In their first competitive match in the British Universities Ice Hockey Association, UEA Avalanche were defeated 11-6 defeat against a strong Warwick Panthers B team.
Photo: Trish Thompson
Rob Gale bagged six goals and drew the Avalanche level with his fourth midway through the second period but Warwick, boosted by the extra players on their bench, eventually pulled away to secure two points.
Warwick opened the scoring in the first minute but Gale quickly replied and Sian Ridley, making her debut in goal, matched the experienced Panthers goal tender throughout the first period to keep the Avalanche in touch. Angus Wang and Richard Brookman registered assists.
Trailing 4-3 going into the second period, Peter Buscombe stepped in between the posts and repelled everything that came his way to enable Gale to tie the game. Warwick’s extra manpower soon proved a factor, however, and the visitors notched three goals before the buzzer to take a 7-4 lead.
When the Panthers added two more early in the third period, the Avalanche could have been heading for a heavier defeat but showed great courage to pull themselves back into the contest. Gale scored twice in 16 seconds, with the first assisted by Craig Jacobs, before, once more, tiredness began to set in.
The Avalanche had trained at the Norwich ice rink for a year prior to its closure during the summer but are now forced to travel to Peterborough in the late hours simply to practice. They play their home matches at Lee Valley in London. Despite the challenges facing them, the Avalanche were named best new sports club by the Union last year.
“It was a very special night for everyone involved as it was the culmination of over a year of devotion, organisation and struggle,” said club president Richard Brookman. “As far as I’m concerned we are the best sports club at UEA and I’m sure our results will begin to reflect that soon.” He added: “I cannot fault any of my team. They all gave 110 per cent for everyone else, which is the ‘play like an Av’ mentality we like to promote.”
The Avalanche face a long journey to Cardiff to face the Redhawks in their next fixture on 24 November.