The second day of the UK Charity All Stars took place at Ice Sheffield yesterday; Sunday. Last year’s winners Dreams Come True were leading the pack at the conclusion of day one with a 100 per cent record from their opening 4 games. Could they maintain it and keep their title? Or would one of the challengers come out of the pack and take it from them?
Dreams Come True opened day two with yet another win in the bank, a 5-0 success over MIND secured it with at times comparative ease. Then came one of the entertaining and goal-laden games of the whole tournament as Blue Cross moved into contention with a 8-2 win over the British Heart Foundation who were still looking for their first win of the tournament. Kenny Kerr led the way with a treble whilst there was joy for Stephanie Butchart Brown-Leng as she celebrated her first two goals in the tournament’s history. A close encounter in the third game of the day saw Help for Heroes and Breast Cancer Care share the spoils with a 2-2 draw.
After the ice cut, Sheffield Childrens Hospital and Prostate Cancer UK completed the fifth round of games with a 1-1 draw. The sixth round began with MIND taking the spoils 5-2 over the BHF; a game notable for a goal for Ashley Jones who was the smallest player on any roster in terms of height. A rapturous volume of cheers greeted his goal. A sixth successive win for Dreams Come True then followed as they defeated Blue Cross 3-1. Help for Heroes stayed in touch with a 2-0 defeat of Sheffield Childrens Hospital before Breast Cancer Care’s hopes of a top two finish suffered a jolt as they were beaten 2-1 by Prostate Cancer UK.
The final set of the round robin games saw Help for Heroes confirm their place in the Gold Medal game with a 2-2 draw against MIND thanks to a Phil Gilsenan penalty shot in the closing stage to secure that point. Another 2-2 draw followed through the BHF and Prostate Cancer UK; which brought the BHF team their first point in their last qualifying game. A well fought game saw Blue Cross see off Breast Cancer Care by a single goal; captain Nic Vidler securing the win with an important block in the final seconds. Then in the final round robin match, Dreams Come True were pushed all the way by the Sheffield Childrens Hospital side and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Beth Jacobs scored the equaliser for Team Theo and could have won it in the final second too; her penalty shot being saved by the DCT netminder.
Onto the medal games to decide who would finish where. Seventh placed went to the BHF in a controversial 4-2 win over the Childrens Hospital. A penalty shot awarded for delay of game, converted by Joe Wait, put the BHF ahead. The decision appeared harsh because the puck was still in play when the change lines buzzer sounded but the officials stated otherwise. It knocked the stuffing out of the Childrens Hospital side after that as they conceded a fourth goal shortly afterwards and ended up finishing last. Breast Cancer Care secured fifth with a comprehensive 6-0 win over MIND which was memorable for many comedy moments as well such as the sight of two goalies in the MIND net in the closing stages; giving an all new meaning to the phrase back-up netminder; and then all of the respective rosters finishing the game on the ice.
Now for the big ones. In the bronze medal match up, it was a deserved bronze for Blue Cross as goals from Dan Coxon and Adam Kelly saw them defeat Prostate Cancer UK in captain Vidler’s final game as an All Star. Andy Davie had the chance to force a tense finish but missed his penalty shot and with it Prostate’s hopes. After a final ice cut, could Dreams Come True complete their dominance with yet another win? However, Help for Heroes hadn’t read the script. Goals from Alek Gruszczynski and Paul Packer gave them a 2-0 lead and they never relinquished it with some superb shutdown hockey to secure the gold.
That concluded another hugely successful tournament, with over £110,000 raised overall for eight fully deserved charities and it’s back to Ice Arena Wales for next year’s tournament. Hope to see you there!
UK Charity All Stars Winners 2018 – Help for Heroes