Tag Archives: Ben Bowns

Commentators Curse – Cardiff Devils V Dundee Stars

Each week (or at least after every Cardiff Devils home game) I’m going to highlight a few things I noticed while commentating on the game.

In the first edition of this I’ll be looking at the Cardiff Devils 5 – 2 victory over the Dundee Stars from this past weekend, so with little need of a longer intro, let’s just get into it.

  • Dundee are not a bottom half of the table team

It’s early days in the league so for anyone getting carried away with where your team is in the standings right now, stop it.

That being said I’m going to explain why Dundee shouldn’t be where they are right now…hypocrisy at it’s very best.

The team I saw skate out at Ice Arena Wales on Saturday night looked like a dangerous outfit. Omar Pacha has put together are highly committed and highly energetic team that plays a full 60 minutes no matter what the scoreline.

If you look at previous results (and the result from the following night on Sunday) Dundee have lost five games in either a shootout or overtime. They keep score lines as close as they can, and if they could just get over the finish line first (or in this case goal line) in overtime, think about where they would be. Five dropped points from five extra sessions, if you flip it so Dundee picked up those points they’d be tied with the Giants and Devils for third place in the league right now.

Those extra points could come in handy down the stretch, and it’s only a matter of time until they rack up more regulation wins

  • Lukas Lundvald is unreal

To be honest you probably know this already, but what a talent Lukas Lundvald is. The sheer determination of the guy, mixed with his lightning quick speed and great hands just makes him a lethal threat. Not to mention he did leave the game for a little bit in the first period with what looked like a shoulder injury, but didn’t miss a shift and came back out as though nothing happened, in fact he was better after the knock.

He was an absolute steal by the Stars midway through last year and you don’t need me to tell you how great he was for them last year.

I think he’s better this year. He’s got a full training camp in with the team and he’s settled more, and it was hard for me to look at the ice and not spot him out there. His goal was just pinpoint, and I’m convinced it was only reviewed so the referees could enjoy it before carrying on with the game. He’s a game changer, and may be one of the fastest guys in the league.

Next time you watch Dundee, whether it’s in a rink or on their stream, he’ll catch your eye, and you won’t be able to look away.

  • Ben Blood has great hands for more than just fighting

I’d 100% forgive you if you looked at Ben Blood on your favourite stats site before the season and saw low numbers in the points column and high numbers in the PIMs column and thought the Devils got themselves an enforcer.

Yeah they do…Mark Louis. Ben Blood can hold his own for sure, but he’s not once needed to showcase that side of his game. He’s great with his hands for throwing knuckles, but you need to pay more attention to when he’s handling the puck.

Not only has his skating surprised the hell out of me for a guy of his size, he’s smart on the puck, can generate offence out of seemingly nothing, and you saw that highlighted perfectly on the Devils third goal. With the puck along the boards and with a few guys around him, Blood was able to create space for himself to get the outlet pass up to Charles Linglet, and if you’re open and Linglet is on the puck, he’s always going to find you and he did to set up Mike Hedden for the go ahead goal, but that entire play doesn’t happen if it wasn’t for Blood managing to open the ice up in the first place.

  • Jordan Cownie wants a seat on the plane for the World Championships

It may be some time away until Team GB head out to Slovakia for the World Championships against the worlds best teams, but Jordan Cownie is laying down a challenge for a seat already. He’s in his second full year in the EIHL and after an impressive rookie campaign, his value has skyrocketed with his start to the year. He started on the top line for the Stars and for a 23-year-old Brit with just one full year of experience in this league that’s impressive itself.

He nearly managed to pull of a potential highlight reel goal against Ben Bowns (more on that later) and the maturity he showed on the ice transcends what you would be allowed to say is limited experience at this level. Yes he’s a proven performer in the old EPIHL, but keep your eye on Cownie going forward, he’s going to be a threat every time he’s on the ice and I’m excited to see how his career progresses.

  • Ben Bowns is part cat

If you follow him on social media you’ll see that he’s definitely more of a dog person, but some of the reactionary saves Bowns is able to make are just cat like.

That stop on Jordan Cownie is impressive yes, but to be honest week in week out it seems we’re seeing something similar with Bowns. To be able recover while his bodies going one way, to stop Jordan Cownie who’s going the other is just unreal, but honestly it’s becoming almost normal for him to do something like that lately.

Featured image: CardiffDevils.com

Cardiff Devils face tougher test than last year in their CHL campaign

The Cardiff Devils kick off their Champions Hockey League campaign tonight with a visit from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, and after the mixed results from last years CHL season, the Devils will be hoping to get off to a better start on home ice.

Last season the Devils made the trip to one of the nicest arena’s in all of Ice Hockey but didn’t leave with that great of a memory. A huge 10 – 1 loss to Swiss side HC Davos to open the campaign, and another loss followed in the Czech Republic against Bili Tygri Liberec, but from there the Devils looked to turn their fortunes around.

Continue reading Cardiff Devils face tougher test than last year in their CHL campaign

Why the Cardiff Devils will win the league in 666 words

For the last few seasons, it’s been hard for teams across the EIHL to keep up with the Cardiff Devils, who at their worst have been maybe the second-best team in the country. Coming off their second straight league title, the Devils are gearing up for the three-peat, and they’re going to have a great chance at it by the end of the season.

One of the biggest themes of the Andrew Lord era of the Cardiff Devils is how many familiar faces are in the locker-room each year, and that’s the same this year. Only four new faces are in the line-up, and each bring their own qualities that only improve on last-years already strong squad.

Continue reading Why the Cardiff Devils will win the league in 666 words

Devils fans can relax with latest signings

So, apparently National Best Friends day is a thing, they’ll celebrate anything nowadays it seems.

But the Cardiff Devils used this day for good use, announcing the return of GB Number 1 Ben Bowns, as well as his trusted backup Thomas Murdy for the 2018/19 EIHL season.

The two British goalies have been partnered together in Cardiff for the past two seasons, while Bowns is entering his fifth year in the Welsh capital.

Continue reading Devils fans can relax with latest signings

Do Cardiff Devils fans need to worry this offseason…?

With just five guys confirmed on the Cardiff Devils roster for 2018/19, some fans are getting a little anxious about who the team may be losing or keeping, and some just want to know who’s signed right now.

But they do say good things come to those who wait, also, who’s to say the Devils have put pen to paper on any other contracts other than Craig Moore, Mark Richardson, Joey Haddad, Joey Martin and Matt Pope.

Continue reading Do Cardiff Devils fans need to worry this offseason…?

From the Pen of an Unbiased Fan

November 5th, Skydome Arena and I’m back in block 7. It’s my old stomping ground here, where I started out, cheering for the Steelers in 2015. Only this time I’m cheering on one of my favourites, Miika Wiikman and the rest of the MK Lightning.

Now, let me tell you. In the three seasons that I have been an EIHL fan I have cheered for most of the teams. I love the Elite League, there are no underdogs here. Any team can win on any given night

From the first game I was drawn to the netminders. Firstly, it was Tyler Plante of the Sheffield Steelers and then Brian Stewart, formerly of the Coventry Blaze and now playing for the Guildford Flames.

Last season, while playing for the Nottingham Panthers I found myself drawn to our starting goalie Miika. It was only after watching a good few games and with the rise of my own blog Chasing The Puck, I decided I wanted to interview as many of the Elite League goalies as I could. I wanted to try and break down some of the long held beliefs about them. Namely, that goalies are a bit weird and get to know the men behind the metal cages. Those guys who defend our pipes.

I find watching a goalies play fascinating. They have a way about them that no other outfield player has. Be it the pre-game preparation of Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby or the steely concentration caught on camera by the most talented of the league photographers or the slide – side to side across the goal line – to gauge the distance and the range of movement they’ll need or even the tap of the stick off each post before play begins. There is something I find truly mesmerising.

From Coventry to Cardiff, Belfast to Braehead I have yet to find a goalie who wasn’t open and honest about the pressures they feel when on or off the ice. Whether that be Wiikman discussing the importance of good coaching in his youth or Brython Preece discussing the scary move away from home aged 15 to go and join the Ontario Hockey Academy.
I have interviewed players of all nationalities and each have their own unique style of play that I believe it differs depending on the place they got their training.

I have spoken to eight different goalies in the EIHL, although Mike Clemente, Stewart and Wiikman all come to mind, especially when ‘knocking off the nets’ comes up on a fan forum on the web.
I asked Miika about it after a particularly heated debate on facebook. He sends me a laughing emoji and tells me that only twice in his career has he knocked the net off on purpose. Later the same evening, after the game he played (in which the net came off it’s moorings a couple of times) he tells me I must have jinxed it!

My own personal feeling is this; I believe it depends on the style of play. If a goalie has trained in North America and Canada, their style of play is such that they can lean more on the posts as they are deeper into the ice there than they are in our own league. It’s the nature of the way they are brought up and this possibly could explain why the American Clemente and Canadian Stewart, are considered to be the worst offenders. Though a recent incident with Clemente and a dive at his own goal could definitely be considered deliberate!

Away from the ice, these guys are family orientated. Clemente for example comes from a large family of six boys so he says family time is so precious. He’s also the goalie that spends much of his travelling time napping, reading or eating. Learning to sleep in noisy places is a valuable skill, probably learned while trying to sleep back home in a busy house.

Cardiff goalie Ben Bowns talks about his dog Stitch, who comes to the arena and is fussed by staff and players alike. Stitch loves nothing more than his time in the dressing room. He’ll even get grumpy if Ben walks the long way around so as to avoid the dressing room!

Gary Russell, told me how as a youngster he had a serious Irn Bru problem and likes his tea, Yorkshire style, with milk and two sugars. His celeb man crush is David Beckham and the first thing he picks up after an away game? A piece of pizza! If you meet Moose in a bar, don’t buy him a beer. He doesn’t like how it tastes. Instead buy him an apple juice and ask about his cats.

You learn really interesting things about each player if you ask the right questions. Nothing is too silly or too obvious. I have laughed and joked with a fair few of them. To say that interviewing them has brought me confidence as a journalist would be an understatement. Goalies are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and it’s why they will always be my absolute favourite.

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This article was originally published in the December issue of MK Lightning’s matchnight program and has been republished here, with permission, now the magazine is no longer in print. All images are my own other than the photo of Ben Bowns, which belongs to its rightful owner and has not been used here for profit in any way.