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After a tumultuous summer in British Ice Hockey following the demise of the British National League, and several months of suspense as to which league the Flames would compete, the news came down in June following the annual English Premier League AGM that the Spectrum based club would indeed take up membership in the EPL joining the Bracknell Bees and Hull Stingrays from the BNL, English national side Sheffield Scimitars, and 9 existing EPL sides to form the largest senior league in the country for the 2005-2006 campaign.  The Flames immediately re-signed the services of star forwards Milos Melicherik and Jozef Kohut, their leading scorers from the 2 previous seasons, and also inked deals with blue line stalwarts, Paul Dixon, Neil Liddiard and Marian Smerciak. The club also proceeded to put Stuart Potts, Nick Cross, and Jason Reilly back in Flames colours for another season.  The Flames also took advantage of the Guildford jr programme by icing recent graduates Ben Duggan, Robert Young, Simon James and Ben Johnson.  Former jr member Ollie Bronnimann also signed on for the season after spending the previous year in Switzerland with Swiss jr and senior sides.  Not wanting anyone missed among the jr talent pool, the Flames also rostered current under 19 players Andrew Hemmings, Chris Wiggins and David Savage, all of whom had made appearances with the Flames in past seasons but would for the first time be full time senior players when their jr clubs were not in action.  The newest members of the Flames were Czech born forward Vaclav Zavoral who had spent most of his pro career in North America where the former draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs made a name for himself with a gritty style of play and a work ethic that was second to none, qualities he continued to display in his first season in a Flames uniform.  In goal the Flames returned Tom Annetts to the fold after his previous season with the club, joining him up with British netminder Joe Watkins who took up residence at Spectrum after stints in North America and mainland Europe.  Finally, the Flames added other familiar faces to the club when Rick Plant returned after a year away from the game, followed by Rick Skene who left the Basingstoke Bison to rejoin the Flames for his second stint with the club after his first season at Spectrum back in 2002-2003.   

Following advancement to the playoff finals the year prior, hopes would always remain high for success in Guildford in their inaugural EPL campaign, and a 20 game winning streak from the start of the season put an exclamation point on their desire to deliver.  The club did not suffer their first league loss until November 19th when the Swindon Wildcats put a stop to the streak by beating the Flames 7-4.  The Flames continued to dominate much of league play through the Christmas Schedule suffering a total of just 2 losses and 1 tie before the year turned over to 2006.  However, as though a new year brought strategic enlightenment to opposing clubs, the second half of the season proved far more taxing than the first, with the Flames losing 2 in a row for the first time all season when the Telford Tigers and Milton Keynes Lightning offered the Flames their first 0 point weekend of play.  Had the season begun after Christmas the Flames would have won the league by just a single point, but as it stood the early going had proved fruitful with the Flames finishing with 39 wins, 6 losses and 3 ties to claim the EPL league title.  

Along the way they had also picked up a perfect 6 wins and 0 loss record in Premier Cup play, advancing to the Cup semi finals where they faced the Hull Stingrays for a 2 legged weekend event in late January.  With injuries to Jozef Kohut and Joe Watkins, the Flames were mildly short staffed for leg one but a strong team effort and a great game by Tom Annetts in goal, including a stopped penalty shot with fewer than 10 minutes remaining, gave the Flames a 3-2 win at home before heading to Hull for the second half of the event.  With Watkins and Kohut returning for the Sunday game, the mood was optimistic for advancement to the Cup finals, but a stingy Hull side had other ideas, and a Stingrays goal with less than 8 minutes to play gave them a 2-1 win in the match, forcing overtime and penalties to solve the aggregate affair which was by now tied at 4 goals apiece.  An overtime session solved nothing as the clubs then went to penalties where each club sent 5 shooters to the task, with not a single goal for either club after the first 10 shots.  Onto the second group of 5 where 3 more Flames misses were met with a pair of misses for the home club, but Dru Burgess, on the Stingrays 3rd attempt of round 2, finally ended the game, sending the Stingrays to the cup finals and denying the Flames an opportunity for a Cup win this season.  

With a league win in the bag, and a Cup semi final the Flames would prefer to forget, the Flames moved onto the playoffs in an effort to secure a double winning season.  Drawing local derby club Bracknell in the first weekend of play made for an exciting start to the playoff campaign in which 2 groups of 4 clubs each battled for a top 2 position to the finals weekend to be held in Coventry in mid April.  A tie in Bracknell on the Saturday night was probably not the worst result the Flames could have hoped for, but things got worse the following evening at home when the clubs entered the final period with no goals between them.  Early in the frame, former Flame Nicky Chinn found the net for a 1-0 Bracknell lead that would eventually turn out to be all the club needed as they tacked on an empty netter for good measure to secure a 2-0 win sending the Flames to last place in Group A with just 4 games to move up to a top 2 spot.  The following weekend the pressure was on with the Flames essentially requiring a pair of wins to recover from the shaky start.  In Swindon on Saturday things went to plan as Vaclav Zavoral scored the game winner late to give the Flames a 4-3 win before seeing the Wildcats again 24 hours later on Spectrum ice.  The following night, the Flames led 1-0 through much of the game but the Wildcats struck for 2 in less than 90 seconds, sending a wave of panic through 1600 + home side supporters with just a few minutes to play.  A late penalty to Swindon changed the games fortunes and Zavoral was the hero again, tying the score at 2 each with less than 2 minutes on the clock.   In desperation, and in an unusual position with a tied game but needing a win to keep their own finals hopes alive, the Wildcats were forced to pull their netminder to go for the win, but Zavoral found himself upgrading his hero status to something of a higher nature when he took a pass at centre ice and swooped in on an empty goal to score the winner with just 6 seconds on the clock, ensuring the Flames took a maximum point haul on the weekend and boosted them to the coveted 2nd spot in the table, a semi finals bound position with just a single weekend of playoff play remaining.  On the final weekend of playoff action the Flames continued to role, handing the Hull Stingrays a 4-2 defeat on Spectrum ice before shutting out the Kingston club 4-0 in Hull the following night to capture top spot in the Group A table and, more importantly, clinching a berth in the playoff semi finals.  

With hopes high for the Flames second trophy of the season at the Coventry finals weekend, the Flames drew the Milton Keynes Lightning in the semi final, one of only 2 teams to be at least .500 against the Flames all season.  Sadly for the Guildford faithful, the Lightning were able to better their record against the Spectrum club, scoring with less than 5 minutes remaining to snap a 3-3 tie, to hand the Flames a 4-3 defeat, despite the Flames tying the game with 2 goals in the final session to recover from a 3-1 deficit.  The loss sent the Flames to the 3rd-4th place game and a spirited affair saw the Flames defeat the Sheffield Scimitars 6-2 to finish in 3rd spot in the playoffs, while the Lightning went on to win the playoff title, spreading the 3 2005-2006 EPL trophies to 3 different clubs, with the Bees having secured the cup title earlier in the campaign. 

League Table
 Team GP  PTS  GF  GA 
Guildford Flames 48  39  86  194  99 
Slough Jets  48  27  14  61  202  144 
Milton Keynes  48  25  13  10  60  201  121 
Swindon Wildcats  48  23  14  11  57  205  162 
Bracknell Bees  48  27  18  56  197  142 
Sheffield Scimitars  48  22  16  10  54  173  120 
Romford Raiders  48  24  19  53  214  204 
Hull Stingrays  48  22  17  53  158  137 
Peterborough Phantoms  48  23  19  52  158  133 
Telford Tigers  48  19  26  41  169  179 
Chelmsford Chieftains  48  10  33  25  149  284 
Solihull Barons  48  35  22  115  227 
Wightlink Raiders  48  42  11  120  304 

Trophy:  EPL League Champions

Cup Table
Premier Cup Group B  GP  T PTS  GF  GA 
Guildford Flames*  12 34  10 
Romford Raiders  22  26 
Chelmsford Chieftains  26  30 
Invicta Dynamos  12  28 

* Qualified for Semi finals

Flames defeated 5-4 by Hull Stingrays on Penalties
(2 Game aggregate) 

Playoffs Group A  GP  PTS  GF  GA 
Guildford Flames* 18  12 
Bracknell Bees*  22  14 
Hull Stingrays  13  16 
Swindon Wildcats  10  21 
Playoffs Group B GP W L PTS  GF  GA 
Sheffield Scimitars*  16  16 
Milton Keynes Lightning*  21  17 
Romford Raiders  25  23 
Slough Jets  21  27 

* Qualified For Playoff Finals Weekend

Semi Finals: Flames defeated by Milton Keynes 4-3

3rd & 4th Place: Flames defeat Sheffield 6-2

Player Stats
Milos Melicherik 56 29 69 98 80
Rick Plant 59 29 56 85 42
Jozef Kohut 40 43 34 77 124
Nick Cross 57 23 30 53 154
Marian Smerciak 58 18 23 41 44
Ollie Bronnimann 54 18 20 38 46
Paul Dixon 50 11 27 38 24
Vaclav Zavoral 54 21 16 37 286
Stuart Potts 46 10 21 31 18
Andrew Hemmings 40 10 9 19 8
Jason Reilly 32 4 9 13 18
Neil Liddiard 36 3 10 13 109
Rick Skene 60 3 10 13 56
David Savage 38 3 6 9 12
Ben Duggan 58 5 3 8 34
Chris Wiggins 39 4 3 7 16
Robert Young 39 1 5 6 2
Simon James 54 1 3 4 18
Ben Johnson 60 0 4 4 28
Chris Hepburn 6 1 0 1 2
Ben Austin 12 1 0 1 0
Tom Annetts 14 0 1 1 2
Joe Watkins 50 0 1 1 12
Simon Lavis 5 0 0 0 0








Joe Watkins 2826 92 1.95 1260 92.7 2
Simon Lavis 145 5 2.06 63 92.1 0
Tom Annetts 635 25 2.36 312 92.0 0
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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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