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1998/99

FIXTURE LIST WITH LINKS TO INDIVIDUAL GAME SHEETS

PRE-SEASON     AUTUMN-CUP    LEAGUE/CHALLENGE CUP

PLAY-OFFS     PLAYER-STATS      HONOURS      SUMMARY

PLAYERS IN * early release,  # late sign PLAYERS OUT
Corey Beaulieu Sheffield Steelers Jeff Sebastian EC Revier-L÷wen
Mark Kolesar Manitoba Moose Garth Premak Retired 
Steve Roberts Dayton Bombers  Scott O'Connor Peterborough Pirates
Roy Mitchell Newcastle Riverkings Grahan Waghorn Peterborough Pirates
Mike Zanier Hanover Turtles Simon Greaves Kingston Hawks
Jeff DaCosta Columbus Chill Marc Twaite Milton Keynes Kings
Jarret Zukiwsky Fassa HC (Italy) Derek Laxdal Sheffield Steelers 
Graham Garden Basingstoke Bison Jim Mathieson Newcastle Riverkings
Pekka Virta Karpat (Finland) Blake Knox Newcastle Riverkings
Eric Dubois EC Revier-L÷wen Kraig Neinhuis Retired 
Darcy Loewen # Utah Grizzlies  Marty Dallman Abilene Aviators
Jason Weaver # Grand Rapids Griffins Neil Morgan
Mike DeAngelis Tacoma Sabrecats

First news concerned Jeff Sebastian. It was announced that he would be playing in the German DEL, having reportedly been offered around twice the salary that he could have earned in the UK. 
Almost immediately Garth Premak announced his decision to hang up his skates and return to Canada. 
At the start of May Scotty O'Connor was released and signed for Peterborough Pirates in the BNL. 
Toward the end of May Graham Waghorn followed O'Connor to the Pirates after eight seasons. 
At the start of June Marc Twaites' long running release saga came to an end when he finally signed for MK Kings. 
July 12th arrived with news of Panthers first signings for the new season, the man the whole league loved to hate the previous season, Corey Beaulieu, was on his way. 
A few days later it was reported that Derek Laxdal, the previous seasons' top scorer, had signed for the Steelers. 
At the start of July Panthers third new signing was announced, Mark Kolesar, a 25 year old Canadian with eight years IHL & AHL experience and a brief flirt with the NHL in Toronto. 
Steve Roberts was next to sign, an ECHL right winger with fairly impressive scoring stats. 
July 18th and the NEP reports that Roy Mitchell, ex Cobra defenceman had been signed. 
July 21st and a new netminder, Mike Zanier, signed as back up for "The Robber". 
July 24th and Teletext reports the signing of a "European style?" defenceman Jeff DaCosta. 
July 29th, Jarret Zukiwsky signs. Reportedly a high scoring player but his stats show him to be more of a hard case! Time will tell. 
July 31st Graham Garden joins, having spent numerous years in and turning out for the Bison the previous year. 
August 10th Pekka Virta, a 6'+ Finn signs "on loan" in an experiment to see how a European player will fit into Panthers style of play. 
The season started with a challenge game against Swedish side Troja Ljungby, with Jeff DaCosta. & Jarret Zukiwsky still without work permits and Panthers with only 4 "D" men. Ashley Tait turned out and Panthers ran out 4-2 winners with Greg Hadden getting an empty netter at the death. 
At the end of the pre-season challenge games Panthers had proved too strong for the league's newcomers, the London Knights and the depleted Riverkings, but had succumbed to the Steelers. Hopefully the fact that both Kolesar & Beaulieu missed the game was crucial to it's outcome. 

PRE SEASON

CHALLENGE

GP W L D GF GA
Troja Lungby (Sweden) 1 1 0 0 4 2

Newcastle Riverkings 

2 2 0 0 14 5

Sheffield Steelers 

1 0 1 0 2 4

London Knights

1 1 0 0 5 1

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AUTUMN CUP

AUTUMN CUP GroupA 1st Rnd

GP W L D GF GA PTS GD

Manchester Storm 

6 4 0 2 19 12 10 7

Sheffield Steelers 

6 3 2 1 20 18 7 3

Nottingham Panthers

6 2 2 2 19 16 6 3

London Knights 

6 0 5 1 12 24 1 -12

 

AUTUMN CUP

GP W L D GF GA

London Knights 

2 1 0 1 8 4

Manchester Storm 

2 0 1 1 5 6

Sheffield Steelers 

2 1 1 0 6 6

Slough Jets

2 2 0 0 19 0
Newcastle Riverkings (QF) 2 2 0 0 7 1

Manchester Storm (SF)

2 1 1 0 5 4

Ayr Eagles (F)

1 1 0 0 2 1

 After a generally successful start to their Autumn Cup campaign, including a 3-3 tie at Manchester and a great 6-3 win over the Steelers at the Stadium, 
On Sept 15th Panthers announced the signing of a further D man, Eric Dubois, having played the previous season for the DEL team to which Jeff Sebastian had departed earlier. 
On the 20th Sep, Corey Beaulieu suffered a dislocated shoulder in the 3-2 home loss to the Storm. The injury was expected to sideline him for about a month and reduce his effectiveness for somewhat longer. Graham Garden in the meantime would cover the defensive position. This was a blow as he had been one of the more effective forwards in recent games. 
After predictably crushing BNL side Slough Jets, Panthers were drawn against the Newcastle Riverkings, who had struggled to overcome Telford Tigers 9-4 on aggregate. Panthers progressed to the semi-final with 3-0 & 4-1 wins over the Riverkings. 
In the semi-final the Storm were the opposition. The first game took place on the evening of November 9th at the MEN Arena. Panthers, without injury victims DaCosta, Roberts, Carpenter & Weber, came away with a narrow 3-2 loss, Leach netting both goals. On Thursday 12th Panthers played hosts for the return leg. Still without four injury victims, the 13 skaters turned around the 3-2 deficit to post an outstanding 3-1 success (5-4 aggregate), against arguably the leagues strongest team, boasting a full roster. The atmosphere generated that night had been the best seen at the Ice Stadium for many a year! In this game though injury struck again when Simon Hunt broke a thumb.
On to the final & joy of joys, Panthers overcome the Eagles 2-1 with Jason Weaver & Darcy Loewen making their debuts, but Finn Pekka Virta stole the show with both goals.
On a lighter note, Randall Webers' testimonial game took place on the 29th Sept. Jimmy Keyes had flown in from Canada and a host of Panthers, past and present took part in a game in front of 1600 fans.

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LEAGUE AND CHALLENGE CUP

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SUPERLEAGUE RESULTS

GP W OW L OL D GF GA
Ayr Eagles 6 4 0 2 1 0 23 18
Bracknell Bees 6 3 2 1 0 1 21 24
Cardiff Devils 6 2 0 4 0 0 15 26
London Knights 6 6 1 0 0 0 30 15
Manchester Storm 6 5 0 1 0 0 24 15
Newcastle Riverkings 6 2 1 4 1 0 9 18
Sheffield Steelers 6 3 0 3 0 0 18 18

 

SUPERLEAGUE TABLE

GP W L D GF GA GD OT PTS
Manchester Storm 42 30 11 1 155 86 65 4 65
Cardiff Devils 42 27 15 0 144 102 42 5 59
Nottingham Panthers 42 25 16 1 140 134 6 2 53
Bracknell Bees 42 19 21 2 144 149 -5 4 44
Ayr Eagles 42 18 21 3 136 140 -4 3 42
Sheffield Steelers 42 17 21 4 135 141 -6 2 40
Newcastle Riverkings 42 14 26 2 117 150 -33 2 32
London Knights 42 10 29 3 114 183 -69 4 27

 

CHALLENGE CUP

GP W OW L OL D GF GA
Ayr Eagles 2 1 0 1 1 0 8 5
Bracknell Bees 2 1 0 1 0 0 4 5
Cardiff Devils 2 1 0 1 0 0 4 5
London Knights 2 2 0 0 0 0 14 6
Newcastle Cobras 2 2 0 0 0 0 8 2
Manchester Storm 2 1 1 1 1 0 4 4
Sheffield Steelers 2 1 0 1 0 0 8 9

CHALLENGE CUP TABLE

GP W L D GF GA GD OT PTS
Manchester Storm 14 10 3 1 47 28 23 2 23
Nottingham Panthers 14 9 5 0 50 36 14 2 20
Cardiff Devils 14 8 6 0 50 33 8 2 18
Sheffield Steelers 14 6 6 2 41 46 9 2 16
Ayr Eagles 14 6 6 2 55 43 -3 2 15
Bracknell Bees 14 6 8 0 40 52 -13 1 13
Newcastle Riverkings 14 5 8 1 36 43 -7 1 12
London Knights 14 2 10 2 39 66 -27 1 7

The seasons' new tournament was the Challenge Cup. The early stages were to be in the form of a league table, with points gained from designated ISL games counting towards the table. At the end of the competition the top four sides would advance to a knock-out, semi-final then final.
On the 10th Oct Panthers hosted the revamped Bees, having opened their league campaign with a narrow 3-2 victory the over Champions Ayr Eagles. The Bees game was a real thriller, Panthers winning 6-5 in overtime. Mike Zanier had a moderate evening. Of Bees 5 goals, one he should have stopped, one he could have stopped and one he might have stopped. Robins came on at the start of the 3rd period with Panthers trailing 5-3. The Bees were restricted to just 7 SOG during the 3rd period and OT, Robins stopped them all and Panthers posted a memorable OT fight-back when Greg Hadden notched the winner 30 seconds from the end. The game was a personal triumph for Hadden as he scored 5+1. 
On October 17th in the 3-6 home loss to the Devils, Panthers suffered a further injury blow losing Jeff DaCosta to a broken ankle. He joined injury victims Steve Roberts, who had suffered a chest muscle injury in the Bees game on the 10th and Corey Beaulieu, who was still recovering from his dislocated shoulder sustained on September.
On October 29th Steve Roberts returned to action, after a five game absence, and scored 2 goals in a 4-3 away win over the much improved Knights. Unfortunately 44 seconds into his second game he left the action with a dislocated shoulder. 
More injury followed when Randall was injured in a similar fashion over the weekend of the 31st October. 
Corey Beaulieu returned after a 12 game absence on the 8th November, in the disappointing 3-2 away loss the struggling Steelers. Unfortunately Steve Carpenter picked up a groin strain in the same game and looked set to miss both B&H semi-finals against the Storm. 
Panthers still had only four fit "D" men, with DaCosta & Carpenter sidelined, and Weber and Roberts missing from the forwards. Roberts was missed badly & Panthers suffered a severe shortage of firepower. 
The loss of Beaulieu to a one game ban, following the B&H SF1, left Panthers on the verge of being fined for icing an under strength squad. Blaiser was "forced" out of retirement after a two year absence. The thirteen fit skaters still managed a 4-2 home over the Riverkings and 4-3 away over the Bees, the weekend following their B&H heroics. Blaiser was reported to be enjoying himself after being checked through the Zamboni doors at Bracknell, by giant forward Paxton Schulte. 
On November 27th news broke that a new forward had been signed, Darcy Loewen. On the statistical evidence he wasn't much of a point scorer and would be sorely put to replace the injured Roberts from that aspect. 
No sooner had the dust settled than Jason Weaver, a big left winger, was signed to take the roster to 20.
After a fairly successful start to December, Panthers suffered a huge blow to any hopes they may of had of lifting the League crown when on the 17th when they suffered a dispiriting 7-4 away loss to the Steelers, who were reportedly in severe financial difficulty. A lacklustre 1st period saw Panthers 4-0 down at the break. Hadden and Adey continued to shine with 2+2 & 1+2 respectively, but Panthers had given the Steelers an early Christmas present with some assistance from ref Andy Carson. Of more concern was the fact that the first line of Kolesar, Leach & Weaver while looking good on paper, still weren't racking up the points to be expected of such an impressive unit.
On Boxing Day, any hopes Panthers had of lifting the League title looked to have finally ended when Cardiff came to town and went away with a 4-1 victory. Panthers without the injured Weaver, Bobyck and the suspended Carpenter, lost Hadden after 5 minutes with what looked to be a bad leg injury. The game itself was a disgrace, straight out of "Slapshot". 
The following night's game in Ayr saw Panthers without Weaver, Bobyck, Hadden, Carpenter and Zukiwsky as the tiring side, 4-2 up with less than 5 minutes to play, lost 5-4 in OT, Darcy Loewen sitting a minor, incurred 3 seconds from the end of regulation time. Of Eagles 5 goals, 3 had been scored on the PP. Since the injury to Bobyck Panthers PK had looked decidedly dodgy.
Early in January it was reported that Pekka Virta required an operation and would probably miss the remainder of the season. To add to this woe, current league top scorer, Greg Haddens' injury wasn't responding to treatment and he looked set to miss a minimum of 6 further weeks. 
With 13 skaters once again Panthers entertained London Knights. The game was a triumph, with Paul Adey registering 3+2, Jason Weaver 3+0, Mark Kolesar 0+4 & Jarrett Zukiwsky 0+3, as Panthers ran out 8-3 winners. 
On January 14th, Panthers went to Cardiff with an injury ravaged squad once again. Five missing players reduced the squad once again to 13 skaters as Brent Bobyck played his first game since the Autumn Cup final. In a "back's to the wall game", Trevor Robins was outstanding as Panthers came away with a 3-1 win on 2 goals from Mark Kolesar and 1 from Steve Carpenter. 
A week later the Devils returned to Nottingham and displayed a classic road game plan, registering a 7-3 win, scoring 3 power play goals (one 5 on 3) and an empty netter. Panthers, were still without Hadden, Virta & Zukiwsky. Leach lasted only until the end of the first period in his return game and Robins had one of "those" nights, as the 6 that went past him came from only 30 shots. 
The following night the Panthers succumbed 4-0 at the Sheffield Arena. A pretty black week-end all around & Panthers League challenge was well and truly done & dusted for another season!
On Sunday Feb 21st Panthers visited Cardiff for the 1st leg of the Challenge Cup semi-final and came away with a great 3-2 victory. Bearing in mind the results that the Devils had obtained at the Ice Stadium this season though, the tie was far from over. In the return the Devils overturned the previous result but Greg Hadden struck, on a backhand pass from behind the net from Steve Carpenter, 15 seconds from the end of OT to secure a final spot against the Steelers on their home ice. The Steelers had taken a shock 5-0 lead to Manchester, where they again overcame the newly crowned League Champions with a 3-1 win.
In the final Panthers season long inability to show their home form away from the Ice Stadium came back to haunt them. Although marginally outshooting their hosts the Panthers went down 4-0, with Ken Priestlay netting an empty netter near the end to seal the game for the Steelers.

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PLAY OFFS

PLAY-OFFS Quarter-Finals

GP W L D GF GA
Ayr Eagles 2 1 1 0 5 8
Cardiff Devils 2 2 0 0 8 4
Newcastle Riverkings 2 2 0 0 7 4
Bracknell Bees (Semi-Final) 1 1 0 0 4 2
Cardiff Devils (Final) 1 0 1 0 1 2

 

PLAY-OFFS QF Grp B

GP W L D GF GA GD OT PTS
Nottingham Panthers 6 5 1 0 20 14 4 0 10
Cardiff Devils 6 3 2 1 20 16 4 0 7
Ayr Eagles 6 2 3 1 21 19 2 0 5
Newcastle Riverkings 6 1 5 0 14 23 -9 2 4

Panthers started their play off campaign with a home game against the Ayr Eagles. After cruising to a 3-0 lead by the end of the 2nd period, Panthers seemed to take their foot off the gas and as a result spent the 3rd period running around unable to re-exert their former dominance. The 3-2 victory was met more with relief than anything else. 
Game 2 was at Newcastle where the Panthers notched another unconvincing 3-2 win, this time in overtime. After the Challenge Cup final disappointment Panthers went to Cardiff to resume their play-off challenge and booked their place in the semi-finals with a great 3-1 win. In the return at the Ice Stadium on the 27th, Panthers triumphed 5-3 with Jamie Leach grabbing a hat-trick. Panthers had topped the group and faced the Bees in their semi-final. 
The final game of the group stages featured a meaningless game in Ayr in which Panthers went down 6-2. Beaulieu & Kolesar were rested, with Adey being saved for the Manchester finals. 
In the first semi-final the Devils overcame the hosts, Manchester, 5-0. In the second semi-final the Panthers came back from a goal down to beat the Bees 4-2, with Jason Weaver netting a brace. In a close fought final Panthers went down 2-1 to two breakaway goals from Ivan Matulik, while Panthers' marker came from Mark Kolesar.

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SUMMARY

Results Summary 98/99

GP W OW L OL D GF GA
Total 71 44 4 23 2 4 248 197
W% L% D% AGF AGA
62 32 6 3.5 2.8
Total Home 34 26 2 6 0 2 147 84
76 18 6 4.3 2.5
Total Away 37 18 2 17 2 2 101 113
49 46 6 2.7 3.1
Average Attendance: 2387 (-5%)

This had arguably been Panthers best year ever. Benson & Hedges Autumn Cup winners, third in the League, appearances in both the Challenge Cup and Championship finals. A season in which the effort of the players had kept the fans happy.

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PLAYER STATS include Autumn Cup, ISL, Challenge Cup & Play Offs

PLAYER STATS

Pos GP MoM Gls Ass Pts Ave Pims Ave
Greg Hadden F 57 5 37 37 74 1.3 94 1.6

Paul Adey

F 61  1 22 45 67 1.1 38 0.6
Mark Kolesar F 63 3 25 40 65 1.1 58 1.0
Jamie Leach F 54 30 28 58 1.1 24 0.4
Jarrett Zukiwsky F 58 12 25 37 0.7 169 2.9

Jason Weaver

F 34 1 12 18 30 0.9 87 2.6
Steve Carpenter D 50 1 4 27 31 0.6 80 1.6
Mike Bishop D 65 2 11 15 26 0.4 66 1.0
Brent Bobyck F 55 1 9 16 25 0.5 28 0.4

Pekka Virta

F 51 13 10 23 0.5 26 0.5
Graham Garden F 66 1 9 16 25 0.4 98 1.5
Eric Dubois D 57 3 1 20 21 0.4 34 0.6
Jeff DaCosta D 52 1 4 18 22 0.4 28 0.5
Roy Mitchel D 66 6 11 17 0.3 58 0.8
Steve Roberts F 12 11 5 16 1.3 4 0.3
Randall Weber F 58 5 10 15 0.3 10 0.2
Simon Hunt F 52 2 7 2 9 0.2 28 0.5
Darcy Loewen F 40 3 8 11 0.3 68 1.7
Cory Beaulieu D 45 1 2 6 8 0.2 109 2.5
Mike Zanier N 63 0 5 5 0.1 2 0.0
Trevor Robins N 63 1 0 3 3 0.1 4 0.1
Mike Blaisdell F 3 0 1 1 0.3 0 0.0

 

GOALIE STATS

GP Mins Shts Gls Save% GAA
Trevor Robins 42 2494 1293 103 92.0 2.5
Mike Zanier 26 1518 814 80 90.2 3.2

 

ANNUAL AWARDS

Most Valuable Player Mark Kolesar
Player's Player Greg Hadden
Coach's Player Paul Adey
Top Points Scorer Greg Hadden
Top Goal Scorer Greg Hadden
Best Defenceman Roy Mitchel
Most Consistent Eric Dubois
Most Continuous Effort Graham Garden
Most Entertaining Trevor Robins
Most Improved Mike Bishop
Sponsors Player Greg Hadden
Managers Cup Mike Bishop
Gary Rippingale Team Spirit Memorial  Cory Beaulieu

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HONOURS

Top Points Team GP Gls Ass Pts Ave
Paul Adey Nottingham Panthers 42 21 35 56 1.3

 

HONOURS

Autumn Cup Winners Nottingham Panthers
Runners Up Ayr Eagles
Express Cup Winners Sheffield Steelers
Runners Up Nottingham Panthers
Superleague Champions Manchester Storm
Runners Up Cardiff Devils
Championship Winners Cardiff Devils
Runners Up Nottingham Panthers
BNL league Champions Slough Jets
Runners Up Basingstoke Bison
ISL Loss/Gain

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