplay and both sides equal the game continued at a fast pace with both teams having chances to open the scoring. But both netminders and defences were up to the challenge and the first period ended goal-less. Just 26 seconds into the second period the deadlock was broken. Cameron Bartlett’s pass to Grant Bartlett was struck sweetly past Dan Lane to give Chieftains the lead. But with such a slender lead it wasn’t time for the Phantoms to change tactics and their well marshalled defence kept the Chieftains forwards at bay for the remainder of the period. Two periods down, 1-0 Chieftains with both sides still having all to play for in the final twenty minutes of play. 40 seconds after the restart Chieftains were on the back foot after Charlie Phillips was given a two-minute penalty for illegal equipment. This brought the Phantoms defence out on the attack but Chieftains defenceman intercepted the puck and his pinpoint pass to the TJ Fillery ended with the nippy forward beating Lane low to the right. A shorthanded goal making it 2-0 Chieftains at 42:22. The floodgates opened and a further three goals from Elliot Dervish, Courtney Grant and Charlie Phillips in just four minutes sealed both the game and Lane’s night between the posts. He was replaced by Jack Peacock whom stemmed the scoring temporarily, Ayling and Cameron Bartlett scoring late to put the icing on the cake. A 7-0 Chieftains victory and four maximum points over the weekend. The Chieftains stay top of the pile in NIHL Division 2 South six points clear of Cardiff whom dropped their first points of the season last weekend.
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