This Weekends Preview!

Another weekend comes upon us with 2 games of some significance again. The Saturday fixture away at Basingstoke looks a crucial fixture as we aim to climb up the table from 5th to challenge for the top few places. This coupled with the return of the Leeds Chiefs makes it a weekend featuring a tough away fixture and a local derby. What more could we want?

The Leeds Chiefs are no strangers to us this season and although they prop the league table up with only 5 wins so far this season they will play a tough and physical game. They have experienced much misfortune in their debut season but have stuck together and shown they are capable of grinding out wins in the most unexpected of scenarios.

It is clear to see the Chiefs deficiencies when you look at the league table and at their roster. They have a small group of players, many with limited experience of professional hockey. This coupled with the lowest tally of goals scored in the league paints a grim picture for them. Digging deeper we see that even with experienced players in the squad such as Luke Boothroyd, Steve Buncombe and Richard Bentham they are struggling to create enough and stop enough getting through to net minder Sam Gospel. His 89.02% save percentage will be a concern to him but given the fact he has faced well over 1000 shots so far this season it appears he may have a valid reason for this.

At the other end their line is being spearheaded by young Brit Adam Barnes who currently sits with 38 points from 28 games. From what we’ve seen of him he looks a very talented player but often takes silly penalties which result in the Leeds team missing their most offensive output for 2 minutes or longer. Steven Moore who was so prolific in the NIHL for Solway looks to have found this step up a challenge and currently has just 15 points in 29 games. It is worth noting that no Leeds player other than Barnes has more than a point a game this season.

Despite what I’ve written above the Hull team know this will be no walk in the park. Local derbies are never dull and Leeds, despite what the stats may say, are a tough outfit to play. We must simply hope that our D is too strong for their offensive efforts and that what is probably the best offensive line up in the league have too much for the D of Leeds.

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media


Match Review – 05/01/20

Chamberlain Seals Win After Epic Cats ComebackBobby Chamberlain’s powerplay goal inside the last two minutes sealed a much important 2 points after a stunning fightback from the second-placed Swindon Wildcats on Sunday evening.

After a devastating 9-4 loss at the hands of MK Lightning the evening before, Jason Hewitt’s men looked to put their away form behind them as the first home game of 2020 began; and his team did not disappoint, putting 5 goals past Wildcats’ goaltender Reny Marr inside the first period.

Lee Bonner got the ball rolling just after the three minutes when James Archer’s pass on the forecheck found him in space to open the scoring. [3:09]. With Ash Smith keeping the Wildcats’ response out, the Pirates broke forward and with Archer and Bonner linking up, the score was doubled by the Pirates #2 [11:32].Less than a minute later and the home side had their third. David Norris slammed home top-shelf for a three goal lead [12:09], with Swindon calling their timeout with an aim of quelling the storm.However the Pirates remained relentless, adding a fourth when Bonner scored a highlight reel goal for his second of the game.

Picking the puck up on the halfway line, he faked around Neil Liddiard before drawing out Marr, dekeing around him and slotting home [13:36].Swindon managed to get themselves onto the scoresheet shortly after, when Sam Godfrey’s shot from the blue line crept through traffic and past Smith to narrow the deficit to 4-1 [14:49].

Unfortunately for the visitors, Jonathan Kirk’s own one-timer from the blue liner powered past Marr restoring the home side’s four goal advantage and ensuring the Pirates entered the first break in blistering fashion.

The second period passed with both sides effectively cancelling each other out. As Swindon pushed to regain a foothold in the game, the only goal of the period came when Tyler Vankleef battled through the Pirates defence before slipping past Smith [27:32], taking the game to 5-2 for the start of the final period.Short on bodies, fatigue began to play a part in the Pirates’ last period; and indeed the Wildcats grabbed their third when a counter attack allowed Chris Jones through alone against Smith, putting his shot past the home goalie to cut the lead to two [46:41].

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Cats had their fourth. Jones grabbing his second of the night with an individual effort of his own to make it a one-goal game [53:21]. After having a goal waived off for interference, the Wildcats did manage to find their equaliser, a scramble in front of Smith leading to Tomasz Malasinsky poking the puck under Smith to tie the game at five each [56:09].

With overtime looming, the Pirates found themselves on a late power play which ended when Norris found Chamberlain in space at the back post, who made no mistake in sealing the win and two points [58:44].

Man Of The Match Awards:-

Swindon Wildcats – #36 Tyler Vankleef
Hull Pirates – #9 David Norris

Author – Greig Cardwell


Player Injury Update.

The Pirates have been plagued with injuries through the first half of this season, with five players missing from action over the last few weekends.

However, good news is on the horizon with the majority of these players hopefully returning to the ice within the coming weeks.

Looking to return this weekend is Matty Davies. After a period of absence due to a lower body injury, Matty has been training with the team over the past few weeks and all being well we should be welcoming him back for this weekend’s fixtures.

Defenceman Lee Haywood is also looking to return in the next 2-3 weeks after also suffering with a lower body injury.

Josh Gent will hopefully be returning to training as of this week after a serious injury early in the season removed him from action. Depending on how this goes, Gent is aiming to return competitive games in the next few weeks.

After fracturing his wrist in the recent away fixture against Sheffield, Aaron Smith is recovering well and it has been predicted we will be see him play again in 4 weeks’ time.

Unfortunately there is no set timescale for the return of Marcus Neil. Marcus continues to train.
We hope to see Marcus return ASAP.


We face our biggest rivals Sheffield Steeldogs in a double header weekend.

2 more points last week in the final game before Christmas leads into a massive double header against Sheffield.

Away on the 28th at Sheffield will no doubt be a tough challenge against an always physical and gritty Steeldogs team. This coupled with a home game against the same outfit the following night promises us a great weekend of hockey.

Sheffield sit directly below us in the table so this double header is crucial as we aim to put further distance between ourselves and the Steeldogs.

At the back they have Dmitri Zimzodra currently on 89.4% save percentage. He is backed up by captain Ben Morgan and Lewis Bell who have bags of experience at this level. Going forward they offer loads of threat with former Pirate Nathan Salem currently on 33 points in 19 games. Imports Vladimir Luka and Jan Danecek offer some more offence also. The stand out player is undoubtedly Kieron Brown who sits on nearly 2 points a game.

From previous history its apparent that these 2 games will be very much no holds barred. These are always tough and physical affairs with that both teams will love to play in as much as us fans love to see it. One body missing from this is Ashley Calvert who has switched teams to join the Leeds Chiefs. Will this bring a change in the physical approach from the Steeldogs? I’d guess probably not as there are others that offer similar size and power on the ice. This size is complemented by speedy in abundance from players such as Cam Brownley.

The Pirates will hope to add some consistency to their game and look at picking up a decent point total this weekend. We know how well the Hull fans travel to this fixture so lets be noisy and passionate to spur the lads onto the weekend games.

Lastly I’d like to wish you all a happy new year and a prosperous 2020!

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media


Preview for our final fixtures before Christmas.

Another 2 point weekend with an away loss in London followed by an impressive 6-2 win against Bracknell at home. This leaves us firmly in the middle of the pack with a big gap to the top 2.

This weekend we travel away to table topping Telford. This looks no easy game against a team who look threatening offensively but Scrooge like at the back. Telford have got multiple bodies back into their line up since last we met and coupled with the impressive Whistle look a front runner for the league this year.

This game is followed by Leeds on the Sunday in Hull. The Leeds Chiefs were rocked last week by the request of 3 key players to leave the club. This however made little difference to them as they recorded 4 point weekend with home and away wins against Basingstoke.

The Leeds team appear now to be a stronger defensive outfit than offensive. Backstopped by Sam Gospel with a 90% save percentage and with old wise heads of Luke Boothroyd and Steve Duncombe they will be organised at the back but our offensive pace may cause some problems.

Up top it’s more a case of what they are now missing instead of what they have. Archer has rejoined ourselves whilst Radek Miedl, who was the top points scorer for the Chiefs, has also left the club. Still with them is Adam Barnes who has just over a point a game with 25 in 21 appearances. Other than him they are limited to players who currently sit with less than 1 point every 2 games.

Without a doubt this season will be a steep learning curve for the Leeds outfit. They have not been helped by ongoing delays in the development of the Leeds Arena, a theft of equipment and departures from the team. Still the results from the previous weekend show they will be no mugs and again Pirates will have to be at their best.

The pirates will be hoping to see bodies return to the ice over the festive period and also build some momentum. Lets hope we can have a loud and passionate atmosphere in the last game before Christmas. I’m sure a solid 4 point weekend is very much on Hewy’s list to Santa.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas period. Merry Christmas!

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirates Media


This Weekends Preview

A 2 point weekend after a big loss away to Swindon was followed up by a tough 5-3 win against a resurgent Milton Keynes on the Sunday

This weekend we travel away to London on Saturday for a game which will be a tough game. Despite being short numbered London proved to be a gritty team when they visited us earlier in the season. They play tight systems and fight for each other to the end which makes them difficult to break down.
This game is followed by Bracknell Bees on the Sunday in Hull.

The Bees beat us a few weeks ago coming out victorious on penalty shots. This, again, will be no easy game to succeed in. Bracknell are backstopped by net minder Adam Goss who currently has an 87.46% save percentage. This may be due to what appears a lightweight defensive set up. Hogg and Knaggs appear to be the stand out D men on the team and are offering some support offensively also.

At the top they have made some changes and replaced import Kovar with Dominik Gabaj. Gabaj has played 5 games but has a hefty 10 goals and 6 assists. This makes him look like the stand alone threat in this Bees team with all other players struggling to break through the point a game barrier. Import Roman Malinik is at 22 points in 21 games and both are backed up by young Brit Zack Milton who has 21 points in 21 games. He does also have 67 penalty minutes which suggests he may lose discipline which in a team where he is the third top points scorer is probably an area he needs to develop.

The Pirates welcome back James Archer this week after his request to leave the Leeds Chiefs. Whilst this is catastrophic for the Chiefs this adds yet more firepower to the most attacking team in the league. Again focus will be on our defence which continues to ship goals throughout. Whilst there is no doubt this new league is more even week in week out I’m certain it will be something that the team are hoping to tighten up into the second half of the season. It will be interesting to see if any defensive reinforcements are added, assuming such players are available.

This is a big weekend for us and a chance for us to consolidate our mid table position and put some more distance between ourselves and these two teams.


Match Night Review – MK Lightning 08/12/19

Hat-trick Hero Bonner Boosts Pirates’ Momentum

The Smailes Goldie Hull Pirates broke a three game winless streak with victory over Milton Keynes Lightning in a physical affair on Sunday evening.

After a disappointing 8-4 loss against the Wildcats on Saturday, Sunday’s game was the ideal occasion to turn results around, also spurred on by the game being the Pirates’ annual Teddy Bear Toss.

As a hard-hitting opening period came to an end, the visitors found themselves heading into the break 0-1 ahead when Tomas Kana pocketed his own rebound after seeing his initial shot saved by Ash Smith [17:37].

Lightning’s lead would last just three minutes into the second period; Peter Fabus skating the puck along the boards and around the MK net before finding Bonner, who slotted past Dean Skinns for his first of the night to bring a wave of teddy bears over the boards [23:21].

Fabus was again the catalyst for the home side’s go-ahead goal a further three minutes later, battling hard along the boards once more to find Sam Towner who’s one-touch pass split the Lightning defence, landing on Bonner’s stick unmarked to make it 2-1 [26:04].

With the physicality ramping up, the Pirates found themselves short-handed when Steven Chalmers was penalised for cross checking. On the resultant power play, the Lightning were level. Patient build up from the visitors ended with Ross Green slipping a pass onto the tape of Kana’s stick, who’s one-timer found the back of the net for 2-2 [32:34].

The home side responded almost immediately with a power play goal of their own. Johnathan Kirk’s shot from the blue line brought about a scramble in front of the Lightning net, resulting in Bonner edging the puck to Norris for an easy tap in and a 3-2 Pirates lead [35:02].

Shortly after, the Pirates had the puck in the back of the Lightning net for what they thought was their fourth goal. However, the officials waved it off and issued a ten minute penalty to Bobby Chamberlain for abuse. On the resultant power play Milton Keynes were level; a one timer from Grinell-Parke redirected at the back post by Liam Stewart to tie the game at 3 each [36:39].

With the second period break came a chance for tempers to cool, and indeed the third started in blistering fashion for the Pirates. A 3-on-2 breakaway led by Jason Hewitt was finished when his pass found Bonner to slot home for his hat-trick and a 4-3 lead for the home team [44:26].

After the Pirates had another goal disallowed, their fifth came in similar fashion to the one beforehand. Whilst on the power play, David Norris burst out of the Pirates’ zone, skated towards Skinns and drew the MK netminder before teeing up Hewitt for his first of the game for 5-3 [54:41].

With the Lightning on a late power play and pulling their goalie, Smith stood strong in the Pirates net to close the game out and give Hewitt’s men a much-needed two points and some momentum heading into the Christmas period.

Man Of The Match Awards:-

Milton Keynes Lightning -Robin Kovar

Hull Pirates – Lee Bonner

Author Grieg Cardwell 


Weekends preview

Preview Swindon Wildcats and Milton Keynes Lightning
Where to start with last weekend? A shootout loss to an improving Milton Keynes side before a big loss to rivals Telford. Not the weekend any of us wanted or that the team would have envisaged. There is, however, no point in dwelling on the past and instead we move onto this week where we have two big games against Swindon away and Milton Keynes at home.
Our weekend starts with Swindon who are currently second in the table. They look defensively sold conceding just 62 goals in 21 games. Under 3 goals a game in this new league is not an easy thing to achieve. Kenny Marr appears to have everything he needs at the back to make this team competitive and his 91.25% save percentage is testament to this. Going forward they have scoring in abundance. Import Tomasz Malasinski has 43 points in 21 games and Aaron Nell has 39 in 21 games. Only our very own Jason Hewitt sits above them in the points table.
At home on Sunday we see the Milton Keynes Lightining arrive in Hull for what will be our annual Teddy Toss night. They look a stronger unit than previous visits to the arena and have added some quality to the roster. This change has also seen them improve results over the previous few weeks. The Lightning come into the game with a league high amount of penalty minutes so this contest should be tough and gritty. Another opportunity for us to show a better temperament and utilise our special teams fully.
At the back they have used 3 nettles this season but predominantly for Steeldog Brandon Stones. He currently sits on an 89.83% save percentage. Experienced D man Leigh Jamieson will no doubt need to have a strong game to stem the offence of the Pirates and will be suitably supported by Jordan Stokes at the back.
Going forward they look to have struggled somewhat early doors. They have replaced an import and are hoping for more success from current import Tomas Kana who has 23 points in 20 games. Former Hull player Cale Tanaka is always threat and has the ability to grind opportunities out for himself and others. Equally the addition of Liam Stewart to the roster looks a good piece of business with the player scoring 10 times in his first 7 games.
Hull will hope to be back to there best for 2 games that will once again be tight and tough affairs. Big nights will be needed across the team a we look to stem the goals we concede whilst continue our blistering form in front of the net.
By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media Partner


Preview Telford Tigers 01/12/19

A 4 point weekend last weekend was just what the doctor ordered to allow the Pirates assault on the top 2 teams to continue. We still have games in hand over the top 3 teams so we could continue to close the gap this weekend. A game away at Milton Keynes looks crucial for us to keep pace with the top 3 and the game on Sunday looks like an absolute belter.

Tigers have visited us recently with a much depleted side and will look to come back to the arena stronger than the last time we saw them. The will be with several players who missed out last time including Hull legend Jason Silverthorn who is already above a point a game since his return to the side. Import player Florian looks like a stand out signing with 33 points in 18 games (13 goals and 20 assists) whilst also having a gritty edge to his game with 42 penalty minutes so far. Scott McKenzie appears as a stand out Brit player with his 31 points in 18 games also noteworthy. After this there seems to be a raft of players with assists but not many who are regularly hitting the twine themselves.

Brad Day looks like a much more consistent version of himself than earlier on in the season. A 90.18% save percentage is a solid achievement in this new look league. He is currently being protected by elder statesman Jonathan Weaver and some younger bodies Corey Goodison and Ross Kennedy who have all put up good points as well.

This is a real opportunity for the Pirates to show the consistency and potential needed to be a top team in this league. Back to back 4 point weekends is a real statement of intent from teams and this would be a great one to get against a top 3 team. To do this we still need to cut the unforced errors and tighten up aspects of our game including on ice discipline (although last weeks officiating was interesting to say the least). Ultimately Sunday night we play one of the best teams in this league but a team that we know we can beat. If the boys fire as we know that they can and we as fans are loud and supportive we could be a fearsome prospect to face.

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media


Preview – Basingstoke Bison 24/11/19

3 points from 4 allowed Pirates to maintain 5th spot in the league last week. A solid 6-4 win at home against Peterborough was followed by a shootout loss in Bracknell. Not an easy place to go and take points yet I’m sure the players and coaches will have felt they could’ve had both points.

Onto this week and it is the turn of Basingstoke Bison to visit the arena. Bison sit 2 points clear of us going into this weekend and in 3rd place. Again this has the potential to be a cracker of a game.

Offensively the Bison look to have a handful of players who look to offer some threat. Old head Ashley Tait tops the pile with 22 points in 15 games however only 7 of these are goals. Leading goalscorer is currently young Brit Alex Sampford who has 11. He is closely followed by Michal Klejna with 11 goals and a total of 20 points. Other than this they have lots of points spread out amongst a few players.

At the back they seem to be capable of switching keepers without fuss. Both Alex Mettam and Daniel Weller-Evans appear to have played a number of games each. Metal posting an 87.7% save percentage and Weller-Evans a 91% save percentage. At the back they have Hull boy Tom Ralph who looks to have added the ability to put some points onto his steady at the back game. Adam Jones looks an offensive option in D and offers some more potency going forward.

This could be a much sought after 4 point weekend. Away to Leeds on Saturday, although with no sign of the new arena in Leeds being completed we travel to Blackburn. This followed by a home fixture against the Bison could offer us a chance to climb the table. We are starting to look like a team capable of challenging for places nearer the top rather than the middle. The addition of Chalmers and return of Chilly make us look more solid in defense. The form of Hewitt, Bonner, Chamberlain and recently Towner going forward looks like all areas are clicking into action.

This being said concentration and consistency will be just as important over the coming weeks and months. If the team can eradicate unforced or individual errors we could be a destructive force to play against.

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media