Playoffs 2016 - Semi-final Saturday
On the 28th/29th May 2016, both the Elite and the Division One Diamonds took to the ice in the annual Women’s Trophy Weekend. Following one of their most successful seasons to date, the Division One Diamonds qualified for the Trophy Weekend after finishing the season in second place in the Division One North league. They would face off against the Invicta Dynamics, Div One South winners, for the right to play in the final on Sunday. The Elite Diamonds after competing in the inaugural season of the Women’s Elite League would play WEL winners, the Bracknell Queen Bees, for a chance to progress to Sunday’s final.
So, Women’s Trophy Weekend dawned and it was the Elite team who were to play first against long-time rivals, Bracknell. Following an exciting 2-2 draw the week before, both teams entered the game aware of the dangers posed by the opposition. The first period passed without a break through and the teams entered the second frame tied 0-0 but it were the Bees who were to score first and they entered the second intermission holding a narrow 1-0 lead. The third period saw the Diamonds begin to flag and the Bees take advantage, scoring three more unanswered goals to seal the victory 4-0. Nicole Jackson was to be a standout player, finishing the game with 54 saves and a sv% of 0.931.
Attention turned to Division One an early win for the Billingham Wildcats over the Cardiff Comets saw them qualify for the D1 final. The D1 Diamonds entered their game with hopes of a Northern Showdown on Sunday.
The puck dropped and we were underway, but two early penalties and the ensuing Invicta powerplays saw the Diamonds trail 2-0 just 6 minutes into the first period. Cue heroics (and two Diamonds goals) from top scorer Reagan Downing and we were back on even terms at the end of the first period. The second period started much more in favour of the team in blue as CJ Ashton provided a 2-3 Diamonds lead at 18:53 before a Carla Clark powerplay marker and a Downing hat-trick goal sealed the deal. The Diamonds beat the Dynamics 2-5 and advanced to the final, with hopes now firmly set on playoff victory and promotion to the Premier League.