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2004-2005
 

After winning the playoffs hopes were high following a successful summer of 2004 in which a huge chunk of the championship squad inked deals to keep them in Guildford for the 04-05 campaign.  Returning to the line up were Paul Dixon, Neil Liddiard, Peter Michnac and Marian Smerciak on the blue line along with forwards Milos Melicherik, Rastislav Palov, Jozef Kohut, Nick Cross and Peter Konder.   In goal, Stevie Lyle transferred to the Bracknell Bees during the off-season and was replaced by Slovakian 20-year-old Miroslav Bielik.  Ryan Vince returned to the East Coast League for the new season, while veteran Scott Levins retired following the Flames playoff title in April 2004.  Tony Redmond signed with the Basingstoke Bison, while Mark Galazzi announced a very temporary retirement that ended when he picked up with the Bracknell Bees just as the new season got under way.  New forwards to the club included Neil Adams from the English Premier League and Scottish born Adam Walker, who spent the 2003-2004 season with the BNL champion Fife Flyers.  Canadian born forward Jason Baird joined the Flames from the Central Hockey League's Indianapolis ice after finishing in the top 10 in league scoring in the North American league.  Up from the Guildford under 19 club was Andrew Hemmings, and moving from the Bracknell jr outfit was netminder Tom Annetts. 
 

The first week of action perhaps indicated things to come for the Flames with Neil Adams departing the club after just 2 games, leaving the Flames short staffed from the beginning.  The first competition of the season was the Winter Cup that included all 7 BNL clubs plus the Peterborough Phantoms and Milton Keynes Lightning of the EPL.  The Cup was not how the Flames had hoped to start the season, picking up just 17 points in 16 games to finish in 6th place in the table, missing out on the semi finals of the event altogether. 
 

The League campaign offered better hope for success and offered a special treat to the fans with the BNL and the Elite League locking horns for the first time in meaningful competition with the 'crossover' games in which inter-league games between the leagues would count for points in each league's table.  The crossover competition surprised most of the UK with the BNL clubs winning a significant number of games and being competitive throughout the competition.  The Flames got off to a roaring start in the league campaign with a 5-2 win over Elite League Basingstoke Bison, but in the end it was the Bracknell Bees who ran away with the league title, losing just 10 games in 38 starts to take their first silverware in BNL play, with the Flames finishing in 3rd spot behind the Newcastle Vipers.  However, the results were not the only story to the campaign with notable roster moves throughout the course of the year.  Jason Baird, the Canadian sniper, chose to leave the club in early October when the new CHL campaign got under way.  At the time Baird was leading the club in scoring with 20 points from 15 games, leaving a massive offensive hole at Spectrum.  Out with Baird and in with skilled forward Dusan Pohorelec, a veteran Slovakian winger with experience at the Winter Olympic games and the World Championships with the Slovakian national team.  Unfortunately, his skill did not produce results with the club and in early January he was released from the Surrey side and the Flames were once again in the market for a new offensive cog in their efforts to halt a 6 game losing skid that carried the club through the Christmas month.  In early December, the Flames said goodbye to Peter Michnac in favour of Juraj Durco another Slovakian national, who was at the time icing in North America. The blue liner did not disappoint, bringing a solid work ethic and a gritty style that was a welcome addition to the club.  In mid January the Flames replaced Pohorelec, and finally took advantage of the labour dispute in North America with the signing of offensive star David Oliver from the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars.  The New Year treated the Flames well with the club playing some of its best hockey of the season in January and February leading up to the playoff campaign.  Jozef Kohut went on a tear in January, picking up 22 points in 12 games for league player of the month honours.  Additionally, Milos Melicherik, Rastislav Palov, Peter Konder and Oliver all spruced up an offence that seemed to fizzle in the early months.  Behind them, Miroslav Bielik showed experience well beyond his years in helping the club to a 6 game unbeaten streak in February, including a 46 shot shut out in a scoreless draw with the Sheffield Steelers.  With the club playing at peak form, a surprise announcement strengthened an already strong netminding position when the club went back to the NHL to collect Jamie McLennan.  He wasted little time in establishing his place, helping the Flames to a 4-1 win over the Bracknell Bees, after the Bees had defeated the Flames in all 5 head to head games to that point in the season. He went on to help the Flames to become the only BNL club to pick up a point in Belfast when the Irish club squeaked out a 4-3 overtime win against the Spectrum club.  Though the final league standings did not reflect the Flames desires, they were ready for a good run at the playoff title, and a good run they gave.
 

In 10 playoff group round games, the Flames had more wins than any other club, going 7 wins and 3 losses to take joint 1st place in the playoff table.  McLennan and Bielik split the duties in goal with both men, posting better than a 94 save percentages, after 5 games each.  The Flames landed the Fife Flyers in the best of 3 semi final, and the Flyers took game one by a 3-1 score in front of a devastated Spectrum crowd.  To make matters worse a shoulder injury to Jamie McLennan made him doubtful for the rest of the playoffs.  However, the Flames made the trip to Fife just 24 hours later and Miroslav Bielik was more than up to the task in forcing a game 3 in the semis after a 3-1 win North of the border.  It was all on the line in Game 3 on Thursday night at Spectrum and Flames did not disappoint this time.  After going down 2-1 early in the middle session, the Flames bounced back thanks to a Marian Smerciak breakaway goal to knot the score at 2 in front of a record midweek Spectrum crowd.  Peter Konder gave the Flames a 3-2 lead that they did not relinquish, finishing with a 6-3 win to Eliminate the Kirkcaldy club and securing a place in the finals for the second year running.  However, while the other finalists, Dundee Stars, were resting after a 2 game sweep of the Bracknell Bees, the Flames were expending all the energy they had in the game 3 semi final decider.  That appeared to show the following Saturday when the Stars had no trouble in handing the Flames a 4-0 defeat at Spectrum, before matching the feat the next night with a 5-2 win to take a 2-0 stranglehold on the series and the playoff title.  Game 3 was back at Spectrum the following Wednesday, and Jamie McLennan was back in the pipes for the Flames.  4 goals in the first period were split between the clubs with a 2-2 tie reflecting on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play. The middle period saw no changes to that scoreline so the Flames needed the final period to extend the series to a game 4 in Dundee.  Unfortunately, the hockey gods said no on this occasion, when with just over 6 minutes remaining, Cory Morgan knocked in a rebound to put the Stars up by a goal, to the delight of the 300+ visiting Stars fans.  That ended the scoring on the season and the Dundee Stars confirmed their names on the playoff trophy for the first time since the 2001-2002 season, while the Flames were left to swallow a difficult end to an excellent playoff run.

League Table

British National League
GP
W
T
OL
L
PTS
GF
GA
Bracknell Bees
38
24
2
2
10
52 
154
89
Newcastle Vipers
38
18
1
2
17
39 
123
139
Guildford Flames
38
16
2
2
18
36 
113
112
Hull Stingrays
38
16
1
2
19
35 
96
121
Dundee Stars
38
14
0
0
24
28 
117
155
Fife Flyers 38 12 0 1 25 25 117 155
Edinburgh Capitals 38 6 1 2 29 15 102 189
Cup Table
Winter Cup
GP
W
T
OL
L
PTS
GF
GA
Bracknell Bees*
16
13
0
1
27 
94 
48 
Newcastle Vipers*
16
12
1
0
25 
63
43 
Fife Flyers* 16 10 1 3 2 24 71 47
Hull Stingrays*
16
9
0
0
18 
52
45
Edinburgh Capitals
16
8
1
0
7
17 
64
71
Guildford Flames
16
7
1
2
17 
56
50 
Dundee Stars
16
0
1
7
17 
63 
47
Milton Keynes Lightning
16
2
0
0
14
41 
83 
Peterborough Phantoms
16
0
0
15
30 
100 

*Qualified for Semi finals
Playoffs
Playoffs
GP
W
T
OL
L
PTS 
GF
GA
Bracknell Bees* 10 6 2 0 2 14 35 23
Guildford Flames* 
10 7 0 0 3 14  30 20
Fife Flyers* 10 6 0 1 3 13 34 33
Dundee Stars* 10 4 1 1 4 10  36 35
Newcastle Vipers  10 3 1 0 6 27 35
Hull Stingrays
10 2 0 2 5 20 36

*Qualified for Semi finals

Playoff Finals:
(Stars win best of 5, 3 games to 0)

Game 1 Flames 0 Stars 4
Game 2 Stars 5 Flames 2
Game 3 Flames 2 Stars 3

Playoff Semi Finals:
(Flames win best of 3 series 2 games to 1)

Game 1 Flames 1 Flyers 3
Game 2 Flyers 1 Flames 3
Game 3 Flames 6 Flyers 3

Player Stats
Player GP G A PTS PIMS
Jozef Kohut 67 39 35 74 147
Milos Melicherik 70 19 55 74 94
Peter Konder 69 25 46 71 102
Rastislav Palov 68 34 35 69 8
Paul Dixon 68 6 37 43 22
Nick Cross 70 12 24 36 126
Marian Smerciak 67 11 21 32 58
David Oliver 31 11 19 30 35
Stuart Potts 59 13 11 24 12
Neil Liddiard 70 7 16 23 100
Jason Baird 15 8 12 20 108
Juraj Durco 45 5 12 17 38
Jason Reilly 56 4 13 17 18
Nicky Chinn 40 7 9 16 104
Dusan Pohorolec 19 7 6 13 2
Adam Walker 64 2 3 5 2
Peter Michnac 24 1 3 4 61
Stan Marple 11 1 2 3 12
Jamie McLennan 10 0 2 2 4
David Savage 24 1 0 1 0
Gavin Jackson 0 0 0 0 0
Simon Lavis 0 0 0 0 0
Neil Adams 1 0 0 0 0
Jason Falsetta 1 0 0 0 0
Mark Pitts 1 0 0 0 0
Chris Wiggins 2 0 0 0 0
Alan Boney 3 0 0 0 0
Tom Annetts 7 0 0 0 0
James Wiggins 9 0 0 0 0
Andrew Hemmings 51 0 0 0 0
Miroslav Bielik 58 0 0 0 6
Netminder Mins GA GAA SOG SV% SO
Jamie McLennan 570 21 2.207 288 92.70 0
Miroslav Bielik 3469 165 2.852 1900 91.30 6
Tom Annetts 213 13 3.662 99 86.90 0
Simon Lavis 0:00 0 0.000 0 0.000 0
Gavin Jackson  0:00 0.000  0.000 
Looking Back

GUILDFORD FLAMES ICE HOCKEY CLUB
Guildford Spectrum
Parkway, Guildford
Surrey GU1 1UP

Tel: 01483 452244

Sportfact Ltd t/a Guildford Flames Ice Hockey Club registered in England number 2936656
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