Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Everything you need to know about Guildford Flames Ice hockey team after the 3-0 win against Dundee Stars

Posted on 22 March 2018 by José Bourbon

The Guildford Flames are currently playing in the Elite Ice Hockey League – the highest level of ice hockey in the UK – for the first time in their history. Last night (March 21),  they defeated the Dundee Stars, who already have no chance of reaching the playoffs. They finished with a 3-0 comfortable victory, and the Sports Gazette were covering the match. With two games to play before the knockout phase starts, here is everything you need to know.

Current Situation

With the win last night, the Flames now have 65 points (a win is worth two points) and are currently in the sixth position in the league. With two games ahead before the playoffs, mathematically they still have a chance to finish in the top four which would give them home advantage when playing in the quarter-finals.

Guildford are three points behind Belfast Giants (third) and Fife Flyers (fourth, with a game in hand) both with 68 points. Sheffield Steelers are fifth with 67 points and Nottingham Panthers are also fighting for the top four. They too have 65 points.

Ice Hockey League Table retired from the EIHL f website
Elite Ice Hockey League Table (via the EIHL official website)

The top-four goal is incredibly difficult to achieve but not impossible. However, the Flames can’t do more than focus on what they can control – winning their games – as Head Coach Paul Dixon explained last night, in a post-match interview with Sports Gazette.

What’s next?

The last two games of the regular phase of the season are going to be played this weekend. First, on Saturday they face Braehead Clan at home, a difficult match since Clan are currently eighth in the league (with 48 points) and are still fighting for the last playoff spot. The same can be said about Coventry Blaze who have just one point less than Braehead.

The playoffs start at the end of the month – March 31st – and as Ben Campbell, who scored one of the goals yesterday night explained to Sports Gazette, making the top four would be “massive” but , he says: “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who we get because they’re always going to be tough games.”

Key Players

John Dunbar has definitely been the one carrying the team in his first season in the top tier of British ice hockey. With an impressive record of 77 points – just surpassed by the Manchester Storm Forward Mike Hammond – and 57 assists, leading in this category, without a doubt that Flames’ aspirations in the playoffs will have a direct correlation to Dumbar’s performances.

Also, defender Jesse Craige has been playing at a consistently high level as his 51 assists this season show.

Flames Fans

For a Wednesday, the stadium was at least half full and fans showed constant support to their players, even when in the first half the Flames were having some difficulties to open the score.

Guildford Flames fans are living the dream as this is their first season in the first division, and that can also be seen in the perfect relationship between fans and players. The key to this success in their debut year may be the fact they are playing without pressure as Kevin, a Flames and NHL fan, explained last night.