Top-flight ice hockey has returned with the Elite League’s mini-series completing day one of the five-week tournament.

Four teams – Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers – are competing in the 2021 Elite Series at the National Ice Centre.

The tournament will help Great Britain prepare for the upcoming World Championship in Latvia.

GB forward Ben Lake scored the overtime winner as Manchester Storm beat Coventry Blaze 3-2 in the first game of the tournament.

Ciaran Long put Manchester ahead in the first period (13:01) with Ben Davies – scorer of GB’s overtime winner against France in the 2019 World Championship – getting one of the assists.

Another GB player, Dallas Ehrhardt, got the assist as the Storm took a two-goal lead through Scott Simmonds on the powerplay in the second period (38:27).

GB junior Austin Mitchell-King helped set-up Coventry’s first goal, scored by Simen Andre Edvardsen on the powerplay (46:58) and Great Britain forward Mike Hammond equalised for the Blaze with less than two minutes remaining (58:03).

Lake scored the Storm’s winner at 64:14 to secure a winning start to the Elite Series for Manchester head coach Ryan Finnerty.

In the day’s second game, Sheffield Steelers were 3-2 winners over Nottingham Panthers. 

After a scoreless opening session, the game burst into life with four goals in five second-period minutes.

GB captain Jonathan Phillips put Steelers ahead (33:51) before fellow Great Britain forward Liam Kirk made it 2-0 only 65 seconds later (34:56).

Kevin Domingue got Panthers on the board within 31 seconds (35:27) and Austin Cangelosi equalised at 38:13.

Kirk fired in his second (41:02), assisted by fellow GB forward Robert Dowd, which proved to be the game-winning goal.

Former GB U20 netminder Ben Churchfield replaced the injured John Muse in the second period and kept Nottingham at bay in the final session.

All games are available to watch on a live stream – click here for more details and to purchase the webcasts.

Photo credit: Mark Ferris and Dean Woolley.