AGAINST all the odds, Leeds Chiefs produced a memorable weekend to post only their second four-point weekend of the NIHL National season.
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The homeless West Yorkshire club still remain bottom of the table by five points, but that is a slightly better position than when they entered the weekend.
A four-point haul for Milton Keynes Lightning means it was even more vital for Leeds to get the points they did against Basingstoke Bison, as it means the seven-point gap on the eighth and playoff spot did not get any bigger.
iam Charnock was the star of the weekend for Sam Zajac’s team - who had lost three players on Friday with James Archer, Radek Meidl and Brodie Jesson all requesting to be released.
Scottish 18-year-old Lewis Houston was already lined up as a replacement, but with defencemen Steve Duncombe and Bobby Streetly ruled out injured, it meant the Chiefs headed into the double-header in Hampshire with just 12 skaters.
It proved to be nothing to worry about, as they followed up a deserved 4-2 win on Saturday - Ethan Hehir and Adam Barnes adding to Charnock’s double - with a 3-2 victory 24 hours later, new boy Houston netting an overtime winner with just 38 seconds remaining after Charnock had struck twice in two second-period minutes.
Hull Pirates bounced back from a 6-3 defeat at Raiders IHC on Saturday with a comfortable 6-2 win over Bracknell Bees on home ice.
A third-period hat-trick from Bobby Chamberlain proved the main difference, with Jordan Fisher, Aaron Smith and player-coach Jason Hewitt getting on the board earlier in the night.
The previous evening, with former forward Archer back in their ranks after his exit from Leeds on Friday, found themselves up against it when going in 2-0 down at the first break at Raiders IHC.
Bobby Chamberlain posted two second period power play goals, but the visitors were still two goals adrift after 40 minutes.
Import David Norris struck a third for Hull at 52.26 but it was sandwiched by two further Raiders strikes, who ended deserved 6-3 winners.
Sheffield Steeldogs saw their three-game winning streak come to an end when they suffered two defeats to Milton Keynes Lightning.
The first came on the road when they found themselves 3-0 down before they got on the board to make it a one-goal game through third period strikes from player-coach Ben Morgan and Charles Thompson.
But, crucially, the hosts made it 4-2 soon afterwards through Robin Kovar before sealing the deal with an empty-net strike from Liam Stewart.
Back at Ice Sheffield 24 hours later, the Steeldogs again let their opponents establish a lead, but pulled it back to 2-2 through Alex Graham and James Spurr.
Just after the halfway mark, however, the Lightning edged in front again through Harry Ferguson's power play marker before Stewart made the man advantage pay again when he made it 4-2 at 38.58.
The Steeldogs were soon back within one through Vladimir Luka’s short-handed effort but a goalless third ensured them ended the weekend with no points to show for their efforts.