Good evening everyone! Welcome to our live coverage of the Varsity fixture between University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University (starts 7.30pm). Stay tuned for live, minute-by-minute updates from Altrincham Ice Rink.
21:41: Matthew Barber —That’s all from us at the Altrincham Ice Rink, thanks for sticking with us. The announcer has declared to all of the crowd, who were fantastic tonight, that they should come back to see UoM defend their title in three months time. We couldn’t agree more – it’s been a brilliant night for Manchester university sport!
21:36: Ciaran Milner
—Ben Brown takes MMU’s man of the match award, with Joe Holder scooping the accolade for UoM.
Our vote in the press box would have gone to Ciaran Long, who showed some exceptional composure and control throughout the game.
The players complete a lap of honour now as the crowd applaud. As they should; this was a truly great game of ice hockey.
21:32: Ciaran Milner
—FULL TIME – UoM 8 – 7 MMU
A fantastic game ends with UoM claiming the victory in a close fought contest. Some brilliant hockey was played here tonight. MMU looked dead and buried at the end of the second period, only to attempt a brilliant fightback in the final third. UoM looked rattled, but managed to clinch it at the death. Breathtaking stuff.
21:28: Matthew Barber —Superb double save from the UoM goaltender as MMU are denied an equaliser. Man Met call a 30 second timeout, with just less than a minute to play.
21:25: Ciaran Milner
—GOAL! UoM 8 – 7 MMU
What a game! UoM go for the jugular immediately, launching an attacking which results in Ciaran Long bagging the goal. Long has been outstanding this evening.
21:25: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 7-7 MMU.
MMU respond to going behind in the best possible fashion, restoring the deadlock through Etherington here at Altrincham. Game on, what a finale!
21:23: Ciaran Milner —The MMU fans here are really trying to get behind their team and are in full voice now. Their fans have easily outsung the UoM faithful tonight.
21:21: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 7-6 MMU.
After a number of opportunities, UoM finally net their 7th of the evening. Joe Holder grabs his first of the evening, assisted by Alex Pugh.
21:20: Ciaran Milner —A brilliantly worked move by UoM. It’s slipped into the path of Long, who takes a touch before smashing his shot just over. Long has been excellent tonight and that was only just off target.
21:20: Matthew Barber —5 minutes left, and McDonald is in scintillating form in the MMU goal to keep out a barrage of efforts on his goal.
21:17: Ciaran Milner
—Ouch! MMU’s James Lloyd sprints down the right side, only to slip and crash into the wall behind the goal. That looked painful.
He doesn’t seem affected though, and gets up immediately to help his team defend.
21:16: Matthew Barber —A superb block from MMU’s McDonald keeps the scores level, saving from Long who was 1-on-1.
21:14: Ciaran Milner —An outreagous effort from MMU! One of their players lets fly from close to the halfway line only to see his shot cannon back off the bar. A truly fantastic effort and terribly unlucky.
21:12: Ciaran Milner
—The MMU fans in the crowd are getting behind their team now. The atmosphere is really building.
Their cheerleaders are still crap, though.
21:11: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 6-6 MMU.
Another goal in what is turning into a thrilling contest. Ben Brown slots home, assisted by the excellent Day and Bayne.
21:10: Ciaran Milner —This has been a truly breathtaking passage of play so far. Maybe the cheerleaders performance at half -time had something to do with it…
21:09: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 6-5 MMU.
An immediate response from UoM, in truth their first impetus of the section, who retake the lead.
21:08: Ciaran Milner
—GOAL! UoM 5 – 5 MMU
MMU equalize! Their outstanding performance this half has paid off with a nicely taken shot by Oliver Bayne on the powerplay.
21:06: Ciaran Milner —MMU continue to threaten in the third here. They look a different side. Completely rejuvenated.
21:05: Matthew Barber —Alex Pugh, so vital for his side so far, has been given a two minute penalty for ‘slashing.’
21:04: Ciaran Milner —A body check on Sean Day results in the crowd begging for blood. The DJ amusingly plays the Darth Vader ‘Imperial March’ theme tune over the speakers to add some atmospherics.
21:04: Matthew Barber —Looks like the cheerleaders don’t matter too much, as MMU continue to threaten…
21:03: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 5-4 MMU.
The fightback is on for MMU as Shaun Day grabs another goal for his team. MMU immediately break after the restart and threaten to equalise but the chance is squandered.
21:02: Ciaran Milner
—Cheerleader watch: roused by their half-time show victory, the UoM cheerleaders are back to a full compliment and equipped with pom-poms to support their team, which they do in full voice. Outstanding stuff.
The MMU cheerleaders are nowhere to be seen.
21:00: Ciaran Milner
—GOAL! UoM 5 – 3 MMU
A goal for MMU at the start of the third section. An attack from MMU results in a UoM defender making a mistake, and Adrian Rajkumar is there to capitalize. A composed finish.
20:58: Ciaran Milner —A rendition of ‘Call Me Maybe’ has Matt and myself bobbing our heads. Shameful.
20:57: Matthew Barber —Just noticed the funky disco ball arrangement above the centre of the rink. It suits the current techno soundtrack quite well. I bet there’s been many a cracking ice-party here… I digress, players are now back on the ice for the 3rd and final passage.
20:51: Matthew Barber —Just to clarify, the ‘press box’ that Ciaran refers to in his previous post, is in fact a refreshments stall that we’ve commandeered because it has working power plugs.
20:50: Ciaran Milner —The announcer comments that the cheerleaders are welcome at ‘any Metros game’. I’m not sure whether subjecting their players ‘Gangnam Style’ every week is a good thing.
20:48: Ciaran Milner —UoM up now. They ditch the pom-poms for a more stripped down approach. It works, as they now manage to build a small human pyramid. Take that, MMU.
20:46: Ciaran Milner
—The cheerleaders do begin the half time show.
MMU up first. They dance to ‘Gangnam Style’, much to the delight of the crowd.
I can’t say that in the press box we are equally impressed.
20:45: Matthew Barber
—HALF TIME! UoM 5 – 2 MMU
An enthralling third, with UoM dominating for the first section before MMU came back into it, taking good advantage of a powerplay.
20:44: Ciaran Milner —Number 58, Pugh, for UoM drops his stick mid attack much to the delight of the crowd. He doesn’t seem to care, though, and skates around for the last thirty seconds unarmed until the half time buzzer goes.
20:42: Ciaran Milner —As the second period draws to a close, the cheerleaders appear to be setting up for some sort of half-time show in the stand opposite us…
20:39: Ciaran Milner —Tom Steadman, number 38 for MMU, thinks he’s Ronaldinho and tries some outrageous juggling with the puck just in front of the UoM goal. He slips as he goes to shoot, though, and the attack fizzles out.
20:39: Matthew Barber —The crowd get a bit restless, and call ‘fight’ when a UoM player goes to ground. Come on lads, make it a proper Varsity!
20:37: Matthew Barber —MMU back at full strength. End to end stuff.
20:35: Ciaran Milner —MMU are down a player, with number 20 Ben Robinson put in the penalty box for 2 minutes. UoM have a chance to capitalize and launch a quick attack, Jacques getting down well to save again.
20:33: Ciaran Milner —What a save! UoM look certain to score but Jacques in the MMU goal manages to get a glove to it. An outstanding save.
20:32: Ciaran Milner
—The cheerleading has really dropped off. Only a handful remain in the stands. Some Man Met students take it upon themselves to liven proceedings instead, chanting ‘lets go Man met, lets go!’.
The pace of the game has really slowed in the last few minutes.
20:31: Matthew Barber —Chance for Tyler Schock to increase UoM’s lead, but he skews the chance wide.
20:30: Ciaran Milner —A slip from a UoM player sees the crowd respond with delight. The game has been well tempered so far, but I’m not entirely sure that’s what the audience here want to see…
20:26: Matthew Barber
—GOAL U0M 5-2 MMU.
MMU’s best spell of the third, as they take advantage of the powerplay to reduce the deficit, Shaun Day the scorer.
20:25: Ciaran Milner —UoM’s 98, Andy McKinney, has been put in the penalty box for 2 minutes boarding. Here’s an opportunity for MMU to get back in the game with a powerplay.
20:24: Ciaran Milner —Another brilliant run from the exceptional Ciaran Long sees a shot from his teammate blazed over the goal. Some of Long’s control has been outstanding tonight.
20:23: Ciaran Milner —A patiently worked attack sees UoM have a decent shot go wide. Very nice play in the build up there from the boys in purple.
20:23: Matthew Barber —The last time I blogged a Varsity tie – rugby union – the streaker counter was in double figures. We’re yet to see any tonight, but hey, there’s still time.
20:22: Ciaran Milner —MMU desperately trying to get back into the game. The pace has quickened significantly. A decent attack from MMU sees the UoM keeper make a good save.
20:20: Ciaran Milner —MMU finally launch an attack, only for it to fizzle out with a hopeless shot. UoM on the attack again.
20:19: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 5-1 MMU.
A second in quick succession for the boys in purple. It’s Pugh again who grabs this one for his side, securing his hat-trick!
20:19: Ciaran Milner —UoM are turning the screw here. The entirety of the second section so far has been played in MMU’s defensive zone.
20:18: Ciaran Milner —After taking photos and, er, grabbing some pints, I’m back for the resume of play. UoM’s cheerleaders have lost some of their enthusiasm since I’ve returned, with some of them sat down now. I don’t blame them, mind, it’s freezing in here.
20:17: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 4-1 MMU.
Slack play from MMU allows Pugh to sneak in and grab his second of this contest.
20:15: Matthew Barber —A goalmouth scramble at the UoM end, but they are able to clear and break away themselves.
20:13: Matthew Barber —Both teams have changed goalies at half-time. An interesting move… We’re back underway.
20:12: Matthew Barber —If you’re wondering where the posts from Ciaran Milner have gone, don’t worry. He’s on pint duty. Needs to hurry back though, the game will be starting again very shortly.
20:11: Matthew Barber
—A quick check of the football scores. Celtic are 1-0 at Camp Nou?! Braga lead by two at Old Trafford?! Has the world gone mad?
Anyway, bag to ice-hockey as the players re-emerge from the dressing rooms.
20:09: Matthew Barber —The ice-resurfacer is back out and Muse is booming around the Stadium. Not long now until play recommences.
20:04: Matthew Barber —Coming into the tie as something of an ice-hockey novice, I’ve really enjoyed this match so far. Fast-paced, action packed and exciting – just as sport should be.
19:58: Matthew Barber —That’s the end of a breathless first period. The score is UoM 3-1 MMU. Stay tuned!
19:57: Ciaran Milner —The MMU cheerleaders try and rouse their side with ‘we are MMU, say we are MMU’. The UoM cheerleaders don’t look amused and start waving their pom-poms.
19:56: Ciaran Milner
—GOAL! UoM 3 – 1 MMU
A brilliantly taken goal! Ciaran Long is through after a mistake from an MMU defender. He’s one on one with the goaltender, dummies him brilliantly with some excellent control and finishes superbly. The best goal we’ve seen so far.
19:53: Matthew Barber —The crowd are really getting into this tie, helped along by the cheerleaders. If we’re feeling cold, goodness knows how they’re feeling.
19:52: Ciaran Milner
—GOAL! UoM 2 – 1 MMU
UoM keep the pressure on and it results in a well taken goal, held up by Cassidy and finished by Pugh.
19:51: Matthew Barber —Jack Miller on Twitter: ‘Alty feels like TD Garden with Dropkick playing over the PA. lets hope it gets rowdy in here.’
19:50: Ciaran Milner —A lightening fast counter nearly sees UoM score, but the MMU keeper gets down well to save.
19:50: Matthew Barber —MMU taking the upper hand, forcing a string of great saves from the UoM goaltender.
19:49: Ciaran Milner —It must be said, some of the skating on display here is top-notch. Coming from someone who struggles to walk in a straight line at times, it’s hugely impressive.
19:48: Ciaran Milner —In the battle of the cheerleaders, UoM’s have come out on top so far. The silver pom-poms have given them the edge over MMUs dull blue affair.
19:47: Matthew Barber —Quick update while we get chance to catch our breath. The first UoM goal was from Pugh. The score remains 1-1 here.
19:45: Ciaran Milner
—Death embarks on a fantastic run again, only for play to be stopped for a foul.
Gangnam style is then blasted over the loudspeakers, resulting in the majority of the crowd attempting PSY’s famous horse dance. Oh dear.
19:44: Ciaran Milner
—UoM attack quickly after the goal, striking the post from distance.
And again! Another attack from UoM sees the puck fly off the bar.
19:43: Matthew Barber
—GOAL! UoM 1-1 MMU.
Oliver Bayne for Man Met grabs the equaliser with a tidy finish!
19:42: Ciaran Milner —A great run from Ethrington gives MMU a chance, but his teammate Day skies the shot over the goal.
19:41: Matthew Barber —The stadium announcer has just warned the crowd that he hopes we can all catch the puck. Up here, typing on our laptops, Mr Milner and I hope he’s joking.
19:41: Ciaran Milner
—GOAL! UoM 1 – 0 MMU
A great strike from UoM from close range. Unfortunately we were unable to identify the scorer.
19:40: Ciaran Milner
—MMU back to full strength now.
The puck flies out of the rink, much to the delight of the crowd who go wild.
19:39: Ciaran Milner —UoM keep coming, with Ciaran Long attempting an audacious shot on the turn. A great effort but it flies wide of the post.
19:39: Ciaran Milner —And UoM do attack quickly, with the MMU goaltender saving excellently from a close range shot.
19:38: Ciaran Milner —Alex Frewin has gone into the penalty box for MMU. A chance for UoM to have an attack here on the powerplay.
19:37: Ciaran Milner —Schumacher looks to play a ‘saucer’ pass over the top for UoM but MMU are straight onto it. They charge down the left quickly and fire a quick shot on goal only for it to fly wide of the post.
19:36: Matthew Barber —The Man Met goaltender has been the busier of the two so far. I’ve counted four top saves in the last few minutes.
19:35: Ciaran Milner —Man Met look to launch an attack, but UoM defend well and keep them in the corner before launching a quick counter which results in a good save from the MMU goal tender.
19:33: Ciaran Milner —A fantastic run from Death down the left nearly fashions an opening for UoM. Some great close control on display there.
19:32: Ciaran Milner —The ref calls a foul as Man Met look to launch an early attack. Nothing being held back here early on.
19:32: Matthew Barber —Many of them might be teammates, but there are certainly no prisoners being taken in these early exchanges.
19:31: Ciaran Milner —A scrappy opening exchange. UoM on the attack here, forcing a good save from the MMU goaltender.
19:31: Matthew Barber —And we’re off!
19:30: Matthew Barber
—MMU lineup tonight:
Bayne; Day; Etherington; Pollitt; Lloyd; Crannee; Grewal; Robinson; Cromack; Steedman; McDonald; El-Hage; Rajkumar; Revesz; Williams; Keelan; Brown; Frewin; Smith
19:30: Ciaran Milner —As the teams lineup against each other, the national anthem blares over the loudspeaker. The crowd go wild.
19:28: Ciaran Milner
—UoM lineup tonight:
Death; Cassidy; Jones; Brumby; Walker; Maey; Brumby; Thomson; Jacques; Shock; Valentine; Pugh; Rohani; Holder; Wallace; Long; Greaves; McKinney.
19:25: Ciaran Milner
—Ice-hockey is not often a sport live-blogged, and I can see why. It’s absolutely freezing in Silverblades Ice Rink this evening, and the frenetic pace of the action is not going to bode well with our already numb fingers.
Uni of Manchester and Man Met are both on the ice now, warming up. The line-ups are being announced over the loudspeakers.
19:23: Matthew Barber —The music is blaring away, and the ice-resurfacer has done its job. Tension building, the players start to emerge onto the rink.
19:22: Ciaran Milner
—Goalie William Wells was in high spirits before the game .
“It’s going to be a great match. It’s a great chance for some of the players further down the pecking order to prove themselves to the coach.”
For those of you who don’t know, the two sides competing tonight are normally part of the the same club, Manchester Metros. Expect some ‘friendly’ scores to be settled on the ice tonight.
19:15: Matthew Barber —Hello and welcome to the first ever Manchester Ice Hockey Varsity tie! We’re fifteen minutes away from face-off, pre-match player views coming up shortly.