The Edinburgh Eagles traveled to Yorkshire for the annual BUIHA Tier 1 National Championships tournament. After posting a strong BUIHA Division 1 North Cup campaign in 2017-18, the Eagles came into the tournament with high expectations - having been ranked 2nd overall in the BUIHA's pre-tournament rankings.
GBU vs. International All-Stars
However, this year marked the inaugural match-up between the Great Britain Universities (GBU) and International All-Stars (IAS) teams. This match-up formed part of GBU's preparation in the lead up to the 2019 Winter Universiade for the men's and women's teams.
The Eagles were well-represented for both sides. For the women, Eagles defense-woman Beth Scoon was named captain for GBU and fellow Eagles defense-woman Maggie Benson named coach for the IAS side. Both teams showcased the exceptional talents of women's ice hockey in the UK with an incredibly entertaining match-up. However, Scoon's GBU side took the win over Benson's IAS club.
For the men, Eagles defense-man Alyn Nanji, goaltender Berke Ricketti and forward and captain Anthony Selles featured in the IAS line-up; with Anthony Selles named as captain. The men's game gave viewers a glimpse of the skill showcased between the two sides and displayed a close-match up from face-off. Between the three goalies available, Berke Ricketti was given the start for IAS and posted a shut-out in his time in net. However, it was GBU that took the victory and recorded a double in the inaugural match-up.
The Edinburgh Eagles surprised everyone with last year's national performance - having finished 1st in their group and recording decisive wins in 3 out of their 4 group games. This year, the Eagles managed to build upon last year's performance by recording a 4-0-0 record throughout the group stages.
Day 1 scheduled 3 games for the Eagles against competitive sides: Oxford, London and Nottingham.
The day began with an early morning match-up against Oxford University Blues. A combination of fatigue and stellar goaltending performances by Berke Ricketti and Oxford's Fabian Sivnert kept the game a low scoring affair. Eventually, a shot by Jeremy Leung, deflected by Sam Norton-Alexander, broke through in the final minutes of the game and gave the Eagles a 1-0 victory.
The Eagles began to showcase their offensive prowess by recording an 8-0 win against the London Dragons and a 7-2 win against the Nottingham Mavericks. Berke Ricketti finished the day with shut-outs against Oxford and London, and Matias Malmivaara registered his first win in BUIHA nationals.
Day 2 gave the Eagles the last remaining group game of the tournament against the Cardiff Redhawks. This was the first match-up between both clubs since the Eagles claimed the Celtic Cup in 2009. The game proved to be a one-sided affair as the Eagles took a decisive 10-0 win and a well-deserved shut out for Matias Malmivaara following a stellar performance in net. This win cemented 1st place within our group for the 2nd consecutive year.
Much like last year, the Eagles faced off against the St Andrews Typhoons in the semi-finals and as another rematch of the Jonny Wookey Memorial game. The game remained close through the first 2 periods, resulting in 0-0 tie after the 1st and 1-1 tie after the 2nd period. However, it was St Andrews who broke through in the 3rd period and advanced to the final with a 4-1 win - thus calling an end to the Edinburgh Eagles' 2017-18 campaign.
The St Andrews Typhoons would eventually be shut-out 3-0 by the Oxford University Blues in the BUIHA 2017-18 Tier 1 Final.
Despite the unfortunate endings to the Nationals campaign, the Eagles once again lead the BUIHA with the most players selected to the Tier 1 All Star Team. Congratulations to Aaron Robertson & Alyn Nanji, who both finished with 9 points for 2nd overall, and Berke Ricketti for yet another excellent performance!
Forwards: Hindmarch (St Andrews) - Robertson (Edinburgh) - Nembhard (Southampton)
Springer-Huges (Nottingham) - Basnett (Cardiff) - Gordon (Nottingham)
Kolla (Oxford) - Nanji (Edinburgh)
Grega (Cambridge) - Venema (Oxford) Netminders:
Steeples (Leeds) - Ricketti (Edinburgh)
Special thanks to the BUIHA committee and volunteers for setting up and broadcasting yet another outstanding Tier 1 Nationals weekend and for everyone who has helped support the club.
LET'S GO EAGLES!