Five Things We Learned: A slip too much for the champions?
Another week of breathless action has ended and we at BIH Towers continue to understand what happened in a week that saw great results and even a distributed cut. .
Let us enlighten you with the biggest takeaways from last week.
1. Too much slippage for the champions?
In a week where the top four of the Elite League were all grouped with three dots separating the first to the fourth, it was an opportunity for them to really advocate for the title.
Although there is still a lot of hockey to play, Belfast has a point in four possible after defeats at Manchester Storm and Sheffield Steelers while their rivals have all earned more seems a bit of a setback.
Sure, we say that and everything could change after next week, but consistency and the lack of a true winning streak all season is a constant problem. However, you can never count them.
2. The clan sleepwalks into oblivion of the playoffs
The fall in form of Zack Fitzgerald's team alarmed everyone involved as they drifted more and more towards the last two as they struggled to find the 39 spark that they had had much earlier in the campaign.
The talent of the team is there, but something is wrong and unless they find this benefit, it will be miserable for a few weeks as the teams fight and scramble for each point.
3. DeLuca invents the goods
Four consecutive defeats made Sheffield Steelers 's position at the top of the table somewhat precarious, so it was a good time for Anthony DeLuca to find points.
Special mention also to Michael Davies on his three-point run, but with Cardiff still having three games in hand, the change still slightly favors Welsh attire.
4. Runners take another leap forward
They may have lost their grip on the title SNL after the Solway Sharks finished a 100% campaign, but the Murrayfield Racers collected more silverware during their second season.
The winner of Callum Boyd's overtime Sunday against Whitley Warriors assured that Tony Hand and his team were celebrating another trophy in the form of the NIHL North Cup to add to the Stuart Robertson Cup.
They have been doing their business very well on the ice since their return a few years ago, but would they be interested in a new cross-border challenge by joining the NIHL?
5. Ghosts still haunt NIHL top 2
We have been talking about the Telford Tigers and Swindon Wildcats for so long in the first two positions, we really see the Peterborough Phantoms spying on an opportunity to get in between them.
Slava Koulikov's team won 11 straight wins by beating Sheffield Steeldogs and then overtaking the Wildcats in overtime on Sunday, reducing the gap to three points behind Swindon with one game in hand.
With the Tigers who have won one in their last seven games, the Phantoms could look higher and try to win the title while the last few weeks seem to be a nervous wreck for everyone involved.