Category: Weekend Preview

December 8th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

Last weekend saw the winning records of Basingstoke in the league and Swindon in the cup being brought to an end. What will this weekend bring? We’ve got 8 games across all three competitions. Including the final game in the Autumn Cup group round stage, which means we’ll know who is playing who in the semi-finals of that competition after Saturday night.

League action
We’ve got 5 games in the league to take a look at. First up is another double-header for Streatham who travel to London on Saturday before hosting Basingstoke on Sunday. Last weekend, Streatham broke their poor league form in spectacular fashion – with a 4-point weekend against two of the league’s heavy-weights. In both games, they showed an incredible energy level and out-hustled their opponents – winning more of the 50/50 pucks. Both Bees and Bison pushed them hard and at times Streatham had a lot of pressure to soak up (the third period against Bison for sure) and occasionally rode their luck. But both wins were well deserved.

Saturday’s opponents, London, also had a win last weekend with a strong performance to beat Cardiff 6-1 in Wales. They are another hard-working high-energy side and have been performing well in the league so far – the only one of the classic-NIHL1 sides to have taken more than 50% of the point on offer with 14 points on the board from their 13 games. The two sides have already met 5 times this season – with Streatham winning all of the cup games and London winning the only league meeting so far. but every game has been close – with no more than a 2 goal margin separating the teams. I’d expect another close one on Saturday.

Sunday’s game will see Bison play in the new Streatham rink for the first time. I expect Basingstoke to come into this game hard, having learned last weekend that they can’t take the Redhawks lightly.  They are going to want to show that they are serious contenders for the league crown and will want to bounce back against the team that ruined their perfect league record. From what I have seen, Bison are a slick passing team – and excel at quick transitions and fast-flowing hockey. The issue last weekend was that they didn’t have a plan-B for a team who hustled, disrupted and stopped them from playing their game. They’ll be looking to change that this time.

London also have a league double-header this weekend as they travel to Peterborough on Sunday. In the first and only meeting between these sides so far, the Raiders stunned the Phantoms with a 6-3 win to end a 11 game winning streak for the league leaders. The sides were due to meet in London last weekend, but a broken pipe leaking glycol onto the ice resulted in the game being cancelled. It means that this will now be the first time that Euan King plays against his old side since making the switch to the Phantoms.

Saturday also sees Swindon host Cardiff. The Fire are still searching for those first league points, but I don’t think this is the game they are going to find them in. Last time these sides met, Swindon outclassed them badly and while the Fire never gave up and an incredible performance from NM Jordan Lawday kept the scoreline close until the final few minutes, the result was never really in doubt.

Our final league game on Sunday sees Swindon travel to Invicta.  The sides met at the Link centre last Saturday when the Wildcats steam-rolled the Mos with a big 7-1 win. The Dynamos will want to show that they are better than that result, and having beaten Swindon once already this season, know that they have the ability to do it again.

National Cup action
We’ve got a double-header between Bracknell (home on Saturday) and Telford (home on Sunday) in Group D of the cup this weekend. Two wins for Telford would see them guarantee their qualification through to the quarter finals and put them at the top of the group for the first time.  For Bracknell, it is last chance saloon territory now. They must take at least 3 points from these two games or they will be eliminated. The sides met 4 weeks ago in another double-headed fixture that saw Telford take an OT win and a regulation win – but that was at the start of Bakrlik’s suspension and he will be back in the team. This could be an interesting series!

Autumn Cup action
On Saturday we see the final group-stage game in the Autumn Cup when Peterborough travel to Basingstoke to decide which team will top the group. A point will be enough for Peterborough to take the honours while for Bison, only a regulation win will do if they want top spot. The group winners will go on to play Hull in the semi-finals of the competition while the runners up will play Swindon. The sides have met only once in competitive play this season – when Peterborough had an OT home win, also in the Autumn Cup. This one should also be close.


Fixture information​

Saturday
17:30 NIHL1S London Raiders vs Streatham IHC
18:00 NIHLNC-D Bracknell Bees vs Telford Tigers
18:15 NIHL1S Swindon Wildcats vs Cardiff Fire
18:30 NIHLAC-1 Basingstoke Bison vs Peterborough Phantoms

Sunday
17:15 NIHL1S Invicta Dynamos vs Swindon Wildcats
17:30 NIHL1S Peterborough Phantoms vs London Raiders
18:00 NIHLNC-D Telford Tigers vs Bracknell Bees
18:45 NIHL1S Streatham IHC vs Basingstoke Bison


We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

NIHL1 National Cup Group D

NIHL1 Autumn Cup Group 1

 

Posted in Weekend Preview

December 8th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

There are five games this weekend in NIHL South 2, and with league leaders Oxford having a weekend off, attention turns to the chasing pack.

Both Peterborough and Chelmsford have not been on great form as of late – Peterborough have lost three of their last five, and needed a shootout to beat Basingstoke last weekend, while Chelmsford have lost two of their last five including being shut out by Oxford last Sunday. The two sides face each other on Saturday in a big game for both clubs.

Saturday also sees the Solent Devils – currently third in the table – visit Invicta, while Slough host Haringey. Meanwhile on Sunday, Chelmsford are in action again as they host Lee Valley, while Bristol travel to Basingstoke.

Saturday

Invicta Mustangs vs Solent Devils

Another week and yet another game between one of the lower-ranked sides in South 2 and one of the former South 1 sides, as Invicta play host to Solent.

Invicta (3 wins/9 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 7 points) sit in 12th place with four losses out of their last five. Their only win in that stretch was an overtime win over winless Lee Valley. To make matter worse for the Mustangs, the loss back on 11 November was against Solent, who took an 8-2 victory. Invicta will have home ice for this match, but of course home support didn’t help much last weekend against Guildford as the Mustangs lost 6-2.

Solent (8 wins/1 regulation loss/1 OT loss, 17 points) have done the reverse of Invicta in their last five matches, having won four and lost one. That last loss was against Chelmsford back in late October, but things haven’t been as sunny as they look for Solent. They last played a fortnight ago against bottom of the table Swindon and barely edged out a 5-4 victory.

Invicta can take heart from how close Swindon came to an upset, but the odds still favour Solent by a pretty substantial margin.

Don’s Prediction: Invicta 3-7 Solent
Laurence’s Prediction: Invicta 2-7 Solent

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Chelmsford Chieftains

The biggest game of the weekend sees second place Peterborough host seventh place Chelmsford, with both sides hoping for a win to get their title challenge back on track.

Peterborough (9 wins/3 losses, 18 points) started the season so well – the Phantoms won each of their first seven games and looked like they could compete with the sides that had dropped down from NIHL1. But losses to Oxford (twice) and Solent, and a tight shootout win over Basingstoke last weekend, have meant the Phantoms come into this game desperate for a win. They are still second in the table but many teams below them have games in hand, and they cannot afford to slip up.

Chelmsford (6 wins/2 losses, 12 points) slipped up themselves last month with a surprise 3-1 loss to Bristol, while last Sunday they were shut out in their own rink by league leaders Oxford. The Chieftains have still played a lot less games than most of the teams above them. but they need to take advantage of those extra games if they want to start climbing the table. They made a change of import midweek, as Filip Supa – who has scored 15 goals already this season but went scoreless in both of Chelmsford’s losses – was released and replaced by NIHL1 veteran Michal Oravec. He should bring a strong scoring touch to the Chieftains.

This is a big game for both sides, and it’s tough to call. But with Oravec bringing some higher-level experience to the Chieftains, that could give the Essex side the edge in this one.

Don’s Prediction: Peterborough 4-5 Chelmsford
Laurence’s Prediction: Peterborough 3-5 Chelmsford

Slough Jets vs Haringey Huskies

Haringey travel to Slough on Saturday as they look to keep pace with the big boys of South 2, while Slough will be hoping to secure an upset.

The Jets (4 wins/9 losses, 8 points) seem to have recovered from their tough fortnight when they lost heavily to Oxford City and Bracknell, as last weekend they started slowly against Swindon but rallied for the overtime win. A power surge in Slough’s mini-Hangar nearly ended the game after 12 minutes with no goals on the scoreboard, but fortunately the teams were able to retake the ice, after arranging to play 24 minutes in each of the remaining two period. And in the elongated second stanza, it was the Wildcats who had the better time, moving out to a 3-1 lead. Swindon extended their lead to 4-1 early on in the third, but then just a minute later, Luke Reynolds pulled one back for Slough. The Jets added two more goals in the final ten courtesy of Nathan Darmanin and Liam Underdown to send the game to OT. After a minute of free hockey, Jamie Chandler completed the comeback with a match-winning goal for Slough.

Haringey (7 wins/5 losses, 14 points) sit in sixth place in South 2, having won three of their last five, although there last result was a 7-3 home loss against Chelmsford. The Huskies fell behind 2-0 but rallied to draw level as Samuel Jackson converted a penalty shot and Bryn Griffiths added their second goal a few minutes later. But Chelmsford’s Filip Supa, who had already scored one of the Chieftains’ goals, added three more to have himself and five-point evening and lead Chelmsford to victory.

Haringey may not be the same calibre as the former South 1 sides, but they should be able to visit Slough and take home a win. For the Jets, forcing the game to OT and earning a point would be seen as a success.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 6-7 Haringey (OT)

Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 3-6 Haringey

Sunday

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Bristol Pitbulls

The Pitbulls visit the Buffalo on Sunday in an intriguing match that is one of the most difficult to predict this weekend.

Bristol (3 wins/5 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 7 points) currently sit in 11th, two points and two places behind Basingstoke—but the Buffalo have played two more games. And Bristol’s last three results have given Pitbulls fans reason to be pleased. Bristol shocked former South 1 side Chelmsford 3-1, narrowly lost to Cardiff away and then a fortnight ago demolished Lee Valley 11-1. Olly Shone scored four goals and tallied two assists against the Lions, while Logan Prince added a brace and Richard Hargreaves had five assists and a goal.

Home side Basingstoke (4 wins//6 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 9 points) have had a slightly rougher time of it in recent weeks, defeated Slough and Swindon by just a goal and then losing 6-2 at home to Cardiff. But last weekend, the Buffalo took Peterborough to overtime and although Basingstoke ultimately lost, and the Phantoms have been sliding as of late, it was certainly a result that Basingstoke can build on. Blair Dubyk continued his fine season, scoring a hat trick to move to 15 points from 11 games.

So who will emerge with the win in this one? It’s tough to call but Basingstoke may just have the edge with home ice. But don’t be surprised if Bristol take away the points.

Don’s Prediction: Basingstoke 5-6 Bristol
Laurence’s Prediction: Basingstoke 3-4 Bristol (OT)

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Lee Valley Lions

Chelmsford play their second game of the weekend at the Riverside on Sunday, hosting a Lee Valley side still looking for their first win.

Chelmsford will be coming off a tough-looking game against Peterborough the previous night, so depending on how that game goes they will either be out for revenge in this one or looking to cap off a winning weekend. Either way, the Chieftains should have enough quality at both ends of the ice to see off the Lions.

Lee Valley (10 regulation losses/2 OT losses, 2 points) lost their second overtime game in as many weeks on Saturday against Cardiff, as they were unable to make a 4-2 lead count, ultimately going down 5-4. To make matters worse, debutant Tom Hurley was injured during the game, adding to an already lengthy injury list. Even at full strength, the Lions would struggle to compete with a strong Chieftains side, so this will be a very tough ask for them.

Expect a comfortable win in this one for a Chelmsford side with a lot of quality in their lineup.

Don’s Prediction: Chelmsford 12-3 Lee Valley
Laurence’s Prediction: Chelmsford 8-3 Lee Valley


Fixture information

Saturday
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Solent Devils
17:30 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Chelmsford Chieftains
18:00 Slough Jets vs Haringey Huskies

Sunday
18:30 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Bristol Pitbulls
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Lee Valley Lions


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL1 games? You can find the NIHL1 South weekend preview HERE.


482days Expert Prediction Competition (after week 11)

Don: 65pts
Laurence: 63pts

Our experts get 1 point for every correct result, and 3 points if they predict the exact score. (Although as they say: prediction is a mug’s game…)

Posted in Weekend Preview

December 1st, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

The big games keep on coming in NIHL South 2: last weekend saw Oxford and Chelmsford win big games against Peterborough and Guildford respectively; while this weekend sees those two sides square off for the first time this season, with the City Stars travelling to the Riverside on Sunday to square off against the Chieftains.

Saturday has three games on the schedule. A Lee Valley side still searching for their first win host the Cardiff Fire, Invicta welcome Guildford and Swindon travel to Slough’s temporary rink to take on the Jets.

There are just two games on Sunday. As well as the aforementioned game between Chelmsford and Oxford, the Peterborough Phantoms will look to turn their recent poor form around as they welcome the Basingstoke Buffalo.

Saturday

Invicta Mustangs vs Guildford Phoenix

Invicta welcome some tough opponents to Kent on Saturday as Guildford come to town looking to bounce back from last week’s heavy loss.

Guildford (7 wins/1 OT loss/4 regulation losses, 15 points) have had a tough spell, dropping three out of their last four games with losses coming against the former South 1 sides Bracknell, Oxford City and last weekend, Chelmsford. On Sunday, the Phoenix found themselves down 2-0 to the Chieftains after five minutes and Chelmsford never looked back, adding another goal in the first period and then a goal in each of the remaining periods to take a 5-0 victory. Still, even with their recent string of poor results, Guildford remain in 5th place.

Invicta (2 wins/1 OT win/1 OT loss/8 regulation losses, 7 points) have moved up in the table to 11th, following last Saturday’s overtime win over the Lee Valley Lions. That win broke a three-game losing streak for the Mustangs, but it is surely concerning for them that they were taken to overtime by the winless Lions. That three-game losing streak, even more significantly, started with a 5-2 away loss to the Phoenix. This time, Invicta will have home support but they will have to work very hard for a win.

After an exhausting few weeks, Guildford will probably come out very strongly against Invicta, unless they struggle to recover from those gruelling matchups. If the Phoenix are not at their best, the Mustangs may be able to pull off the upset.

Don’s Prediction: Invicta 4-6 Guildford
Laurence’s Prediction: Invicta 2-5 Guildford

Lee Valley Lions vs Cardiff NIHL2 Fire

The Lee Valley Lions welcome the Cardiff Fire to East London on Saturday in what could be an intriguing tie, and one that is very important for both sides.

The Lions (10 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 1 point) broke their point scoring duck last weekend with an overtime loss away at Invicta. Lee Valley showed great spirit to come back from 3-1 down and tie the game with just seven seconds left. However the next night against Bristol was another reminder of how tough the league is this season for a smaller side like the Lions, as they went down 11-1 at home to the Pitbulls. And after losing 7-1 away at Cardiff earlier in the season, they will be desperate to win this one – their final home game before Christmas.

The Fire (4 wins/4 losses, 8 points) currently sit mid-table on eight points and a 50% win/loss record. Cardiff NIHL teams have traditionally struggled on the road due to player absences, with the Fire having won one of four away from home so far this season. With the NIHL1 Fire playing at home on the same day as this game, the make-up of the travelling NIHL2 team could depend on how many players the NIHL1 Fire team need to call up.

This one is tough to call. If Cardiff bring a full-strength lineup and play the sort of quick, aggressive hockey we are used to from them, it could be a long night for the Lions. But Lee Valley will be desperate to put a “1” in the win column ahead of Christmas so will do all they can to win. This one should be good.

Don’s Prediction: Lee Valley 6-7 Cardiff
Laurence’s Prediction: Lee Valley 4-3 Cardiff (OT)

Slough Jets vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

The lone team left in South 2 without a point, Swindon Wildcats visit the mini-Hangar on Saturday in search of a win against Slough Jets.

Following Lee Valley’s overtime loss last weekend which secured the Lions their first point of the campaign, Swindon (0 wins/9 losses, 0 points) were dropped into last place with a disappointing duck egg still intact in the point column. But the Wildcats have plenty of reason to hope. Although they picked up another loss on Sunday against Solent, they only lost by one goal—a very good result against one of the former South 1 sides.

Slough (2 regulation wins/1 OT win/9 losses, 6 points) have had a tough couple of weeks against some even better ex-South 1 sides, playing against Oxford City at home and travelling away to Bracknell, with both matches resulting in heavy losses. Prior to that, though, Slough had been in good form, winning three of four matches. The question for them is whether or not they can find that form again. The good news for the Jets? They don’t necessarily need to be at their very best to defeat Swindon, unless the Wildcats can put together another performance like last week’s.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 7-5 Swindon
Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 6-3 Swindon

Sunday

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Basingstoke Buffalo

Peterborough will be looking to stop their freefall on Sunday as they host Basingstoke.

The Phantoms (7 regulation wins/1 OT win/3 losses, 16 points) won their first seven games of the season but since then have lost three out of four and haven’t been the same great team since key forward Nathan Pollard was called up to the South 1 side. The last two games have been particularly disappointing for Peterborough as they were shutout by Solent 6-0 and then by Oxford City 7-0. Last weekend’s loss to the Stars is the second time this season Peterborough have lost to table-topping Oxford, which makes it that much harder to see the Phantoms chasing down the leaders.

Basingstoke (4 wins/6 losses, 8 points) have continued having a very average season. They’ve lost heavily to the South 1 sides, picked up wins against the lower-ranked teams, secured an upset against Guildford and only lost by two goals to former South 1 club Solent. Last weekend was disappointing for Basingstoke, though. They hosted Cardiff, who have struggled away from Wales in recent times, but despite the Buffalo outshooting the Fire, it was Cardiff who left the arena with a 6-2 win.

Basingstoke will be anxious to get back into the win column after that defeat, but probably not as anxious as Peterborough. But anxiety for wins isn’t all that counts—Peterborough are, quite simply, a better team. Look for them to halt their losing streak this Sunday.

Don’s Prediction: Peterborough 9-5 Basingstoke
Laurence’s Prediction: Peterborough 8-3 Basingstoke

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Oxford City Stars

Last weekend was a hugely successful one for both the Chieftains and the Stars; Chelmsford dispatched Haringey on the road and shut out Guildford at home while Oxford also took a shutout victory against strong opposition, beating Peterborough 7-0. Now they face off against each other for the first time.

Former NIHL South 1 dominators Chelmsford (6 wins/1 loss, 12 points) have had a strange start to life in NIHL2, as their disjointed schedule has meant they have only played seven games while some other teams have already played 12. Nonetheless the Chieftains seem to be hitting good form now – their shock defeat to Bristol aside – as they have won six of their seven games to date. They will be missing forward Grant Bartlett through suspension for quite some time, but are getting enough scoring from his brother Cameron as well as Ross Brears and import Filip Supa to make up for that.

Meanwhile the Oxford (11 wins/1 loss, 22 points) juggernaut rolls on, with the City Stars sitting pretty at the top of the table having lost just one of their 12 games to date. The month of November saw them win all five of their games with a goal difference of +28, and last weekend’s 7-0 shutout win over Peterborough sent a big statement to the rest of the league. Kamil Kinkor is the league’s top scorer with 37 points in 12 games, and he is being ably backed up in the scoring charts by Joe Edwards and Josh Oliver, both of whom have already passed the 25 point mark.

This should be a fantastic game between two teams full of talented players. The result could go either way, but Oxford would seem to have the slight edge given how dominant they were throughout November. This one is not to be missed.

Don’s Prediction: Chelmsford 6-5 Oxford (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Chelmsford 4-6 Oxford


Fixture information

Saturday
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Guildford Phoenix
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Cardiff NIHL2 Fire
18:00 Slough Jets vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Sunday
17:30 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Basingstoke Buffalo
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Oxford City Stars


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL1 games? You can find the NIHL1 South weekend preview HERE.


482days Expert Prediction Competition (after week 11)

Don: 61pts
Laurence: 59pts

Our experts get 1 point for every correct result, and 3 points if they predict the exact score. (Although as they say: prediction is a mug’s game…)

Posted in Weekend Preview

December 1st, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

9 games across the NIHL1 South teams this weekend: 7 in the league and 2 in the National Cup.

League action
Saturday starts with Swindon hosting Invicta. For the Wildcats this will be Sam Zajac’s final weekend with the club before he moves back to the North-East for work. Zajac has been a huge presence on the Swindon blue line since the start of the season, chipping in nearly a point per game across all competitions and will surely be missed. For Invicta, newly signed Cesky and Osman seemed to settle in well last weekend and getting back to 3 lines will definitely be a relief for coach Parrish. These teams met twice back in September with a win a apiece, although the Mos’ win was in OT. Invicta actually seem to be doing better against the ex-EPL teams on average than they have against the classic-NIHL1 teams so far this season. 7 of their 11 league points have come from the games against the bigger clubs in the division. Swindon have been the form team in the cups this year, having won every game in both Autumn and National Cup competitions so far – but have not been able to translate that to league form and are currently in 4th place and 7 points off leaders Peterborough (although they do have a couple of games in hand).

Saturday also sees Basingstoke host Streatham. The Bison have been a major force in the league so far and have yet to drop a point – or even let a team take them to OT so far. Admittedly they have yet to play any of the other ex-EPL sides in the league yet, but have also managed not to slip up against the classic-NIHL1 teams and have a very impressive 1.4 goals against average – by far the lowest in the league. Streatham have blown hot in the cup, having won their group with a 100% points record, but are struggling down in 8th place in the league with just 7 points from 12 games. The Redhawks have the quality in their line-up to be matching the bigger teams and while Basingstoke will be aware that they are the side to have come closest to taking league points against them – having led 3-0 at home before eventually succumbing 4-3 when teh sides last met in late October.

Cardiff continue their hunt for a first league point against London on Saturday. The Welsh side have seen their results improving, especially in the last month. Some of this is of course down to the signing of netminder Jordan Lawday, but the rest of the squad is also getting to grips with the much faster-paced league. The Fire have a number of players out injured which isn’t helping, but it has also meant opportunity for some of their young NIHL2 players to step up – and the Smith brothers (19 year old Ben and 16 year old Sam) certainly both impressed me when I watched them recently. London will not give them an easy game though. The Raiders currently sit 6th in the league with 12 points from 12 games and play a fast and fluid game.

Cardiff also travel to Invicta on Sunday. Fire have struggled with numbers at away games this season, not having managed to take a full 3 lines out of Wales since they played Swindon at the beginning of October. Invicta meanwhile have got themselves back up to having 3 lines again and may actually go into a game with more players than their opposition for the first time in almost 2 months!

London also have a league double-header as they host Peterborough on Sunday. These sides have only met once this season, when London shocked the the Phantoms with a 6-3 road win, cutting short the league leaders’ run of 11 unbeaten games. The Raiders were actually outshot 46-25 in that game, with Euan King apparently being outstanding between the pipes. Of course, since then King has switched sides and will be lining up for the Phantoms in this clash!

Milton Keynes have their only game of the weekend on Sunday when they host Basingstoke. Thunder are also playing 500-hockey at the moment with 15 points from 15 games putting them at in a solid 5th position in the league. The one team they haven’t managed to get close to in scoreline so far though is the Bison – with 2 big losses (7-2 and 6-0) in the record books so far this season. They will want to improve on those results at the very least.

Our final league game sees Bracknell travel to Streatham. Bees, in their only game this weekend, will be delighted to welcome back Bakrlik as his 6-game suspension came to an end last weekend. The mercurial player is doubtless one of the most talented forwards in the league and Bees have had a torrid time without him in the side with 6 losses and no points recorded during his suspension. These two sides have met just once so far, with the Bees winning by a convincing 6-1 margin. Of interest, in that game – there were a total of 20 minor penalties of which 17 were for fighting, with bouts between Galazzi and Hayes, Martin and Miles, Stead and both Ranson and Paynter!

National Cup action
Saturday sees Sheffield travel down to Peterborough for a game in Group B. The two met in the national cup last weekend in Sheffield with the Steeldogs taking both points in a 6-3 win. But there have also been two fixtures between them in the Autumn cup with Phantoms taking all four points there. A regulation win for Peterborough will see them leapfrog Sheffield into 2nd place and a qualification spot – but anything else will see them remain at the bottom of the table.

In Group D, we have a top of the table clash between Swindon and Telford. As mentioned above, Swindon have yet to lose in a cup game this season and have 5 wins against Telford recorded so far. Telford have been narrowing the scorelines though and last week took Swindon to overtime. Expect another close game here.


Fixture information​
Saturday
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)
18:30 Cardiff Fire vs London Raiders (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Sheffield Steeldogs (National Cup)

Sunday
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1)
17:30 London Raiders vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1)
18:00 Telford Tigers vs Swindon Wildcats (National Cup)
18:30 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)


482days will have live twitter updates from at least one game, but we’re undecided on where to show up at the moment! If you want to come and say ‘hi’ or would like a pin badge, just look for the bright yellow laptop! We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

NIHL National Cup Group B

NIHL1 National Cup Group D

 

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 24th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

We’ve got seven games to look at across the NIHL1 South teams this weekend: just the three games in the league as well as four in the national cup.

League action
Invicta have a league double-header this weekend as they travel to London on the Saturday and then host league leaders Peterborough on the Sunday. With their cup competition already over (despite still having one game to play), all of the Mos’ focus will now be on the league, and with just 3 points separating the teams in positions 5-8, they will see this as a chance to move up the table.  New signings Steve Osman and Jaro Cesky will likely both feel they have something to prove having been released by their previous clubs this season and are both certainly a much needed addition to the Mos’s short bench.  While Invicta fans will be delighted with the 5-1 thumping of Bracknell on Saturday, I have little doubt that tired legs will have contributed to the 6-2 loss in Streatham the following day (even if it was a dead rubber game). With the pace of the league having notably quickened this season, back to back games with just over 2 lines is always going to be a tough ask.

London had a disappointing weekend last week and will be looking to bounce back from that. They ran Swindon close in a 3-2 loss on Saturday but were heavily beaten on Sunday by the Bison in a 6-0 loss. This will be the 4th meeting between the teams this season, but their first in the league. So far the Raiders have had all the points in their three cup games with 5-4 and 3-1 wins in Lee Valley as well as the 11-1 home defeat that the Dynamos will want to forget. But that’s the cup and as we have seen time and time again this season, cup form is not equating to league form (or vice versa).

Invicta’s opponents on Sunday bounced back themselves last weekend with Autumn Cup and league wins against Bison and Bees respectively. Solidifying their position at the top of the league, they will have the chance to go 5 points clear with a win in Kent and while the Bison obviously have games in hand, that starts to put scoreboard pressure on them. With 2 recent league losses to their fellow classic-NIHL1 opponents in the form of MK and London, Phantoms will not be taking the Mos lightly. This is likely to be a game where a short bench really could be a major factor for the Dynamos though as Phantoms biggest strength is the quality they have across all of their lines which means that the pressure likely won’t ease up for the full 60 minutes.

Our final league game this weekend sees Cardiff visit Milton Keynes. Cardiff are still struggling to find their first points of the season and it was a tough, battling game I watched last weekend in Wales where they looked outclassed by Swindon for much of the game. But the results are narrowing for them and I genuinely believe that win is going to come soon. The bad news for them is that they also have a long injury list at the moment, with quite a few of their more experienced players like Nick Chinn, Sam Smith and Brad Watchorn currently out of commission. The good news is that they have an absolutely top class netminder in the form of Jordan Lawday who is helping to keep scorelines tight and the team in a position to counter-attack and maybe steal some points in the process. The last time these sides met was back in September when Thunder had a convincing 6-0 win. Fire will certainly be looking to improve on that scoreline.

Milton Keynes will be coming into this game pretty fresh having had the weekend off last week, but that has also given them a full fortnight to brood over their own 6-0 defeat at the hands of Bison two weeks ago. A game that brought then back down to earth with a bang after taking the scalp of league leaders Peterborough the day before. MK have definitely been having a lot of close games so far this season, with more than a third of their games going to OT and half of the remaining games being settled by just a goal or two in regulation.

National Cup action
We’ve got 3 games in the intriguing Group D of the National Cup this weekend. All four teams are in action on Saturday when Swindon host Telford and Basingstoke host Bracknell. Then the Bees and the Wildcats will also be in cup action in Bracknell on the Sunday.

For Swindon and Telford, this is already the 5th meeting between the teams – with Swindon having 2 wins in each of the National Cup and Autumn Cup competitions. Wildcats are in terrific cup form at the moment, having already qualified for the Autumn Cup semi-finals and sitting on 5 wins from 5 at the top of the National Cup Group D table so far. They have already met Telford four times this season and have taken all of the points on offer. The games have all been pretty close though with only one game being won by a margin of 3 goals. The Wildcats will be disappointed though with the immediate loss of Toms Rutkis who is now able to return to the ice after a broken jaw has kept him out for the last 2 months but who will be moving to ice full time with the Cardiff Devils (although the two-way contract is still technically in place). They are also going to be losing one of their strongest d-men in the next few weeks as well as Sam Zajac is returning North for work in early December. Telford though have had a real return to form in the last two weeks, winning all of their last 4 games and they are still very much in contention of a quarter-final cup berth, currently sitting in 2nd place in teh group and just 2 points behind Swindon (although with 3 more games played).

Saturday also sees the Bison host the Bees. Bracknell have struggled without their top goal-scorer Frankie Bakrlik who will also be missing this weekend as he completes his 6-match ban. With Shaun Thompson also missing last weekend, they clearly struggled with secondary scoring. While the cup losses against Telford two weeks ago were at least close-run games, they will not be happy with having been thumped 5-1 by Invicta and then 7-2 this weekend. The news that they have also released Steve Osman with immediate effect is perhaps a surprise, as he sat behind only Best in addition to Thompson and Bakrlik in both goal-scoring and assists within the team. Bison’s cup form has improved somewhat recently having won 2 of the last 3 games in this competition, but they badly need to get some more points on the board in this competition if they are to challenge for a berth in the next round. Their league form has been excellent of course, but may be a little misleading as they have not yet played any of the ex-EPL teams in that competition. This will be the fourth and final cup group game between these two teams with Bison just holding the advantage with 4 points to 3, but any win by Bees will see them take the overall result between the two sides which could prove crucial in the final table.

On Sunday, Swindon will travel to Bracknell for the second meeting this season between the teams. Wildcats had a fairly comfortable 5-2 win against the Bees a month ago – and that was with Bracknell at full strength with Bakrlik and Thompson providing their two goals. It is hard to see how Bees will manage to reverse that result without them, but we’ve certainly seen stranger things happen already this season – and sometimes adversity can really pull a team together.

Our final cup game is sadly another dead rubber in group C where the standings in the group were decided 2 weeks ago. Both Streatham and London have already qualified for the quarter-finals and London cannot overtake Streatham at the top of the group table. So this game will just be about bragging rights and psychological advantage ahead of their remaining league games.

 

Fixture information​
Saturday
17:30 London Raiders vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Telford Tigers (National Cup)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Bracknell Bees (National Cup)

Sunday
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Swindon Wildcats (National Cup)
18:30 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs London Raiders (National Cup)


482days will have live twitter updates from London on Saturday as well as updates from all the games across NIHL1 and 2 in the South across the weekend. If you want to come and say ‘hi’ or would like a pin badge, just look for the bright yellow laptop! We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

NIHL National Cup Group C

NIHL1 National Cup Group D

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 24th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

Last weekend was a big one in NIHL South 2. Bracknell lost in Chelmsford, meaning there are no undefeated teams left in the division; Solent hammered Peterborough 6-0 in a surprisingly one-sided game; Guildford pushed the aforementioned Bracknell all the way before the Hornets secured a narrow 4-3 win; and Cardiff won their first away game of the season in Basingstoke, before following that up with an OT win over Bristol the next day.

This weekend sees eight games to be played – and they are evenly spread with four on Saturday and four on Sunday. Bracknell will look to bounce back from that Chelmsford defeat as they welcome the Slough Jets to the Hive on Saturday, while the Chieftains will look to keep their momentum going as they visit Alexandra Palace to face Haringey. Meanwhile the Lee Valley Lions will once again look for their first win of the season as they travel to Kent to face the Invicta Mustangs, and Cardiff will look to take their third win on the bounce as they play in Guildford .

Sunday sees the Lions having another chance to win a game, this time hosting Bristol in East London, while Chelmsford and Guildford clash at the Riverside. League leaders Oxford host a Peterborough side that are still clinging on to second place in the league, but have faltered in recent weeks, while the Swindon Wildcats – who, just like Lee Valley, are looking for their first win of the campaign – entertain an in-form Solent Devils side.

Saturday

Invicta Mustangs vs Lee Valley Lions

Saturday sees an important battle in the lower reaches of the table, as 12th placed Invicta host 14th placed Lee Valley. The Mustangs lost narrowly 5-3 at Haringey last weekend, while the Lions had last weekend off – but their most recent game was also a loss to Haringey.

The Mustangs (2 wins/8 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 5 points) have played eleven games to date, winning just two of them. An OT defeat to Slough saw them claim a point also, giving them five points in total on the season. The Mustangs are goal-shy, scoring just 2.6 goals a game – indeed it has taken them 11 games to score 29 goals, while their opponents Lee Valley have scored the same amount of goals but taken two games less. The Mustangs should be buoyed by a spirited performance at the Palace last weekend, where they pushed the Huskies all the way before Haringey took the win in the last period.

Lee Valley (9 losses, 0 points) have been desperate to break their duck for weeks now, and their last game – a 6-8 home defeat to the Huskies – saw them lead on several occasions but ultimately they were not able to put the game to bed. After a weekend off, they will travel to Kent optimistic of finally winning a game – over the last three seasons, the Lions have a record of seven wins, four losses and a draw against the Mustangs. The East London side and their head coach George Alley will therefore be hoping that Invicta are the perfect opponents for them to take two points against.

This is a fascinating game, and really could go either way. Both sides have not scored enough goals this season and have conceded too many, so it will really come down to which side is firing on the day. Expect a close one!

Don’s Prediction: Invicta 7-5 Lee Valley
Laurence’s Prediction: Invicta 2-3 Lee Valley

Guildford Phoenix vs Cardiff NIHL2 Fire

Fresh off of two one-goal losses to former South 1 heavyweights Bracknell and Oxford City, Guildford look to get back in the win column this weekend with a pair of games, the first of which sees the Cardiff Fire come to town.

Cardiff (3 regulation wins/1 OT win/3 losses, 7 points) will be continuing to try to erase the notion that they are poor away from home, as although they lost their first two away games this season, their most recent trip saw them defeat Basingstoke 6-2. That was just half of a successful last weekend for the Fire, as they then returned to Wales and hosted a thrilling encounter with the Bristol Pitbulls. The visitors held a slim 2-1 lead after two periods but Joe Morris levelled the game with a short-handed goal in the 50th minute. The two sides battled to a draw at the end of regulation and went to overtime, where it took Robert Sedlak just 24 seconds to score the winner for Cardiff.

For Guildford (6 wins/3 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 13 points), this weekend is a chance to turn good performances into points after a disappointing fortnight. After blowing a lead and losing in overtime to Oxford City a few weekends ago, the Phoenix were handed a similarly bitter pill to swallow by Bracknell last Saturday. After rallying to tie the game at 3-3 early in the final period, Guildford watched at least one point slip away as Ben Ealey-Newman put the Hornets back in the lead to stay with under eight minutes remaining.

So Cardiff come into this game with a two-game winning streak, and Guildford with a two-game skid. But judging from league form and Cardiff’s away difficulties, both those runs may be coming to an end on Saturday.

Don’s Prediction: Guildford 7-4 Cardiff
Laurence’s Prediction: Guildford 4-2 Cardiff

Haringey Huskies vs Chelmsford Chieftains

Saturday sees a big game at the Palace as the Huskies play host to the Chieftains. Haringey have played 11 games to date and sit fifth in the table, while Chelmsford have played just the five games and are currently ninth. Having already slipped up this season with a loss to Bristol, the Chieftains will hope to dispatch the Huskies in this encounter.

Haringey (7 wins/4 losses, 14 points) have had a pretty good start to the season, building a points cushion over some of the smaller sides in the division with seven wins so far. Fifth in the table may flatter them slightly – they have played more games than most teams – but nonetheless the newly-formed Huskies have had an impressive start to life, led by the likes of Stephen Woodford, Daniel Clayton and Stuart Appleby – all of whom have an eye for goal. They’ve won their last two games, at Lee Valley and at home to Invicta

The Chieftains (4 wins/1 loss, 8 points) have had a disjointed season so far, playing only five games and not yet playing a double header weekend. They seemed to start off well enough with wins over Swindon, Invicta and Solent, before a shocking 1-3 defeat to Bristol seemed to derail their charge. However, last week they bounced back by ending Bracknell’s unbeaten run as they took a tight 3-2 victory. Netminder Sonny Phillips has been on great form so far, while forward Cameron Bartlett is now back from his ban and joins other danger men such as Ross Brears, Filip Supa, Darren Brown and James Ayling in a high-quality front line.

On paper the Chieftains should have too much for the Huskies in this one, with Chelmsford looking strong at both ends of the ice. But after the Bristol game a few weeks back, the Huskies will be feeling that if they play their best hockey, they too could cause an upset against the heavily-fancied Chieftains.

Don’s Prediction: Haringey 3-6 Chelsmsford
Laurence’s Prediction: Haringey 3-9 Chelmsford

Bracknell Hornets vs Slough Jets

Slough’s three-game run of unbeaten results at home came to an end on Saturday, and this week they look to bounce back away to the formidable Bracknell Hornets, who are also out for redemption after losing for the first time this season last Sunday.

While disappointing for the home supporters, Slough’s (2 regulation wins/1 OT win/8 losses, 6 points) loss last weekend was hardly a surprise, as it came at the hands of the league-leading Oxford City Stars. Slough acquitted themselves well, and goalie Chris Douglas was particularly deserving of praise in the first period, allowing just two goals despite being peppered with 29 shots. After half an hour of play, Slough would have been pleased with themselves as they were only down 3-2 despite Oxford City having the lion’s share of possession. But Oxford’s dominance finally began to show as the game wore on. The Stars scored twice in the second period and then added four goals in the final 10 minutes to skate away with a 9-2 win.

Bracknell (7 wins/1 loss, 14 points), who had not lost in seven games to start their campaign, finally met their match—or in this case, their superior—on Sunday in Chelmsford. The Chieftains put to rest any question that they can’t get along without the suspended Grant Bartlett as Filip Supa and Darren Brown gave them a 2-0 lead in the first period. Chelmsford added a third goal in the second and Bracknell looked dead and buried. But Sean Scarborough scored in the 53rd minute to give Bracknell momentum and Ben Ealey-Newman’s goal with five minute left had Chieftains supporters looking nervously at the clock. But Chelmsford were able to see it out and destroy the last remaining perfect record in the league.

For this weekend’s match, expect a resurgent Slough to put up another good fight against a much superior opponent—but ultimately Bracknell’s strength will win out.

Don’s Prediction: Bracknell 10-4 Slough
Laurence’s Prediction: Bracknell 8-3 Slough

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions vs Bristol Pitbulls

Depending on the previous night’s result in Kent, the Lions will either be looking to build on their first win of the campaign, or still desperate to secure it. They host a Bristol side who have had a strange season so far – they grabbed a shock win over Chelmsford but have otherwise struggled.

The Lions will hope to have got the monkey off their back the previous night against the Mustangs but, whether they have done so or not, this looks to be a tough game. These sides met on two occasions last season in the cup, with the Pitbulls winning 5-3 in East London and 6-1 in their temporary home in Oxford. And the Pitbulls have an identical roster this season to the one that played in the last campaign, whereas the Lions have a side hurt by several injuries.

However the Pitbulls (2 wins/5 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 5 points) are currently below where they would want to be, lying 11th in the table on five points. Bizarrely one of their two wins so far was against Chelmsford in what was probably the biggest surprise result in the league to date, but Bristol have lost to the likes of Guildford, Haringey and Cardiff – they would have liked to have won at least a couple of these games. The Pitbulls have scored 22 goals so far – only Swindon have scored less – so they will hope that a trip to East London is just what they need to find their scoring touch.

This game will be an interesting one. Bristol will look to move up the table as quickly as possible with two points here, while the Lions will look to cause what would still be seen as an upset. If the Pitbulls play their best hockey, they should win – but the battling Lions should never be totally ruled out, especially at home.

Don’s Prediction: Lee Valley 3-4 Bristol
Laurence’s Prediction: Lee Valley 3-5 Bristol

Oxford City Stars vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

A top of the table tussle in Oxford sees the league leading Stars host a faltering Phantoms side. Peterborough were unbeaten in league competition for over a year before going down 7-3 to Oxford at the start of the month, and since then have also lost 6-0 to the Solent Devils. Oxford, meanwhile, have only lost once so far and have been in imperious form of late.

Oxford (10 wins/1 loss, 20 points) are sitting pretty at the top of the table at the moment, playing some fantastic high-scoring hockey and looking every bit the title contenders a lot of people expected them to be. Of their ten wins, they have passed double figure goal tallies in four of them; and only their 3-2 OT win over Guildford has really been close. Since their only loss this season – a 9-6 reverse in Bracknell – they have won eight on the bounce, scoring 8.4 goals per game and with a goal difference of +69(!) Import forward Kamil Kinkor is on fire this month, scoring 7+4=11 in their four games to date,

Peterborough (8 wins/2 losses, 16 points) were unbeaten in the entire 2016-17 NIHL South 2 (East) campaign, and started this season in the new unified NIHL South 2 with seven wins on the bounce including four consecutive games where they scored more than 10 goals. Things all changed when they hosted Oxford at the start of this month, as the Stars outclassed the Phantoms and took a 7-3 win. Since then, Peterborough dispatched Swindon, but “only” by the score of 9-2 which could be considered low by their standards, before a surprisingly high 0-6 defeat at Solent last weekend. It was the first time Peterborough have been shut out in a very long time, and was another blow in their title charge – a charge they would like to revitalise with a win in Oxford.

That will be very tricky for Peterborough, especially with one of their star forwards Nathan Pollard now playing with the NIHL Phantoms. Oxford are top of the league for good reason, and will hope to continue their hot streak with another victory here.

Don’s Prediction: Oxford 7-6 Peterborough
Laurence’s Prediction: Oxford 6-3 Peterborough

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Guildford Phoenix

A busy weekend for Chelmsford continues on Sunday as they host the high-flying Phoenix in Essex as the Chieftains look to close the gap in the league table.

Chelmsford have played the fewest number of games in the league so far this season, coming into the weekend having played just five fixtures—four teams have already played 11. But this weekend, the Chieftains are finally playing the maximum, with a game on Saturday against Haringey (previewed above) and the Sunday match against Guildford. Chelmsford have, for the most part, done well with their five games, picking up four wins including a brilliant 3-2 victory over the previously undefeated Bracknell Hornets last weekend. Chelmsford fans will be hoping that the shock loss to Bristol a fortnight ago was just a blip on the radar.

Guildford also will play twice this weekend, and will be looking to move further away from those below them in the table. The Phoenix currently sit on 13 points in 6th place, with Cardiff, Basingstoke and Chelmsford all behind them with eight points. But with Cardiff and Chelmsford having played substantially fewer games than Guildford, the Phoenix will want to further increase that lead. Guildford also have the chance to move up the table, with 2nd-place Peterborough just three points clear of the Phoenix.

Guildford will hope to come into the game with some momentum after playing Cardiff at home on Saturday, but it won’t be easy playing away to a strong Chieftains side.

Don’s Prediction: Chelmsford 5-4 Guildford (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Chelmsford 4-2 Guildford

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Solent Devils

Only the strength of a better goal difference is keeping the winless Swindon Wildcats ahead of Lee Valley at the foot of the table. But that goal difference may take a nasty hit again this weekend as Swindon welcome in Solent.

Solent (7 wins/1 regulation loss/1 OT loss) sit third in the table and come to town with a three-game winning streak that includes last week’s 6-0 shutout win over Peterborough. The Phantoms have been such a good side all season, but last Saturday were no match for Solent, who outshot Peterborough 52-31 and scored twice within the first four minutes, including an opening short-handed goal from Richard Facey, as Solent cruised to a statement victory.

As for Swindon (0 wins/8 losses, 0 points), they had last weekend off, but their most recent result is also against Peterborough—and the Wildcats lost that game 9-2. Swindon have come close a few times in their desperate search for points, losing by a goal to both Invicta and Basingstoke. But against the better teams, they haven’t even come close.

Solent certainly are one of the top clubs in the league this year and judging by both club’s recent results against the Phantoms, the Swindon faithful are probably in for a difficult evening.

Don’s Prediction: Swindon 2-11 Solent
Laurence’s Prediction: Swindon 3-8 Solent


Fixture information

Saturday
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Lee Valley Lions
17:30 Guildford Phoenix vs Cardiff NIHL2 Fire
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Chelmsford Chieftains
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Slough Jets

Sunday
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Bristol Pitbulls
18:15 Oxford City Stars vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Guildford Phoenix
19L45 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Solent Devils


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information and we’ll also have live updates from the big top of the table clash between Oxford and Peterborough on Sunday evening. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL1 games? You can find the NIHL1 South weekend preview HERE.


482days Expert Prediction Competition (after week 11)

Don: 53pts
Laurence: 52pts

Our experts get 1 point for every correct result, and 3 points if they predict the exact score. (Although as they say: prediction is a mug’s game…)

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 17th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

After a lot of criticism about the one-sided nature of many games in NIHL South 2 this season, the past weekend was like a breath of fresh air. Highly-fancied Chelmsford were stunned by Bristol, as the Pitbulls came out with a 3-1 victory; while Guildford took Oxford to overtime and gained a point despite ultimately losing the game. Both of these results showed that not every game in the league this season is a foregone conclusion.

This weekend sees seven more games in NIHL South 2, including several intriguing ties. The aforementioned Guildford look to continue their good run as they travel to Bracknell on Saturday to take on a Hornets side that have six wins from six so far, while 2nd in the table Peterborough travel to 3rd place Solent. The other ties on Saturday see Haringey host Invicta, Slough welcoming league leaders Oxford and Basingstoke hosting Cardiff.

There are just two games on Sunday, one of which sees Chelmsford look to bounce back from that shocking defeat to Bristol, as they welcome Bracknell to the Riverside. And Bristol themselves are also in action, as they make the trip to South Wales to take on Cardiff.

Saturday

Solent Devils vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

On the south coast, a team that came down from NIHL1 in the summer hosts a team that probably would have taken promotion to NIHL1 if not for the league restructuring. These teams have already faced off once before this season, with the Phantoms taking a tight overtime victory at home thanks to Bradley Moore’s winner in the 63rd minute.

Solent (6 wins/1 regulation loss/1 OT loss, 13 points) have had a mostly successful season to date. Their only losses have come against fellow fancied sides Chelmsford and Peterborough, as they have dropped only three points so far. Veterans Richard Facey, import Drew Campbell and player-coach Alex Murray are the key men for Solent, with all three having scored 18 points or more already. They will look to avenge that loss to the Phantoms last month with victory in this one.

Peterborough (7 wins/1 loss, 14 points) lost their first league game in over a year two weekends ago, as Oxford beat them 7-3. They bounced back from that with a 9-2 victory at home over Swindon last weekend, but by their standards the scoreline was perhaps lower than would be expected. The big question is whether the Phantoms can keep their momentum and confidence going through a very tough run of games – they face Oxford again, and Chelmsford twice, all before Christmas. And they will have to do it without one of their star forwards Nathan Pollard, who has now moved up to the NIHL1 Phantoms side.

This one should be tight, with two strong sides facing off and a lot of offensive firepower on show. However both starting netminders – Solent’s Chico Cole and Peterborough’s Dan Lane – are also very strong, so this one really is hard to call. It could go either way – and could even go into OT again…

Don’s Prediction: Solent 6-7 Peterborough
Laurence’s Prediction: Solent 5-6 Peterborough (OT)

Haringey Huskies vs Invicta Mustangs

Fresh off a victory over Lee Valley in the London derby last Sunday, the Huskies – currently lying 6th in the table – host an Invicta Mustangs team that have not really got going this season and currently sit in 10th place.

Haringey (6 wins/4 losses, 12 points) have played 10 games to date, winning five and losing five. The table shows six wins and four losses however – their season opener was awarded to them 5-0 after the winning Basingstoke side fielded an ineligible player. After the Huskies took 100% of the possible points in September and 0% of the possible points in October, November has seen them take tight away wins against Bristol and Lee Valley as well as an expected heavy loss to Oxford. The Huskies have done very well in games against the traditional NIHL2 teams, and we can expect more of the same against the Mustangs here. Things could get especially tough for the Mustangs if they take too many penalties – the Huskies scored four powerplay goals at Lee Valley last weekend, and showed great character to repeatedly come back from one or two goals down.

The Invicta Mustangs (2 wins/7 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 5 points) have also played 10 games to date, with only tight home wins over Swindon and Cardiff, and a point from an OT loss at Slough, to show for their efforts. They already played the Huskies once before, going down 6-5 at home back in September. One of Invicta’s issues has been a lack of goals. They have scored just 26, with only Bristol and Swindon – both of whom have played less games – scoring less to date. Michael Stokes is their top scorer with four goals – Haringey already have five players who have reached this milestone.

This one looks like being a tough one for the Mustangs, on the road against a Haringey side brimming with confidence after their derby victory last Sunday. Expect a win here for the Huskies over a goal-shy Mustangs side.

Don’s Prediction: Haringey 8-5 Invicta
Laurence’s Prediction: Haringey 6-3 Invicta

Slough Jets vs Oxford City Stars

It’s been a brilliant few weeks for the Slough Jets as they’ve surged up the table to eighth, but the fun may be over this weekend as they host the table-topping Oxford City Stars on Saturday.

After dropping their first six games, Slough (3 wins/7 losses, 6 points) have now won three out of their last four to move away from the bottom of the pack. The run started with a narrow win over Invicta, and now includes two strong wins over Cardiff 2 and Lee Valley, sandwiching the sole loss in the run, a 6-5 defeat away to Basingstoke. Last Saturday was the Lee Valley game as the Lions came to town looking for their first win of the season. Liam Underdown started the scoring for the Jets as he picked up the lone goal of the first period. Slough extended their lead early in the second period courtesy of Kurt Tyrrell before Lee Valley captain Nicholas Alley pulled one back. The Lions continued to stay in the game throughout the second period, and Alley’s penalty shot to start the third period had the score at just 4-3 in favour of the Jets. But Timo Lindgren responded in under half a minute for Slough and from there the Jets coasted to an 8-3 win, with Underdown and Luke Reynolds picking up braces and player-coach Lukas Smital securing a five-point evening.

This weekend’s opponents, Oxford City (9 wins/1 loss, 18 points) arrive at Silverblades with a seven-game winning streak. The Stars did receive a scare on Sunday, though, as they were nearly upset by Guildford Phoenix. Guildford were the visitors but they didn’t let the home support put them off as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes with goals from Joshua Abbott and Bailey Wootton. But in the third period, the game completely changed. Oxford outshot the Phoenix 22 to 3 but it looked like Guildford were going to hold on even though Jake Florey had scored a shorthanded goal for Oxford in the 48th minute. As the final minute ticked off, the Stars pulled their goalie and were rewarded as Michael Whillock scored the equaliser with 11 seconds remaining. The game went to overtime and Oxford completed the comeback as Kamil Kinkor scored the winning goal just 35 seconds in.

Slough will need to copy Guildford by scoring early, but it will be extremely difficult against such a good Stars team—and one who defeated the Jets 8-2 early in the season. It’s been a nice run for Slough but this could end up being another heavy loss.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 5-8 Oxford
Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 4-10 Oxford

Bracknell Hornets vs Guildford Phoenix

Saturday’s biggest game sees the undefeated Bracknell Hornets welcoming the high-flying Guildford Phoenix to town, in a battle of the only two teams that have taken at least a point off Oxford so far this season.

Bracknell (6 wins, 12 points) have played a few games less than some of the teams around them, so currently sit 5th in the table despite being the only unbeaten team left in the league. The Hornets had a tough game in Cardiff last weekend but came out 9-5 winners in the end, and also brushed Oxford aside 9-6 back in September. Their unbelievably dangerous offence – built around former Streatham duo Steve Fisfer and Sean Scarbrough who have 41(!) combined points in six games to date – has proven too much for all the teams they have faced so far, as the Hornets have scored an average of nine goals a game.

League newcomers Guildford (6 wins/2 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 13 points) have surprised a lot of people with their strong start to life in senior hockey. There is no doubt that the Phoenix side contains a lot of individual talent, but player-coach Andrew Hemmings deserves a huge amount of credit for moulding them into a team that has established itself in the upper echelons in the table. Last weekend’s result against Oxford was mightily impressive, as the Phoenix led 2-0 at one stage and eventually took the game to OT, claiming a point in a game that they would have been expected to lose. Saturday’s trip to Bracknell is another such game – can the Phoenix pull off another surprising result? A lot could rest on the shoulders of Bailey Wootton and Joshua Abbott, both of which have scored 12 points to date.

Looking at the individual names in the Bracknell side and their form so far on the season, a win for the Hornets would appear to be highly likely. But after the spirit Guildford showed against Oxford last weekend, they cannot be overlooked, and will hope to take at least a point from this encounter, as tough as it may be.

Don’s Prediction: Bracknell 8-6 Guildford
Laurence’s Prediction: Bracknell 7-4 Guildford

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Cardiff NIHL2 Fire

A slumping Cardiff team take to the road on Saturday to play Basingstoke at Planet Ice Silverdome Arena.

The Fire (2 wins/3 losses, 4 points) have lost their last three games on the bounce, including away losses to Invicta and Slough, and then last Saturday, a home defeat to Bracknell. Cardiff, who usually perform well at home, did put up a good fight against the Hornets. The Fire pulled out to a 3-1 lead and were able to take a one-goal advantage into the third period. But Bracknell equalised and then scored a shocking three goals in the space of 34 seconds to surge ahead 6-3. Credit must go to Cardiff for continuing to fight but in the end, Bracknell proved to be too good in the third period and secured a 9-5 victory.

Meanwhile Basingstoke (4 wins/5 losses, 8 points) have had an up-and-down season. They’ve defeated Guildford, which is no mean feat, and have also knocked off Slough, Invicta and Swindon. But they’ve lost heavily to Oxford (twice) and Bracknell, and they’ve also been defeated by Solent and Haringey, although their loss to the Huskies was actually due to the Buffalo icing an ineligible player. Last Saturday Basingstoke visited Swindon, and although as mentioned, they did pick up a win, it wasn’t an easy one for the Buffalo as they had to hold off a third period rally by the Wildcats in a 3-2 victory.

But although Basingstoke have yet to put together an impressive win, with the exception of their narrow triumph over Guildford, they will still be favourites against the Fire. Cardiff will presumably struggle on the road again, and Basingstoke have shown themselves to be a decent team.

Don’s Prediction: Basingstoke 7-4 Cardiff
Laurence’s Prediction: Basingstoke 4-2 Cardiff

 

Sunday

Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Bristol Pitbulls

Cardiff are in action again but this time they’re at home, and they face a Bristol side fresh off a shock win over Chelmsford. This game has the potential to be a real thriller.

Bristol (2 wins/5 losses, 4 points) started their season with a last-gasp win over Slough and then proceeded to lose five consecutive games to place them amongst the bottom teams in the league. But those losses came against five of the top six teams in the league according to the current table, so Bristol fans still have reason to hope they can pick up some wins against the other lower sides such as Lee Valley and Swindon. What few expected, however, was that the Pitbulls would secure a win last week against former South 1 side Chelmsford. It was a tight game, but Bristol proved to be the better side on the night. They narrowly outshot the Chieftains as Olly Shone scored a brace and Ross Miller saved all but one shot to take away a 3-1 victory. Bristol still sit in the 12th in the table, but their confidence has been given a huge boost.

Cardiff, as pointed out above, are a very different team depending on whether they’re playing home or away. On Welsh ice, they are a dangerous team. Early in the season they swept away Lee Valley and Slough, and last weekend they played very well against Bracknell, even if they did go on to lose by four goals. So for Bristol to pull off another upset will be difficult, but they do have momentum and Cardiff, on a three-game skid, have little of that.

Don’s Prediction: Cardiff 7-5 Bristol
Laurence’s Prediction: Cardiff 4-5 Bristol (OT)

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Bracknell Hornets

The final game of the weekend is a mouth-watering clash featuring two former South 1 sides. Chelmsford are the home side and are reeling from last Saturday’s shock loss to Bristol; Bracknell are the visitors, and come into the game as the only unbeaten side left in the league.

The Chieftains (3 wins/1 loss, 6 points) were expected to be a strong contender this season, but so far it’s been difficult to tell if they will live up to the hype. Part of this is due to Chelmsford having only played four games—less than anyone else in South 2—but Saturday’s defeat at the hand of the struggling Pitbulls has given their supporters even more cause for concern. True, Chelmsford have been hurt by the suspension of Grant Bartlett, but even that doesn’t justify a poor performance against the Pitbulls. After a scoreless first period, Olly Shone put Bristol on the board before Ross Brears knotted things up on the power play. Despite being offered the lion’s share of power plays, Chelmsford were unable to pick up any more goals, while Shone notched a second goal and Giacomo Raffaelli scored for Bristol to secure a 3-1 victory.

Recovering from the loss won’t be easy for the Chieftains as they play host to Bracknell (6 wins/0 losses, 12 points), who have been, quite literally, unbeatable this season. The Hornets brushed aside the lower teams such as Basingstoke, Lee Valley, Swindon and Cardiff, while Oxford City gave them much less trouble than expected. Haringey came the closest in a 5-3 loss, but even then Bracknell were in control for most of the game. However, the Hornets will have just had a tough game the evening before against Guildford Phoenix. How much difficulty Bracknell have in that game and how tired it leaves them could have a definite impact on Sunday’s clash.

Don’s Prediction: Chelmsford 6-8 Bracknell
Laurence’s Prediction: Chelmsford 3-5 Bracknell


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Solent Devils vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Invicta Mustangs
18:00 Slough Jets vs Oxford City Stars
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Guildford Phoenix
18:30 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Cardiff NIHL2 Fire

Sunday
14:45 Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Bristol Pitbulls
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Bracknell Hornets


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information and we’ll also have live updates from Cardiff’s derby game against Bristol on Sunday afternoon. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL1 games? You can find the NIHL1 South weekend preview HERE.


482days Expert Prediction Competition (after week 10)

Don: 49pts
Laurence: 49pts

Our experts get 1 point for every correct result, and 3 points if they predict the exact score. (Although as they say: prediction is a mug’s game…)

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 17th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

Seven games seems like a relatively quiet weekend these days for the NIHL1 South, but with no cup games involving the NIHL1 North teams, we still have 6 teams with a double-header and only one team (MK) has the weekend off.

It’s certainly a league-heavy weekend though with 5 games in the NIHL1 Britton league and just one each in the two cup competitions.

League action
The weekend’s action starts with Bracknell visiting Invicta as both look to shake off cup losses last weekend. It’s a repeat of the action-packed game from just 2 weeks ago which saw went the full distance before the Bees grabbed the extra point during the penalty shootout and which also saw Bees import Frankie Bakrlik pick up a 6 game suspension for his dangerous hit to the head of Mason Webster. Mos will also likely be down an import for this game after parting ways with Adam Rehak during the week and with no news yet of a replacement. Last weekend, Bees suffered a double cup loss against Telford – and while that didn’t put them out of contention for the quarter-final round, it certainly has made the task of qualifying much harder. Invicta, themselves out of the cup already also suffered a further defeat in that competition against old rivals Streatham and the added loss of Rehak will have been a further blow.  Despite their relative positions in the league though, Invicta have certainly been performing well so far against the Bees. Despite losing twice, they have still picked up a point in each game by keeping the game tied at the end of regulation and in fact it’s been the Bees who have had to find the equaliser to get themselves to OT. This is actually quite an intriguing match-up!

On Sunday, Bracknell will then host current league leaders Peterborough in a top of the table clash. If Bees win on Saturday then they will take the top spot in the league table overnight at least and go into the game with the Phantoms chasing to retake the league. Either way, it is likely that the winners of this game will top the league table at the end of the weekend. Phantoms have twice been stung at home now by old-NIHL1 sides, despite heavily outshooting both and coach Slava Koulikov may well have done some work on shooting efficiency in training this week after last weekend’s haul of 102 shots netted them just 2 goals! They will of course have the option of playing Euan King in nets themselves this time though after his move from London during the week. This could be a titanic battle though – with the league top spot the prize and with both teams having a lot to prove.

Swindon have a league double-header this weekend and they will see this as a great chance to make up some of the distance between themselves and the top 3 teams. Currently languishing in 5th place and 6 points adrift of 3rd placed Basingstoke, coach Aaron Nell will see 4 points as an absolute necessity if they want to be seen as legitimate challengers this season.  Their opponents on Saturday are London who are currently in great form having won all three of their games in the last 2 weeks and are sitting just 2 points behind Swindon in 6th place. London would need a huge win (by 6 or more goals) in this game to be able to overtake Swindon in the league after this game, but they will certainly see this as an opportunity to further their ambitions of being the top old-NIHL1 club come the end of the season. Obviously the loss of first-choice netminder, arguably their hero of last weekend’s win against Peterborough (with 69/70 shots saved) will be a big blow – but Michael Gray has also been in great form when he came in as injury cover earlier this season.

Swindon’s opponents on Sunday will be the improving Cardiff Fire in an M4 derby game. On paper this certainly looks like an easier game for the Wildcats with Cardiff yet to pick up a point in the league – but Cardiff have been improving week on week and at some point I am sure those points are going to start being won. It’s certainly been a tough season so far for the Fire, but that was always going to be the case for the Welsh side who have effectively jumped up two tiers in the league ladder this season and who have gained a huge amount of respect throughout the UK hockey scene so far as a result. It’s absolutely a learning season for Mark Cuddihy’s team, most of whom have stepped up from last season’s NIHL2 side; but the never say die attitude and obvious team unity has certainly contributed to their improved results since the start of the season. Swindon will certainly be the favourites for the win here, but this is also a potential banana skin for them if they take the Fire too lightly.

Our final league game this weekend sees London travel to Basingstoke. The Bison’s 100% record in the league so far is in stark contrast to their cup record where they have just 3 wins from 8 games. But this is a league game – and so far Bison’s form has been impeccable with all nine of their games so far won in regulation. Bison have two players averaging an impressive 3 points per game in the league: import Tomas Karpov (15+16 from 9 games) and Ivan Antanov (7+14 from 7 games) and captain Aaron Connolly also contributing well (8_8 from 9 games). Just as importantly, they have a very solid defence set-up led by the consistent Dean Skinns between the pipes who are averaging just 2 goals against them in league play. This will be a tough nut to crack for London! For the Raiders, import forward Marek Nahlik has the distinction of being the only player from an old-NIHL1 team to push his way into the top 10 scorers in the league though (8+11 from 8 games) and is having a great season so far. Basingstoke will certainly go into this as favourites – but London seem to relish being underdogs and will scrap hard to continue their good form so far.

National Cup action
Just the one game in the national cup this weekend and it’s a bit of a dead rubber with the positions in cup group C already having been decided after only three-quarters of the game having been played. Streatham have been somewhat the reverse of Basingstoke in terms of form – with 6 wins from 6 games in the cup seeing them winning their group with 2 games to spare but managing just 3 wins and an OT loss from 12 games in the league so far. For Invicta, the cup challenge is effectively over – but they are going to want to avoid the indignity of zero points.

Autumn Cup action
This is somewhat surprisingly the first competitive meeting between Peterborough and Basingstoke so far this season. The two sides did meet for a double-headed challenge series in the first weekend in September but have yet to meet in any meaningful games. Despite both having already qualified for the Autumn Cup semi-finals as a result of both beating Sheffield twice, this game is not likely to be a damp squib! The kudos of winning the group is still very much up for grabs, but these are also the two teams I see as most likely to take the top two league spots by the end of the season and the psychological upperhand from these cup games may be important when they finally meet in the league over the New Year period.


Fixture information​
Saturday
18:00 Invicta Dynamos vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs London Raiders (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Basingstoke Bison (Autumn Cup Group 1)

Sunday
17:30 Basingstoke Bison vs London Raiders (NIHL1)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1)
18:00 Cardiff Fire vs Swindon Wildcats (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Invicta Dynamos (National Cup Group C)


482days will have live twitter from Cardiff on Sunday (undecided about saturday so far). If you want to come and say ‘hi’ or would like a pin badge, just look for the bright yellow laptop! We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

NIHL National Cup Group C

NIHL1 Autumn Cup Group 1

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 10th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

We’ve a big weekend in the national cup competition with 5 games across the 3 groups with NIHL South teams involved. The league is still ticking along as well – although it’s a quiet week with just 3 fixtures.

Last weekend certainly gave us some exciting action in the league. On Saturday, London Raiders had an impressive 6-3 away win against Peterborough – bringing the Phantoms’ 11 game winning streak to a close. This was made even more impressive by the way London picked themselves up after being pegged back from a 3-0 lead to 3-3 and pushing on to take the game. We even saw a penalty goal (rare as hens’ teeth) awarded at the end of the game.

Sunday saw two games go to OT and penalty shots and two others be decided by just one or two goals giving us the closest set of results in the league yet.

Here’s hoping for another weekend of action like that!

League action
It’s a tough league double-header for Milton Keynes this weekend as they travel to Peterborough on Saturday and then host Basingstoke on Sunday. Milton Keynes are currently sitting mid-table in 5th place with 4 wins (one in OT) and crucially 3 OT losses. With only a few exceptions they have been there or thereabouts in all their games. However, against the ex-EPL teams they have yet to pick up more than a single point – an OT loss to Swindon; and they have lost by at least 3 goals in their games against Phantoms and Bison so far.
Basingstoke have yet to drop a point and have won all their league games so far in regulation. After a patchy start to the season with 4 losses in the national cup competition they made some changes to the squad and have really pushed on. They are currently sitting on a 10 game winning streak across all competitions and are definitely looking very strong at the moment in their hunt for silverware this season. Mind you I said the same about Peterborough last weekend and look what happened there! Basingstoke will definitely be looking to continue their pressure on the top two in the table. A win here will put them just 2 points behind Bracknell with 2 games in hand.
Peterborough, despite their loss last weekend, have clung on to their spot at the top of the table thanks to their win over tied-on-points Bracknell. With Bracknell not playing this weekend, a win here would give them a points gap once more at the top of the table. Phantoms are still my tip for overall league champions this season, but they have now shown themselves to be fallible. They will want to get back to winning ways again here.

Our third league game this weekend will be the first league meeting between local rivals London and Streatham. The sides have met three times in the cup so far, with Streatham getting the upper hand each time – but the results have been close with two games being decided by a single goal and the third by just two. London will be high on confidence after their 4-point weekend which lifted them up two places in the table. NM Euan King is clearly on the road to recovery as he was instrumental in their win against Phantoms, stopping 40 of the 43 shots on his net in his first game back, although after speaking to him on Sunday (when he did not dress), he is still a little way from being fully fit yet. Streatham will also be delighted to have had the match penalty against forward Jamie Hayes reviewed and downgraded to a game misconduct – meaning he will be available for this game.

National Cup action
It’s a cup heavy weekend in NIHL1 South – with 5 games to look at. We’ll start with the double-header between Bracknell and Telford. Both of these teams are fighting for one of the two qualification spots but are currently sitting just below. A double win for Telford would see them jump to second in the table, while two wins for Bracknell would see them leapfrog Telford into third and possibly second depending on the result between Wildcats and Bison. Bracknell will obviously be without their main threat Bakrlik, who was given a six-game suspension after the check to the head which left Invicta’s Mason Webster unconscious during the OT period on Sunday. Of course, for the Bees’ other players, this could be a great chance for them to show the rest of the NIHL that they are not a one-man team and to really step up and show what the rest of the team is made of.
Telford meanwhile are coming into this game off a truly dreadful run of form. With just one win in their last nine games which has seen them eliminated from the Autumn Cup and pushed out of the qualification spots in this competition and knocked off the top of the NIHL1 North league table.  They have strengthened though, adding Scott McKenzie from Deeside last week and Adam Jones from a trial with EIHL Belfast Giants this week. GB International, Jonathan Weaver is also now eligible to return, although he missed last weekend as he was apparently still suffering concussion from the game that saw him banned back in September.

The two teams who are currently sitting in the QF qualification spots in group D will also face each other this weekend as Swindon travel to Basingstoke on Saturday. Swindon’s cup form has been perfect so far this season with 4 wins from their 4 games and that’s certainly the sort of form they will be looking to continue in this competition. Their league games have not been going quite so well with losses to Peterborough (twice) and Streatham in their last three games seeing them slide to 4th in the table and off the pace of the other ex-EPL sides.
Basingstoke have the opposite form. In the league they are the only unbeaten side left and while their cup form has improved with recent wins against Bracknell and Telford, they lost four of their first 5 games in the competition and are now in a position of needing to win most of their remaining games in order to move on to the quarter-finals.
Wildcats and Bison have met once so far this season, also in the cup, with the Wildcats taking the points in a 5-2 win. But Bison’s recent run of form sees them on a 10 game winning streak and their confidence will be high that they can reverse that result on Saturday.

In Group B, Sunday sees Peterborough travel to Hull. The Phantoms and Pirates have already met twice in the cup and both have a home win from it. Prior to last weekend, that loss to Hull was Peterborough’s only competitive defeat this season and they reversed that and more a few weeks later with a high-scoring 11-6 win on home ice. Phantoms recovered well from the league loss to London on Saturday by beating Swindon in regulation on Sunday. The Pirates meanwhile have struggled to put any kind of run of form together and will be disappointed with their current mid-table league position which sees them in 5th place, although they do have games in hand on the teams above them. Their all-brit and mostly-local squad is not one to be taken lightly though and this could be another competitive game.

Our final cup game is in Group C as Streatham travel to Invicta, where the qualifying teams have already been decided and only the order of the top two remains in doubt. While not quite a dead rubber, Invicta are already out of the competition and will have their focus primarily on getting as good a position as possible in the league. For Streatham, bragging rights of the top spot in the cup group are still in play and they will want to continue their excellent form in this competition which sees them on maximum points so far with 5 wins from 5. But having said all of that, don’t expect Invicta to roll over… the rivalry between these two sides goes back for years and there is nothing Mos fans would enjoy more than spoiling the Redhawks perfect cup form.


Fixture information​
Saturday
17:30 London Raiders vs Streatham (NIHL1)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Telford Tigers (National Cup)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Swindon Wildcats (National Cup)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Milton Keynes Thunder (NIHL1)

Sunday
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Streatham IHC (National Cup)
17:30 Hull Pirates vs Peterborough Phantoms (National Cup)
18:00 Telford Tigers vs Bracknell Bees (National Cup)
18:30 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)


482days will be checking out Bracknell’s live stream on Saturday will have live updates from there. We’re still considering our options for Sunday, but we may just have a weekend off travelling. We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

NIHL1 National Cup Group B

NIHL1 National Cup Group C

NIHL1 National Cup Group D

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 10th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

Last weekend was a big one at the top of NIHL South 2, as the Oxford City Stars downed the previously unbeaten Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms to take over at the top of the table. Both sides now have a 7-1 record and sit on 14 points. Chasing them hard are surprise package Guildford on 12, Solent on 11 and Bracknell on 10, with the Berkshire side having won 5 out of 5 so far. Also unbeaten are Chelmsford who have played just three games to date.

This weekend sees a mammoth nine games in NIHL South 2 with all 14 teams in action over the course of the weekend. On Saturday, big hitters Chelmsford, Solent, Oxford and Bracknell will try to knock off Bristol, Invicta, Haringey and Cardiff respectively; while at the other end of the table, Slough host Lee Valley and Swindon welcome Basingstoke.

Sunday sees a big clash between Guildford, currently sitting pretty in 3rd in their first season in the league, and leaders Oxford, while Peterborough will look to bounce back from their first league defeat in over a year as they welcome Swindon. Finally, there is a London derby to savour as Lee Valley play host to Haringey.

Saturday

Bristol Pitbulls vs Chelmsford Chieftains

While some teams in NIHL2 have played as many as nine games this season, former NIHL1 dominators Chelmsford (3 wins, 6 points) have played just three games thus far – winning all three. After comfortable wins over Swindon and Invicta, the Chieftains had a tougher task last time out as they won 5-2 on the road at Solent. Netminder Sonny Phillips stood on his head while import Filip Supa scored his 7th and 8th goals of the season. The Chieftains are missing the suspended Grant Bartlett – twin brother Cameron can now play again after having his six game ban reduced to one on appeal – but nonetheless still look a strong side.

Bristol (1 win/5 losses, 2 points) have somewhat surprisingly struggled so far this season; a last-minute opening day win over Slough has been followed by five consecutive defeats. The roster is identical to last season’s, in which the Pitbulls were one of the best sides in the NIHL South 2 (West) division, but that continuity hasn’t led to success on the ice just yet in this season’s much tougher NIHL South 2. Player coach Richard Hargreaves will need to use all his experience and nous to get a result for his team against a strong Chelmsford side.

This will be another tough one for the Pitbulls, and the Chieftains have to be considered heavy favourites here. There is enough firepower in this Chelmsford side for them to most likely achieve a comfortable victory.

Don’s Prediction: Bristol 2-8 Chelmsford
Laurence’s Prediction: Bristol 3-7 Chelmsford

Solent Devils vs Invicta Mustangs

Solent (5 wins/1 regulation loss/1 OT loss, 11 points) can push themselves up a few places in the league this Saturday from their current position in fourth place, but standing in their way of another two points are Invicta (2 wins/6 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 5 points), who have been battling hard for points.

Invicta had a rough couple of games in October when they lost heavily to Oxford City and Bracknell, but otherwise they have played respectably well against the other top teams such as Peterborough and Guildford. But the Mustangs’ only points this season have come against Cardiff, Swindon and Slough, who are all ranked below Invicta in the league table. Last Sunday, Invicta took on Guildford away and found themselves down 3-0 after half an hour of play. Michael Stokes pulled one back for the Mustangs but a minute later Guildford restored the three-goal lead. Bradley Gutridge scored for Invicta in the third period but Andrew Hemmings’ quick response for Guildford halted any thoughts of a comeback.

Solent, as one of the South 1 teams to drop down this season, have had few troubles this season, as was expected. An overtime loss away to Peterborough and a 5-2 defeat at the hands of another former South 1 club, Chelmsford, have been the sole blemishes on their season. Last Saturday they paid a visit to Lee Valley to play the Lions and went back home with a 12-2 victory. Richard Facey had a seven-point night while Christopher Hocquigny and Rhys McCormick scored a pair of goals each.

Most of last year’s South 2 clubs have struggled against the former South 1 teams, and it’s been particularly tough for the lower sides. Invicta will have to fight hard just to compete in this game, while for Solent, it’s a chance to continue rolling along in their fight for a league title.

Don’s Prediction: Solent 7-2 Invicta
Laurence’s Prediction: Solent 8-2 Invicta

Haringey Huskies vs Oxford City Stars

After over a month on the road, sixth placed Haringey Huskies (5 wins/3 losses, 10 points) are finally back at home on Saturday, as they welcome league leaders Oxford (7 wins/1 loss, 14 points) to the Palace.

The Huskies have experienced a rollercoaster season to date: 100% of their possible points in September, 0% of their possible points in October, and then a tight win over Bristol to start November. In their games against the bigger sides to date, they were heavily beaten at home 13-2 by Peterborough, before going down narrowly 5-3 on the road to Bracknell. Apart from that, the schedule has mostly been favourable for the North London side. That ends on Saturday as they host high-flying Oxford.

The City Stars sent a big message to the rest of the league last Sunday as they beat Peterborough 7-3, and currently sit top of the table. They will look to add two more points on the road on Saturday against a Huskies side that score a lot of goals, but concede quite a few too. Oxford’s key forwards – Kamil Kinkor, Joe Edwards, Josh Oliver and Darren Elliott – will be tough for Haringey to handle.

In the game against Peterborough last month, the Huskies kept it close in the first period before being blown away in the second and third. And this game could follow a similar pattern – expect the Huskies to start off strongly at home, but once the City Stars hit their stride, they will be very hard to stop.

Don’s Prediction: Haringey 4-9 Oxford
Laurence’s Prediction: Haringey 5-10 Oxford

Slough Jets vs Lee Valley Lions

Lee Valley (0 wins/7 losses, 0 points) will be aiming for their first win of the season on Saturday as they travel to Slough to play the improving Jets (2 wins/7 losses, 4 points).

Last weekend Slough put together a winning streak for the first time this season with a surprise win at home against Cardiff Fire 2, which followed on from their overtime win over Invicta a fortnight before. The Jets were looking for revenge on the Fire, who defeated them 13-5 earlier in the season in Cardiff, and thanks to a hat-trick from Luke Dreelan, a brace from Timo Lindgren and a goal from player-coach Lukas Smital, Slough emerged with a 6-2 victory. But the weekend wasn’t over for the Jets, as they hit the road on Sunday to play Basingstoke Buffalo. Slough’s momentum served them well, as after the two teams traded early goals, the Jets pulled out to a brief 4-2 lead. But that fourth goal was scored with Basingstoke keeper Aaron Craft’s gloves and stick down on the ice. The referee still award the goal, but in a show of good sportsmanship, Slough intentionally allowed the Buffalo to score off the ensuing faceoff. Seven minutes later, Basingstoke scored again to draw level, but Slough retook the lead thanks to Nathan Darmanin. It took the home side just over a minute to respond, and then game looked destined for overtime when Marcus Russell stunned the Jets with a shorthanded goal with 97 second remaining to win the game for the Buffalo.

So as the Jets look to take the positives from an up-and-down weekend, the winless Lee Valley Lions are preparing themselves for a tough match—and hoping they can finally open their account in the league. The Lions have lost all seven games this season, but they have had a difficult schedule and they ran Haringey and Guildford close and played well against Peterborough. Last Sunday was a tough one to take, though, as they hosted Solent and were easily defeated 12-2. Solent outshot the Lions 72 to 22 as Richard Facey led the way for the visitors with four goals and three assists, and Lee Valley remain bottom of the table.

Slough will be favourites in this game, as they have momentum and the crowd will be on their side, but don’t discount the Lions. This will be their most winnable game so far, and they are fighters. Spectators could be in for a very good match.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 7-5 Lee Valley
Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 2-3 Lee Valley

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Basingstoke Buffalo

After being inactive last weekend, Swindon (0 wins/6 losses, 0 points) return to the ice this weekend with a pair of games, the first of which comes at home against Basingstoke (3 wins/5 losses, 6 points).

Swindon have lost all six of their matches this season, and only sit above Lee Valley at the bottom of the table thanks to a better goal difference. The Wildcats haven’t really been competitive in most of their matches so far, with the exception of a one-goal loss to Invicta early in the season and a 6-3 defeat at the hands of Guildford.

Basingstoke, on the other hand, have been rising up the table. After losing their first three games, they have since won three out of their last five, with both losses in that stretch coming against Oxford City Stars. Last Sunday they moved up into eighth place in the league with a 6-5 win over Slough Jets. Daniel Lackey scored a brace and Marcus Russell notched the winning goal with under two minutes left to play.

This weekend against Swindon, the Buffalo will feel confident that they can keep their good form going and pick up another win. For Swindon, the long fight to secure their first win may come to an end with the home support cheering them on, but the odds are against it.

Don’s Prediction: Swindon 3-7 Basingstoke
Laurence’s Prediction: Swindon 4-6 Basingstoke

Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Bracknell Hornets

Cardiff (2 wins/2 losses, 4 points) return to home ice on Saturday, and not a moment too soon after a disastrous road trip. But with the good news comes bad news—their opponents this week are the undefeated Hornets (5 wins/0 losses, 10 points), who sit third in the table.

Cardiff’s season, which got off to such a promising start, is now in dire shape. The Fire defeated Slough by a score of 13-5 and then knocked off Lee Valley, 7-1. But both games were at home, and Cardiff on the road are a completely different team. That proved to be the case in their first trip out of Wales this season, as they lost by the odd goal in five to Invicta. Things got even worse last week as they visited the Jets, and were handily beaten, 6-2.

Now they’re back home, but Cardiff are not playing lower sides like Slough and Lee Valley this week, they’re taking on former South 1 side Bracknell. The Hornets have eased through their schedule so far, most notably picking up a 9-6 win over Oxford, who currently top the table. Perhaps the main reason that Bracknell are only third is that they’ve played less games than other sides above them—in fact, they haven’t been in action since 14 October.

Bracknell’s long absence from league competition may have made them a bit rusty and that could play into Cardiff’s hands. And with the home crowd behind them, Cardiff will feel that they have a few things going their way in this game. But although an upset could be on the cards, there’s no doubt that Bracknell are still favourites in this game.

Don’s Prediction: Cardiff 5-8 Bracknell
Laurence’s Prediction: Cardiff 5-8 Bracknell

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions vs Haringey Huskies

Both the Lions and the Huskies are in action again on Sunday, as they contest the second London derby of the season. The first meeting this season back in September saw Haringey emerge as 8-7 winners, as Stephen Woodford’s four goals for the Huskies cancelled out Ben Duffy’s Lions hat trick.

The Lions are still yet to win a game this campaign (unless they beat Slough the night before) but the schedule has not been kind to them, with a lot of games so far against strong opposition. Now they hit a run of games in which they can think about picking up some points. And a win against their biggest rivals would be a perfect way to inject some life into their season, especially after that bitter 8-7 defeat to start the campaign.

As previously mentioned, the Huskies have had an up and down season to date. So the question really is: which Haringey will show up? With dangerous forwards such as Stephen Woodford, Daniel Clayton and Stuart Appleby in their ranks, at the very least we can expect goals out of this Haringey side.

On paper, the Huskies should win this one. But Lee Valley always raise their game when up against Haringey sides, and this game should be no different. This one should be closer than the league table suggests – don’t rule out a Lions win.

Don’s Prediction: Lee Valley 5-4 Haringey (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Lee Valley 2-4 Haringey

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

If Swindon can’t pick up their first win of the season on Saturday against Basingstoke, they do have another chance this weekend for some points—but in order to secure those points they must complete the Herculean task of defeating second-place Peterborough (7 wins/1 loss, 14 points) on the road.

Peterborough have been brilliant so far this season, scoring three goals for every one they concede and compiling an undefeated record—up until last weekend. It was then that the Phantoms finally stumbled as they hosted Oxford City Stars and were defeated 7-3. Although Peterborough actually outshot the Stars, Oxford took advantage of their opportunities, taking a 4-0 lead after 22 minutes and then easing their way to victory.

The Phantoms will be looking to bounce back, and hosting a poor Swindon side who will have played the day before is exactly what they would have wanted. This could be a long night for the Wildcats.

Don’s Prediction: Peterborough 16-1 Swindon
Laurence’s Prediction: Peterborough 10-1 Swindon

Oxford City Stars vs Guildford Phoenix

An expected front runner takes on a surprise package on Sunday, as league leaders Oxford host the Guildford Phoenix (6 wins/2 losses, 12 points), newcomers to the league this season. The Phoenix currently lie third in the table behind just Oxford and Peterborough, on 12 points after winning six of their eight games so far.

The City Stars have won seven of eight games so far, and will be expected to have extended their lead at the top of the table away at Haringey the previous night. Their big 7-3 win over Peterborough last Sunday laid down a marker to the rest of the league, and Oxford will want to keep up that strong form with two wins this weekend. Czech import Kamil Kinkor is the leading goalscorer in the league to date, with 13 goals in eight matches, while the trio of Josh Oliver, Joe Edwards and Darren Elliott have all hit 10 each.

Guildford graduated to senior hockey this season, and have made a dream start to life in NIHL2, sitting in 3rd ahead of this weekend. One of their two losses to date came to Oxford, however, and Guildford’s early season schedule has been quite kind to them in terms of the opponents they have faced. A tougher run of games follows – away trips to Oxford, Bracknell and Chelmsford are all to come this month – but the Phoenix already have 12 big points on the board. Their standout players so far have been Bailey Wootton, who has eight goals in eight games, and Josh Abbott with 6+5=11 to date.

Oxford can be expected to win this one, with the firepower and experience they have in their team likely to be too much for a young Guildford side. However it should be closer than Oxford’s 7-1 win over the same opponents back in September.

Don’s Prediction: Oxford 9-5 Guildford
Laurence’s Prediction: Oxford 7-5 Guildford


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Chelmsford Chieftains
17:00 Solent Devils vs Invicta Mustangs
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Oxford City Stars
18:00 Slough Jets vs Lee Valley Lions
18:15 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Basingstoke Buffalo
18:30 Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Bracknell Hornets

Sunday
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Haringey Huskies
17:30 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats
18:15 Oxford City Stars vs Guildford Phoenix


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL1 games? You can find the NIHL1 South weekend preview HERE.


482days Expert Prediction Competition (after week 9)

Don: 42pts
Laurence: 40pts

Our experts get 1 point for every correct result, and 3 points if they predict the exact score. (Although as they say: prediction is a mug’s game…)

Posted in Weekend Preview