Category: Weekend Preview

October 20th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

Last weekend saw five games in NIHL South 2, and while two of them were close, three other games proved just what a gulf in class there is between the “haves and the have nots” in the league this season. Guildford beat Haringey by the narrow score of 3-1 and, while Solent beat Slough 6-2 on the road, the Jets were leading 2-1 until the halfway point against a strong Devils side before conceding five on the bounce. Meanwhile there were three big home wins for Bracknell (10-3 against Swindon), Oxford (14-1 against Invicta) and Peterborough (15-0 against the aforementioned Slough).

Time will tell whether this weekend offers more of the same, or whether there will be more competitive games to enjoy. Probably the pick of Saturday’s ties sees Solent travel to face the Bristol Pitbulls in Oxford. Bristol ran Peterborough very close in their last encounter, a 3-4 defeat, so could be dangerous opponent for the Devils. Additionally, Basingstoke will host Oxford, hoping to keep the score down against a very strong looking City Stars side; Slough welcome Invicta in what could be a crucial tie in the lower reaches of the table; winless Swindon host Guildford who have a 3-2 record; and another winless side, the Lee Valley Lions, travel to Cardiff to challenge a Fire side who have only played one game this season, winning 13-5 at home against Slough.

Less than 24 hours later, Lee Valley are back in action at home in Sunday’s only game, playing host to a Peterborough side that has scored 28 goals and conceded only two in their last two games. The Phantoms will look to stay top of the table and take another convincing win.

Saturday

Bristol Pitbulls vs Solent Devils

Bristol welcome Solent to the Oxford Ice Rink as the Devils (3 wins/1 OT loss, 7 points) look to make it three wins on the bounce. The Pitbulls (1 win/2 losses, 2 points), on the other hand, have struggled a bit so far this season and have only picked up two points—but they have played less games than all but two other clubs.

Bristol seem to be a tough team to figure out. Last season they finished second in the South 2 (West) and have returned an identical team for this season. But in their season opener they barely beat Slough, winning with just three seconds left, and they lost their next two games. With that said, although they were beaten comprehensively by Oxford City, they played well against Peterborough, losing just 4-3 in an even contest. Just how good or bad the Pitbulls are may take a few more games to decipher, but a win against Solent would boost their spirits.

And a win might not be as difficult as it seems after a quick look at the league table. Solent may have three wins, but two of those came against winless Lee Valley and Slough. Their sole loss was against Peterborough, which like Bristol, they lost by one goal in a tight match. Still, Solent’s results read better than Bristol’s although the Devils may be caught off guard after two such easy matches against the Lions and Jets, and Bristol do have home ice, even if it is only a temporary home. This game could go either way.

Don’s Prediction: Bristol 8-7 Solent (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Bristol 3-5 Solent

Slough Jets vs Invicta Mustangs

Saturday’s clash between Slough Jets (6 losses, 0 points) and Invicta Mustangs (1 win/5 losses, 2 points) will be a battle between two struggling sides who are both looking to recover from dismal performances on Sunday. The Mustangs visited the Oxford City Stars and were sent home licking their wounds following a 14-1 thrashing—and the Jets fared even worse against Peterborough Phantoms as they were shut out, 15-0.

The Peterborough loss wasn’t Slough’s only match last weekend, nor was it their only loss. The Jets hosted Solent on Saturday and lost 6-2 although they did lead 2-1 halfway through the game. Coupled with defeat at Peterborough, the most lopsided results in South 2 so far this season, Slough are now 0-6 on the season. The match against Invicta is one of just four matches Slough could conceivably win before New Year’s, with the other fixtures coming at home against Lee Valley (11/11), at home against Swindon Wildcats (2/12) and then away to Invicta (6/12).

For the Mustangs, the season has also not gone according to plan but at least they have opened their account in the points department after defeating Swindon a few weeks ago. But in the two games since then they have scored just two goals while conceding 25. Invicta are also in the midst of a long spell with few home games. Saturday’s game will be their third consecutive match on the road, after which they will return Kent to play Cardiff next week before hitting the road again for another three games.

The stakes of this game, then, are as high as they can be for a game so early in the season. A win for Invicta will prove that they are a small cut above teams like Slough, Swindon and Lee Valley, while a victory for Slough will give them some hope of picking up a few wins this season and possibly avoiding a repeat as wooden spoon winners.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 7-6 Invicta
Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 5-6 Invicta

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Guildford Phoenix

New boys Guildford Phoenix (3 wins/2 losses, 6 points) are hanging in there in the top half of the table and Saturday should provide them with a chance for a fairly easy two points as they visit Swindon (4 losses, 0 points).

The Wildcats have lost four out of four and other than a 4-3 loss to Invicta, none of their other games have even been close. Last weekend they visited Bracknell, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead after just four minutes and never looked back, with Josh Ealey-Newman notching a hat-trick and William Stead having a four-point day.

Guildford will take a 3-2 record into Saturday with some good results behind them. After losing their opening match 7-1 to Oxford City, they’ve defeated Lee Valley, Slough and most recently Haringey, with their only loss in that stretch coming at the hands of Basingstoke who beat them five goals to four. Last week against Haringey, Bailey Wootton scored just 45 seconds into the game, although Daniel Peters tied it up in the second period for Haringey. Guildford then scored twice in the final period, courtesy of Joshua Abbott and Scott Greenfield, to secure the win. They shouldn’t have to wait until the third period to put the game away against the Wildcats.

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

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Oxford City Stars

An intriguing tie in Hampshire on Saturday evening sees the Basingstoke Buffalo (2 wins/3 losses, 4 points) welcoming the Oxford City Stars (4 wins/1 loss, 8 points) to Planet Ice Basingstoke. After Oxford’s 14-1 win over the Invicta Mustangs last week, Basingstoke will look to avoid a similar fate and run the City Stars a lot closer in this encounter.

The Buffalo have had a topsy turvy start to the season; a 6-3 opening day win over Haringey was reversed to a 5-0 loss due to a rules breach, and two further defeats followed albeit against tough opponents in Bracknell and Solent. The last two games, against Invicta and Guildford, have both been victories. The Buffalo therefore have a 100% record against “existing” NIHL2 sides, and a 0% record against former NIHL1 sides. Their main scoring threat is undoubtedly Canadian veteran Blair Dubyk, who has five goals and two assists for seven points so far, while Samuel Brooks, Warren Jones and Neil Leary have all hit the five point mark on the season. At the other end of the ice, Aaron Craft has played in net in every game so far, conceding 23 goals.

Oxford’s season has gone as many people would have expected after dropping down from NIHL1: four comfortable wins over teams previously in NIHL2, and a close tie against fellow ex-NIHL1 side Bracknell which the City Stars lost 9-6. Oxford’s last game, a 14-1 demolition of the Invicta Mustangs, saw import Kamil Kinkor bag four goals – bringing him up to nine already on the season, putting him second in the league behind only Haringey’s Stephen Woodford – and former Basingstoke forward Matthew Lawday also scored a hat-trick of his own. Both Joe Edwards and Josh Oliver have already collected 10+ points on the season as Oxford have already bagged 42 goals – only Bracknell have scored more.

The smart money on this tie is for Oxford to walk away with a win, given the offensive firepower in their team and both team’s respective records so far. We can expect Basingstoke to play aggressive ice hockey and put up a good fight, but ultimately anything other than an Oxford win would be very surprising indeed.

Don’s Prediction: Basingstoke 4-8 Oxford
Laurence’s Prediction: Basingstoke 3-9 Oxford

Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Lee Valley Lions

An intriguing tie in South Wales sees the Cardiff NIHL2 Fire (1 win, 2 points) playing host to the Lee Valley Lions (4 losses, 0 points) on Saturday night. The Fire have only played one game, a comfortable 13-5 win over the Slough Jets, while the Lions are yet to win a game this campaign.

Formed in 2015, Cardiff Fire won the NIHL South 2 (West) league title in both of the last two seasons, taking promotion to NIHL1 in the off-season while simultaneously creating a new affiliate team in NIHL2. The division 2 side is a mix of veterans such as Stephen Deacon, Ross Wilkinson, captain Alan Armour and import Robert Sedlak – who all played for last season’s Fire side – and promising young players such as netminder Lewis Davies and forwards Elliott Murdoch, Ben Smith and Sam Mark Smith – all of whom have already experienced NIHL1 action for the senior Fire side this campaign. Their one game so far was a comprehensive 13-5 win over Slough in which both Rhys Harding and Jackson Price picked up hat-tricks, and Sedlak bagged 2+3 on the night.

The Lions travel to Cardiff after a winless campaign so far; a look at their results shows tight 7-8 and 0-2 defeats to Haringey and Guildford alongside 11-1 and 13-4 reverses against Bracknell and Solent. The Lions so far have struggled to field a full side, with injuries and player unavailability meaning coach George Alley has been unable to put his desired line-up on the ice at any time. After starting the season with only four defencemen, the Lions this week announced the addition of former Romford junior Matthew Hamilton to try and help shore up the blueline.

Cardiff is traditionally a tough place to visit, with Slough already experiencing a heavy defeat there this campaign. The Lions will hope to have as many players available as possible for their trip, but even with a full-strength roster it will be tough to topple the Fire who keep several key players from the side that dominated NIHL South 2 (West) last season winning 14 out of 14 games. A win for the Fire is the most likely outcome here.

Don’s Prediction: Cardiff 10-2 Lee Valley
Laurence’s Prediction: Cardiff 7-4 Lee Valley

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

After a long trip to Cardiff, the Lee Valley Lions host table topping Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms (5 wins, 10 points) the very next day. Peterborough won last season’s NIHL South 2 (East) title with a record of 19 wins, 1 tie and 0 losses, and have picked up right where they left off in this campaign too. Following a 6-1 win over Invicta and narrow defeats over Bristol (4-3) and Solent (3-2 in overtime), the last 2 games saw the Phantoms explode with 13-2 and 15-0 wins over Haringey and Slough.

Peterborough have kept almost an identical side compared to last season, and at the moment look like the only existing NIHL2 side that will be able to consistently mix it with the four ex-NIHL1 sides that have joined the division this season. Phantoms captain Clint Herring is on fire with 7+8=15 in the five games to date, while Shaun Yardley, Conor Pollard and Bradley Moore have all passed 10 points already and the other Pollard brother, Nathan, has 6+3=9. Netminder Dan Lane has only conceded eight goals in five games so far, and is protected by a strong defence featuring the likes of Robert McDonald and Jonathan Brammall in front of him.

The Lions, as mentioned above, are winless so far this campaign and will hope to have taken their first win the previous evening in Cardiff. Whatever the result in Wales, this tie against Peterborough will be an extremely tough one for the East London side, especially playing on back to back days. If they are to get anything out of the game, it will likely come from captain and top scorer Nick Alley who has notched 2+2=4 in just two games to date. Their other top scorer Ben Duffy (3+1=4 in three games) is out for an unknown length of time with a back injury.

After seeing what Peterborough did to Haringey and Slough – teams on the same kind of level as the Lions – the goal for Lee Valley in this game really has to be to keep the score as low as possible. Keeping the Phantoms underneath 10 goals would be a good achievement, especially with the Lions coming off a long road trip the previous night.

Don’s Prediction: Lee Valley 1-12 Peterborough
Laurence’s Prediction: Lee Valley 2-9 Peterborough


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Solent Devils
18:00 Slough Jets vs Invicta Mustangs
18:15 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Guildford Phoenix
18:30 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Oxford City Stars
18:30 Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Lee Valley Lions

Sunday
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms


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 6)

Don: 30pts
Laurence: 28pts

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

October 20th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

We’ve got 6 games to look at this weekend, 4 in the league, 1 in the National cup and 1 in the Autumn Cup. Plus a look ahead to a rare midweek fixture in the National Cup.

League action

Saturday sees the top two in the league face off against each other as Swindon travel to the fens to take on Peterborough. Peterborough will stay top of the league this weekend, regardless, but a Swindon win would see them brought back to within a point or less of the chasing pack. Both teams are coming into the game with an 8-game winning streak in all competitions and it could be a doozy of a game finding out which team can take the streak to 9. The teams have yet to meet in a competitive fixture, but did play a pre-season 2-game challenge series. Phantoms won both, but Swindon will be keen to overturn that result by taking the points when it matters.

London and Bracknell face each other for the first time this season on Saturday in Lee Valley. Bracknell have had a strong start to their league season with five wins from six so far and only dropping points to Peterborough so far. Bees’ top line pairing of Thompson and Bakrlik are still firing on all cylinders with over 3 points a game each in league play and secondary scoring from the likes of Norcliffe and Best is also starting to come through. London are currently sitting on 500 hockey in the league with wins against MK and Cardiff and losses to Basingstoke and Swindon.  Surprisingly, Huska has been relatively quiet in the league, with just one goal to his name so far (although he’s over a  goal  game in the cup) and he’ll want to show he can score freely against a big four side as well.  Bracknell undoubtedly go into this game as favourites, but I have a sneaking suspicion that London could pull a surprise and get something out of this.

Bracknell then host Invicta on Sunday in what is again a first meeting between the sides. Invicta grabbed their second OT win of the season last week in a low-scoring thriller against MK, having equalised with less than 3 minutes left in regulation and will be buoyed up both by that victory and in welcoming Ashley Jackson back to the team. Based on my twitter feed immediately after his release from Basingstoke and then a few hours later when his return was confirmed, he’ll be welcomed back with open arms by the Mos’ fans – and with good reason! Jackson and Rehaks’ partnership last season was one of the best in the league and both seem to bring out the best in each other. Add in the likely return to the team for Callum Fowler after a weekend away and I suspect Bees will find this a tougher fixture than the form book would suggest.

The final league game sees Streatham host Basingstoke in South London.  Basingstoke have yet to drop a point in league play, although this hasn’t stopped coach Doug Sheppard from tinkering with his team again this week: releasing Ashley Jackson, who scored against Streatham in last weekends 5-2 home win. Streatham will be without their first choice netminder for this weekend as Colclough received a match penalty for fighting against Peterborough on Sunday and is ruled out for both their fixtures this weekend (plus next Saturday’s clash against MK). This could be a tough game for the Redhawks.

National Cup action
Saturday sees Invicta host Streatham for the first meeting between these two old rivals this season. Streatham currently sit at the top of the cup group with 3 wins from 3 over local rivals London while Mos are looking for their first cup points having lost both of their games against the Raiders. I wouldn’t take this as too much of a form guide though as Invicta-Streatham games are rarely predictable! As mentioned above, Streatham will be without the services of NM Colclough and will also be missing Jordan Gregory who will serve the second of his 2-match ban. Perhaps more worryingly have failed to score more than 2 goals in a game this month so far in their 5 back to back losses, a surprising statistic for me given the firepower they have in the team. Invicta meanwhile broke their own 5 game losing streak on Sunday with that OT win away at MK and will be looking to push on again in this game and grab a first home win since their other OT thriller against Swindon. These two teams have built up a great rivalry across the seasons, trading wins and losses on a regular basis in the last few years. This should be another great game, but one I think Invicta will take.

We also have a rare midweek game to look ahead to as Telford travel to Swindon for a 7:45pm face off on Wednesday.  This will be the 4th game between these sides already, having already met once in this competition as well as twice in the Autumn cup last weekend. Swindon have taken all the points on offer so far and have limited Telford to just one goal in each game, so they will likely go into this as the favourites.

Autumn Cup action
Hull make the long trek to Swindon on Sunday for our only Autumn cup game this weekend. Swindon currently top the group following their back to back win against Telford this weekend.  Pirates, have had a mixed bag of results so far – they have beaten ex-EPL opponents like Peterborough and Sheffield but have had their scalps taken by old-NIHL1 North teams with league losses to Solihull (twice, both in OT) and Blackburn. Hull have gone with a no-import roster this season and have focused mainly on local talent, with about half of the squad having played in the Kingston junior system at some point. Of course, when this includes ex-GB senior players like Matty Davies and Jason Hewitt and a plethora of players who have played GB at U20 level, that’s still a pretty good team!
Hull start their Autumn cup campaign on Saturday with a game against Telford, if they win that game Swindon will go into Sunday’s game knowing they have already qualified for the semi-final stage and Hull will know that a win will also put them through and Telford out.


Fixture information​
Saturday
17:30 London Raiders vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)
18:00 Invicta Dynamos vs Streatham IHC (NIHL National Cup)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Swindon Wildcats (NIHL1)

Sunday
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Hull Pirates (Autumn Cup)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)

Wednesday
19:45 Swindon Wildcats vs Telford Tigers (NIHL National Cup)


482days will have live twitter updates from Peterborough on Saturday. Sunday we are having a night off, but we’ll still have updates from all the games across the South. We’re also toying with the idea of attending Swindon’s midweek cup game on Wednesday. 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
NIHL1 Autumn Cup Group 2

 

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 13th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

Last weekend saw seven games in NIHL South 2, with both Peterborough and Bracknell beating Haringey to remain unbeaten on the season. Peterborough demolished the Huskies 13-2 at the Alexandra Palace on Saturday, while Bracknell, missing import forward Sean Scarbrough, had it tougher at home on Sunday against the North London side but eventually came out 5-3 winners. The weekend also saw controversy in Chelmsford, as the Chieftains’ big 11-1 win over Invicta saw a total of 176 penalty minutes handed out – most of them for an incident in the 10th minute of the game involving seven players, including goaltenders from both sides.

This weekend sees five more games on the schedule, with the aforementioned Peterborough and Bracknell both looking to extend their unbeaten starts to the season. And you wouldn’t bet against them doing it either, as Bracknell host Swindon on Saturday and Peterborough face Slough on Sunday – neither Swindon or Slough have scored a point yet this season.

Saturday also sees Guildford, who have an even spread of two wins and two defeats on the season thus far, hosting Haringey who will look to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing results; while Slough will play their first game of the weekend as they host a Solent Devils side who beat Lee Valley 13-4 last weekend. Sunday will also see Oxford, who have three wins in four games so far, hosting the Invicta Mustangs who have just one win in five.

Saturday

Guildford Phoenix vs Haringey Huskies

In perhaps one of the most intriguing games of the weekend, two new sides to the league this season square off at the Spectrum as the Guildford Phoenix host the Haringey Huskies. The Phoenix, an evolution of the very successful Guildford junior programme, have a 2-2 record on the season thus far, having beaten Lee Valley and Slough but suffered defeats at the hands of Oxford and Basingstoke. Haringey are technically 3-3 on the season, although Basingstoke were forced to forfeit their 6-3 win over the Huskies due to a rules breach and thus the table shows the North Londoners with a 4-2 record.

Guildford have built an impressive team packed full of current or former Guildford juniors, with many experienced players in the ranks who have played in NIHL1 or even the EPL. Their main threat so far has been former Lee Valley Lions, London Raiders and Invicta Dynamos forward Bailey Wootton, with four goals on the season so far; while Oliver Denis (three) and Josh Abbott (two) have also scored more than once. At the other end of the ice, Sam Calder has been in net for three games, conceding 17 goals; while Harry Buckingham was in net for the 2-0 win at Lee Valley and was awarded Man of the Match on the night after keeping a shutout. The Phoenix will be missing Monty Gailer who has picked up a two match ban following s match penalty against Slough.

Haringey started the season with a bang, following the aforementioned Basingstoke game with three high-scoring wins over Lee Valley, Invicta and Swindon. But last weekend brought them back down to earth with a bang, as they conceded 18 and scored just five in two defeats to Bracknell and Peterborough. Stephen Woodford, voted September’s NIHL South 2 Player of the Month, was kept quiet in both those games as he tallied just one assist. The Huskies will need him to fire against Guildford to give themselves a good chance of winning.

This really is a fascinating game and is very difficult to call. Guildford have a lot of experience in the side, as do Haringey, and both sides can be expected to play aggressively and score goals. This should be a high scoring affair that really could go either way.

Don’s Prediction: Guildford 5-6 Haringey
Laurence’s Prediction: Guildford 7-5 Haringey

Slough Jets vs Solent Devils

Slough Jets will have two attempts to pick up their first win of the season this weekend, with the first opportunity coming on Saturday at home against Solent, who sit fifth in the South 2 table.

Slough come into the game after another frustrating loss last weekend to Guildford Phoenix as a furious Jets rally fell just short in a 7-5 loss. Guildford were deadly on the power play in the first period, scoring on a 5-on-3 and then 18 seconds later adding another with on just the one man advantage. Slough’s Timo Lindgren drew Slough level with a pair of goals, as both times his secured a floating puck and wristed it home. But Guildford were then given another power play and scored just six seconds in, after which Slough imploded for the remainder of the first period—they trailed 5-2 after 16 minutes. But the Jets gradually fought their way back into the game, scoring twice in a fairly even second period, while the Phoenix added a sixth goal. Slough then dominated the final period of the game. Lindgren scored his fourth goal and player-coach Lukas Smital, with just minutes left, rocketed a shot off the post which could have tied the game. In the final minute, Guildford sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.

Solent, on the other hand, will travel to Slough with momentum after a dominant 13-4 victory over Lee Valley Lions, although it may be a worry for Solent that goalie Christian Cole allowed four goals despite facing just 15 shots. But Solent are not lacking in scoring firepower. Richard Facey and Sam Rudkin both scored hat-tricks, with Facey adding four assists. Andrew Campbell had a six-point day with two goals. And Solent have been consistently good, defeating Basingstoke 4-2 and narrowly losing away to Peterborough. The Jets can take some positives from their loss to Guildford and they have proved that they will fight to the end and can come back from a heavy deficit, but Solent should be the far more confident team coming into this game.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 3-7 Solent
Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 2-10 Solent

Bracknell Hornets vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Saturday’s third match looks to be more similar in nature to the Slough-Solent affair than the potentially back-and-forth match between Guildford and Haringey. In this match, the undefeated Bracknell Hornets look to apply their sting to the clawless Swindon Wildcats 2.

Swindon have lost all three of their games so far, including a 10-2 thrashing at the hands of Haringey and a 13-4 humiliation against Chelmsford. They fought hard last weekend against the winless Invicta Mustangs, but it was the Kent side that picked up the points with a 4-3 victory. Now the Wildcats will travel to Bracknell to face a cruising Hornets team.

Bracknell, having dropped down from South 1 after last season, have proven to be a cut above much of their opposition. They demolished Basingstoke and Lee Valley in their first two games, scoring 21 goals and surrendering just four. They then played another former South 1 team, Oxford City Stars, and sent the Stars away empty-handed with a three-goal victory. Last weekend they put up their most tame performance, defeating Haringey by the modest score of 5-3—but leading goalscorer Sean Scarbrough was not playing. The Hornets will be anxious to hit the ice against Swindon in what should be another lopsided score and if Scarbrough is on the ice again, the Wildcats could be in for a very long evening.

Don’s Prediction: Bracknell 12-1 Swindon
Laurence’s Prediction: Bracknell 12-1 Swindon

Sunday

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Slough Jets

There are still four undefeated teams in the Wilkinson division—Peterborough Phantoms, Bracknell Hornets, Chelmsford Chieftains and Cardiff Fire 2—but it is the Phantoms who sit top of the table, and they have every reason to believe they will be staying there after this weekend.

Peterborough play host to Slough, who will have played the evening before in what promises to be a tough match against Solent. Peterborough will have had plenty of time to rest up from last weekend’s match—a 13-2 triumph over the Haringey Huskies. There were plenty of Phantoms who piled up big numbers on the scoresheet in the game, but Conor Pollard shone brightest, scoring four goals and picking up a pair of assists. Captain Clint Herring and Nathan Pollard each scored hat-tricks as well and James Pentecost proved to be a spark in the game, notching six assists. Haringey mustered just 21 shots and all told, it was pretty easy for Peterborough.

They now have four wins on the season, while the Jets, as mentioned above, have none coming into the weekend and likely will lose on Saturday as well. If Slough can put together a good showing against Solent, Peterborough may have something to worry about, as the Phantoms narrowly defeated Solent in overtime just a few weeks ago. But even should the Jets run Solent close, the game would likely take too much out of Slough to really complete in this game. Expect Peterborough to remain top of the league.

Don’s Prediction: Peterborough 14-4 Slough
Laurence’s Prediction: Peterborough 11-1 Slough

Oxford City Stars vs Invicta Mustangs

Oxford, one of four sides to drop down from NIHL1 to NIHL2 in the off-season, have got off to a strong start in South 2 winning three of four games; their only loss coming at Bracknell, a fellow former NIHL1 side. The other three games saw big wins for the Stars as they won 7-1, 7-2 and 8-2 against Guildford, Bristol and Slough respectively. The Mustangs, meanwhile, have found the start of the season tough; a narrow 4-3 win over the Swindon Wildcats is their only victory of the season to date, with defeats to Peterborough, Haringey, Basingstoke and Chelmsford giving them a 1-4 record.

Oxford have largely kept the core of their team together for many years now, with names such as Joe Edwards, Dax Hedges, “Mr Oxford” Darren Elliott, Josh Oliver and the Florey brothers Jake and Josh all mainstays in the side. This gives them good continuity and, coupled with some key signings such as experienced defencemen Alexander Staples and Stewart Tait, and Czech import Kamil Kinkor – who has been on fire thus far with five goals and seven assists for 12 points – making them one of the title favourites. They will be expected to dispatch the Mustangs this weekend.

The Mustangs are another side who has kept the core of their team together for a while; names such as Michael Stokes (their top scorer so far with six points), Thomas Dennis, James Laming and Jake Luton have been associated with the Mustangs for quite a few years now. Anthony Baskerville and Bradley Gutridge have also returned this season after spells with the Invicta Dynamos in NIHL1. However despite that continuity, the season has not gone that well for them thus far. Granted, the losses to Peterborough and Chelmsford were maybe to be expected, but the Mustangs would have liked to have taken at least some points off Haringey and Basingstoke.

Oxford can be expected to win this game, with their offensive firepower and defensive stability likely proving too much for a Mustangs side that have scored 14 and conceded 32 in their five games to date. Of course, Invicta could spring a surprise, but the smart money would be on an Oxford home win here.

Don’s Prediction: Oxford 12-4 Invicta
Laurence’s Prediction: Oxford 6-3 Invicta


Fixture information

Saturday
17:30 Guildford Phoenix vs Haringey Huskies
18:00 Slough Jets vs Solent Devils
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Sunday
17:30 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Slough Jets
18:15 Oxford City Stars vs Invicta Mustangs


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 5)

Don: 26pts
Laurence: 23pts

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

October 13th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

We’ve got 8 games to look at this weekend, 5 in the league, 1 in the National cup and 2 in the Autumn Cup.

League action
Peterborough return to league duty after a weekend off for some cup games and will be looking to regain their spot at the top of the league. So far they have refused their league opponents a single point across their 5 games so far, they will want to continue that great form against Invicta and Streatham – their opponents this weekend. With Swindon in double-cup action and Bracknell only playing once, two more wins would see them go at least 2 points clear.
Invicta and Streatham will be looking to put a blot on that perfect record. The Mos are yet to play the Phantoms and will be buoyed after giving a good account of themselves last weekend against title contenders Basingstoke. Their squad still seems a little light on numbers to me with only 3 lines and 2 NMs signed at the moment. In this league, depth is going to play a key factor in the final league positions. Having said that, sometimes a small but tightly knit squad can also pull together and cause shocks. Streatham and Peterborough have met already in the reverse of Sunday’s fixture where the Phantoms were 5-2 winners. Redhawks will have Ryan Watt back in the line-up and new signing Jamie Hayes was also starting to show touches of his old self (although perhaps still a little rusty). Peterborough will go into both games and favourites, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are made to work for the points!

It will be a tough weekend for Streatham all told though as they will also travel to title hopefuls Basingstoke (and the only other team not to have given any league points away yet) on the Saturday. Basingstoke are also unbeaten in the league, and their mid-table position reflects their lack of league action so far rather than their form in that competition. Basingstoke have already made their first big squad change as it was announced this week that they have released Jaro Cesky in favour of fellow Czech Roman Malinik (last seen in the UK playing for the now-defunct Manchester Phoenix).

Also on Saturday, Cardiff travel to London for a game against the Raiders. Cardiff strengthened last weekend with the addition of NM Jordan Lawday and the return of some of their key players from injury. They still lost to both Bracknell and Swindon, but the margins are getting smaller and hopefully they can close the gap a bit more. The good news is that the team seem to be keeping their heads up and getting a great fighting spirit going (at least from what I have seen of players’ social media). Hosts London also had a tough weekend with losses to both Swindon and Basingstoke and will want to bounce back from that. With both teams having Sunday off, there will be no excuse not to go 100% for the full game and this could be a cracker.

Our final league game this weekend sees Invicta (with an away double-header), travel to Milton Keynes. The two sides met on the first day of the season in a pretty even game that saw MK bagging the winner just 3 minutes from time to take it 3-2. Dynamos had a much improved performance last Sunday, taking the game to Basingstoke and although they didn’t win had their fans going home a lot happier than the weekend before. MK meanwhile took an important 2 points in a 3-1 win against Streatham and will be looking to build further on that to consolidate their position in the top half of the table.

National Cup action
Just the one game in the National Cup this weekend as Basingstoke travel the short distance to the Hive to face Bracknell. This is the 3rd meeting in the cup group between the teams so far this season with the series currently tied at 1-1 (although Bees have the advantage in goal difference at the moment). A win for Bracknell will lift them into the qualification places, while a win for Basingstoke will at least put them on level points with Swindon and Telford. The Bisons’ form in this competition so far has been pretty woeful so far, although they have yet to lose a game in the other two competitions. This could be a cracking game.

Autumn Cup action
It’s a double header for Swindon in the Autumn cup this weekend as they take on Telford at home on Saturday and away on Sunday. No The two sides met the 3 weeks ago in Telford for a National Cup game where Swindon took all the points in a 4-1 game. The main talking point that night though was the clash between Toms Rutkis and Jonathan Weaver, leaving Rutkis in hospital requiring an operation with a broken jaw and Weaver suspended. Neither will play this weekend as a result.

With the exception of that game, Telford are unbeaten this season, although Sheffield did take them all the way to penalty shots and both Basingstoke and Billingham got within a goal. Swindon have also been in fine form since that weekend, putting together a string of 6 back to back wins (the Telford game being the second), with only Streatham taking it close in a tight 2-1 game. With the added history of their last meeting adding a little spice, this should be a doozy of a series.


Fixture information​
Saturday
17:30 London Raiders vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Telford Tigers (Autumn Cup Group 2)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)

Sunday
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1 Cup Group D)
18:00 Telford Tigers vs Swindon Wildcats (Autumn Cup Group 2)
18:30 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1)


482days will have live twitter updates from Swindon on Saturday and Milton Keynes on Sunday. 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
NIHL1 National Cup Group B
NIHL1 Autumn Cup Group 2

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 6th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

The NIHL South 2 season well and truly roared into life on the fourth weekend of competition, as Swindon and Chelmsford joined the party – meaning that all fourteen teams have now played at least one game. Saturday saw Haringey make it eight points out of eight on the season with a win over the aforementioned Swindon, while Sunday saw wins for Guildford over Lee Valley; Peterborough in an overtime thriller against Solent; Oxford over Slough; Basingstoke against Invicta; and Chelmsford who put 13 goals past Swindon.

This weekend sees seven more games, as the Haringey Huskies take centre stage with two big ties: firstly at home to last season’s treble winners Peterborough who have three wins from three this season, before a trip to another undefeated team on Sunday, the Bracknell Hornets.

There are five more games for us to sink our teeth into this weekend. On Saturday, the Solent Devils look to bounce back from their OT defeat to Peterborough as they play host to winless Lee Valley; Invicta host Swindon with both sides looking for their first win; and Slough play their first home game of the season against Guildford. In addition to Haringey’s trip to Bracknell, Sunday also sees Guildford at home to Basingstoke, and Chelmsford host their first home game of the season against Invicta.

Saturday

Solent Devils vs Lee Valley Lions

After finishing sixth in NIHL South 1 last season, the Solent Devils made the drop to South 2 for this campaign, and their start to the season has seen them take three points from a possible four, with a 4-2 win over the Basingstoke Buffalo being followed by a 2-3 OT defeat to last season’s NIHL South 2 (East) champions Peterborough.

The Devils have scored six goals so far, with Canadian import Drew Campbell and alternate captain Richard Facey bagging two each, while Mark Pitts and player-coach Alex Murray have each tallied one. Former Guildford and Oxford junior William Crossley has two assists. At the other end of the ice they have conceded five goals, with star netminder Christian “Chico” Cole posting a .915 save percentage on the season thus far.

The Lions have had it tough so far in the league. An 8-7 loss to London rivals Haringey was followed by an expected 11-1 defeat at home to Bracknell, but last Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat to Guildford was disappointing for the team; they were able to ice three full lines for the first time this season, but were unable to beat Guildford’s young netminder Harry Buckingham. More bad news came following the game – Ben Duffy, who has scored three of the team’s eight league goals this season to date, fractured two vertebrae after a hit from former Lions defenceman Henry Aiken, so looks like he will miss significant time this season. More scoring responsibility will thus fall on the shoulders of captain Nick Alley and fellow forwards Chris Fox and Ross Sin-Hidge, all of whom passed 15 league points last season, as well as new recruit Matt Brown.

This game would look to be another tough one for the Lions, visiting a Solent side that is largely unchanged from the one that turned many heads in South 1 last season. If the Devils stick to their gameplan and play a disciplined game, they should walk away from this one with the two points.

Don’s Prediction: Solent 8-4 Lee Valley
Laurence’s Prediction: Solent 5-2 Lee Valley

Invicta Mustangs vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Swindon travel to Kent to play Invicta as both sides look to end their winless starts to the season. Invicta have struggled to an 0-3 start and Swindon, who started their season last weekend, have dropped both of their games so far.

Swindon’s weekend was one to forget, certainly. They started on the road against Haringey Huskies in Saturday’s lone South 2 matchup, and the Wildcats were never in the game. South 2 Player of the Month Stephen Woodford started the final game of September with a goal in the second minute and went on to score a hat-trick. Stuart Appleby notched four goals himself as Swindon netminder Liam Mcguire was pummelled with 61 shots to slip through. Swindon mustered 28 shots on goal, scoring twice on powerplays courtesy of Danial Sullivan and captain Loris Taylor. Swindon had their home opener on Sunday and achieved an even more disappointing result, again allowing 61 shots and losing 13-4 to Chelmsford.

But Swindon will have a chance to put all that behind them on Saturday against Invicta, who have also struggled mightily to start the season. Invicta came close to a win a couple of weeks ago against Haringey, losing but just the odd goal in 11, which would have given them hope last week against a winless Basingstoke. But it was not to be for Invicta, who picked up yet another loss as they were defeated 6-3.

Still, Invicta’s close result against Haringey should provide them with confidence against Swindon, who as mentioned were thrashed 10-2 by the Huskies. Something to watch for on the Wildcats side of the puck will be their goalie. Liam Mcguire, after allowing 10 goals on Saturday, did not play on Sunday and instead Michael Crisp was between the pipes. But regardless of who minds the net for Swindon, Invicta will still be favourites heading into this one.

Don’s Prediction: Invicta 6-4 Swindon
Laurence’s Prediction: Invicta 6-3 Swindon

Haringey Huskies vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

Two teams with their full quota of points meet at the Palace, as Haringey host Peterborough. Haringey actually lost their opening game in Basingstoke, but were awarded the two points due to Basingstoke fielding a suspended player, but since then have won three out of three. The Phantoms have also won three from three, albeit last week’s win over Solent came after OT.

The Huskies have been on scintillating form in their last three matches, scoring a total of 24 goals in wins over Lee Valley, Invicta and Swindon. September’s NIHL South 2 Player of the Month winner Stephen Woodford has been scoring almost for fun, with ten goals and four assists so far, including a “triple triple” of hat-tricks in all of the Huskies’ three wins. However they have not yet faced one of the real front-running teams in the division, so Saturday’s game against Peterborough will be a real test. The Huskies also announced an addition to the roster today: Ricky Rutherford returns to the Palace after three years away from hockey. He is no stranger to Haringey, having iced for the Greyhounds in the ENL (now NIHL) and the Racers in both the EPL and the NIHL. In his last season, with the Racers in 2013-14, he tallied seven goals and four assists for 11 points in 16 games.

The Phantoms dominated last season, winning the treble of the NIHL South 2 (East) league title, the South 2 Cup and the South 2 Playoffs. The team is almost unchanged this campaign, and so far they have won three from three: 6-1 over Invicta, 4-3 against Bristol and a 3-2 OT win over Solent have been their results thus far. The win over Solent was a big statement, showing that the Phantoms are able to compete with – and beat – teams that have dropped down from NIHL South 1. They’ll look to make a further statement in North London on Saturday with a win over the Huskies.

Saturday’s game should be an intense affair, with both sides playing aggressive ice hockey and featuring several big-scoring forwards. Peterborough can be expected to come out with the two points, but the Huskies will likely make the Phantoms work very hard for them.

Don’s Prediction: Haringey 6-5 Peterborough (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Haringey 4-7 Peterborough

Slough Jets vs Guildford Phoenix

Slough’s three-game road trip to start the season will end on Saturday as they return to their temporary ice arena at Montem Lane, Silverblades, to host the Guildford Phoenix. Slough will be looking for their first win of the season, while newly-formed Guildford will be eager to pick up their second win.

Slough head into the weekend after a bruising three games in which they were outscored 26-11, including last weekend’s 8-2 loss to Oxford City Stars. But Slough can take some positives. They only lost to Bristol because of a goal in the final four seconds, and despite their struggles in a 13-5 loss to Cardiff, they were without regular netminder Chris Douglas and they did rally in the second period even though the lead was already out of reach. Player-coach Lukas Smital ended September in the top five categories for goals and points in South 2, and the Jets will hope that he can continue his hot start against the Phoenix.

The men from Guildford travel to Slough with a change to start a winning streak after taking down the Lee Valley Lions on Sunday, 2-0. Guildford may have compiled 87 penalty minutes in the game, but they compensated by firing off nearly as many shots—76. Bailey Wootton and Oliver Denis supplied the goals for the Phoenix as Harry Buckingham stopped 38 shots to pick up a shutout.

Saturday’s game will be a tough one to predict. So early in the season there is little to go off of, and although both sides have played Oxford City, they each lost by six goals so there isn’t much to be taken from those results. But the Jets are hoping for a big show of support at Silverblades and if Smital can stay consistent, the Jets may put an end to their losing streak.

Don’s Prediction: Slough 6-4 Guildford
Laurence’s Prediction: Slough 2-6 Guildford

Sunday

Guildford Phoenix vs Basingstoke Buffalo

Guildford have two games this weekend, and their second will be back at home against Basingstoke. The Buffalo broke their three-game losing streak on Sunday with a win over Invicta and then made a few roster changes.

Basingstoke announced on Tuesday that Daniel Lackey was dropping down from the Bison to the Buffalo in a move that will surely boost the South 2 side. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Sam Brooks is started a formal two-way between the two Basingstoke teams. The news broke just a few days after the Buffalo won for the first time this season as they knocked off Invicta at home, 6-3. Hallam Wilson and Oscar Evans each picked up a pair of goals.

Basingstoke are better than their 1-3 record shows. They only lost to Haringey on a technically, and although the decision is perfectly fair because rules are rules, the Buffalo can still take solace in the fact that on the ice, they won the game. And beating Haringey is not an easy task, as the Huskies are currently the top team in the division. Guildford, who will come into the game having already played against Slough, will need to put in an excellent performance to stop the Buffalo.

Don’s Prediction: Guildford 4-7 Basingstoke
Laurence’s Prediction: Guildford 4-3 Basingstoke

Bracknell Hornets vs Haringey Huskies

A day after hosting unbeaten Peterborough, Haringey travel to another team that is yet to lose, as they take on the Bracknell Hornets at the Hive. The Hornets have scored 30 goals in their three games so far and are looking like title contenders already, while the Huskies will be looking to either build on, or bounce back from, their result against Peterborough the previous evening.

Bracknell have very much enjoyed life in NIHL South 2 thus far after a few tricky seasons in South 1; three wins from three, 30 goals scored and ten conceded – it doesn’t get much better. After expected wins over Basingstoke and Lee Valley, a 9-6 victory at home to Oxford two weeks ago was a big statement against a fellow championship contender. The Hornets are led by experienced forwards Sean Scarbrough (seven goals) and Steve Fisher (five goals), while Will Stead, player-coach Danny Hughes and the Ealey-Newman brothers Ben and Josh have all put up good numbers thus far as well.

The Huskies will once again rely on their main goal threat Stephen Woodford against the Hornets, while Sam Park, Stuart Appleby and Daniel Clayton have also impressed offensively thus far. At the other end of the ice, former Hornets netminder David Wride is one of three keepers on Haringey’s books along with Jussi Lynch Grut and Haringey junior Thomas Adams. It will be interesting to see who gets the start in this one; whoever it is will face a lot of rubber and will need to be on their game.

The Hornets will be expected to win this one and go four from four on the season. But with the offensive firepower in the Haringey ranks, a surprise result can’t be absolutely ruled out. Nonetheless, a Bracknell win would seem to be the most likely result here.

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

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Invicta Mustangs

Chelmsford have only played one game so far this season, securing a dominant 13-4 victory over the lowly Swindon Wildcats. Invicta, on the other hand, will have played four by the time they travel to Essex—they play Swindon on Saturday—and have lost all three completed games. Basingstoke, Haringey and Peterborough have all kept Invicta from getting their first points of the season.

But Invicta are expected to pick up a win against Swindon and if they do, they will come into the clash with the Chieftains with a little momentum—and they’ll need all the momentum they can get. Chelmsford are historically a strong side, and their performance against the Wildcats only solidified the notion that they may be contenders once again this season. Cameron Bartlett got his season off to the perfect start, netting four goals and picking up an assist, while MOTM Filip Supa secured a hat-trick of goals and assists.

However, the Chieftains are a little short on players. They made a few signings before last weekend but that only brought their totals up to 12 forwards and worryingly, only five d-men. But even if the blue liners fatigue early, that still may not be a worry for Chelmsford against Invicta—the Mustangs will have played the day before but Chelmsford will be fresh coming into the game.

Don’s Prediction: Chelmsford 9-4 Invicta
Laurence’s Prediction: Chelmsford 8-4 Invicta


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Solent Devils vs Lee Valley Lions
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms
18:00 Slough Jets vs Guildford Phoenix

Sunday
17:30 Guildford Phoenix vs Basingstoke Buffalo
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Haringey Huskies
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Invicta Mustangs


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 4)

Don: 21pts
Laurence: 17pts

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

October 6th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

Its a league-heavy weekend this week, with 7 of our 9 games in NIHL1 Britton. Only Peterborough miss out on any league play as they have are having a weekend of Northern opposition in the two cup competitions.

League action
We’ll start with taking a look at what has been the most talked about game, certainly on the social media I see: as Streatham take on Milton Keynes in a game which is believed to be the first to feature pride tape in competitive action in the UK. If you want to read a really well considered piece on why this is important for the game and not just a gimmick- read Dave Carr’s excellent article in Pro Hockey News HERE.
For the game itself, I think this will be an intriguing clash. Both teams have a great mix of high energy, hard fore-checking, back-checking players and high-skill, silky-hands, wheels-on-fire players (with a few falling into both categories). Streatham should have Michael Farn back from paternity leave, but we have yet to hear if September player of the month Ryan Watt’s match penalty from Sunday will rule him out. Even without both players, Streatham looked incredibly dangerous in the final period on Sunday but just lacked the final touch (and caught Renny Marr on an exceptional night). With either or both back on the ice, it will be even stronger still.
MK had a great start to the season, with a win against Invicta and grabbing a point from Swindon in the opening weekend. Since then though they have only managed a win against Cardiff and will be looking to push on. In the games I have watched, Rio Grinell-Parke and Tom Carlon have both looked very strong up front and their defence has the excellent Rupert Quiney. Whoever takes the points, here’s hoping for a really positive Pride game between the teams!

Cardiff continue in their tough run of games as they again face ex-EPL teams on both Saturday and Sunday. There was some great news out of the Fire camp today when it was announced that Australian import David manning was now cleared to play and they had a new NM signing as 19 year old GB prospect Jordan Lawday was returning from the US and joining them (and kudos for the Press Release that basically said “we’re still upset with you for stealing our thunder in our first ever home game, but welcome anyway!”). In addition, 3 of their key players are back from injury as Mike Stratford, Sam Smith and Nicky Chinn all return to the side.
Saturday’s opponents, Swindon, have not been finding life against the old NIHL1 teams as easy as they perhaps expected. Taken to overtime against MK, losing in overtime to Invicta and only just scraping over the line despite a barrage at Renny Marr’s net against Streatham last Sunday. Swindon will be looking to match the big scorelines put up by Bracknell and Peterborough to show they should be in the mix for the title as much as any other team. On Sunday, Cardiff host the Fire and will be looking to improve on the 11-1 scoreline from the Hive two weeks ago, while Bracknell will simply want another solid W to consolidate their top 3 spot in the league.

Before that game, Bracknell will host Streatham on Saturday and will want to make sure there are no slip-ups. Their top line of Bakrlik, Thompson and Best continues to fire on all cylinders and scores the vast majority of the Bees’ goals. If Streatham can shut them down, it could be the key to taking the points. Of course, that will be a far from easy job!

London and Basingstoke have a bit of catching up to do in terms of games played in the league, with all but one of their games so far being challenges or in the cup. They play each other on Saturday and both teams will be looking to continue their 100% league record so far. Bison will be clear favourites going into this game, and having had miserable form in the National cup so far will want to start climbing places in the league this weekend.  London, who were quite fancied at the start of the season, have also had some cup woes after losing to local rivals 3 times, although they have had 2 solid win against the Dynamos as well. The team is working hard and does have their moments of brilliance on the ice, but they need to start winning a few more of these close games if they want to start making an impact on the league positions.

Sunday sees Basingstoke travel to Kent for the reverse of the only league game so far. Invicta has a nightmare last weekend, losing 11-1 in the cup to Raiders last Sunday in front of their home crowd. Bison will again be clear favourites, but Invicta will want to put up a strong performance, especially at home, to keep their vociferous crowd happy.  Hopefully, not having played on Saturday will help the small Dynamos squad playing full speed for the whole 60 minutes and give them something to get their heads back up after that loss.

Our final league game sees London host Swindon. As mentioned earlier, against the old-NIHL teams, Swindon have been getting points, but only just! London will definitely fancy getting something out of this to show they can also play with the ‘big boys’. However, they will likely have had the tougher game on the Saturday and I suspect their fitness will be hard tested in this one.

National Cup action
Just a single game in the National Cup this weekend as Peterborough host NIHL1 North’s Hull Pirates. The sides met 3 weeks ago when Phantoms suffered their only defeat in a competitive game so far. Hull had a mixed start in their own league so far, starting with an OT loss to old-NIHL1 Solihull on the opening day and also losing to Blackburn a week later but they have picked up and they have won their last two as well as the cup game against Phantoms. Peterborough are strongly tipped as league champions this season in the South and will be looking for some payback in their in-season defeat.

Autumn Cup action

It’s a cup double-header against Northern opposition this weekend for Peterborough as they also travel to Sheffield on the Sunday to open their Autumn Cup account. Sheffield have played one game in this competition so far and have a 3-1 loss to Bison to show for it. To be honest, they looked all over the place in the first two periods of that game and are lucky not to have been a lot more than 3 goals down by the end of the second. The third period saw them start to up the gears though and they started to look good. They will need to start this game in that kind of form though if they don’t want to find themselves having to play catch-up again.


Fixture information​
Saturday
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs London Raiders (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Hull Pirates (NIHL1 Cup)

Sunday
13:00 Sheffield Steeldogs vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1 Autumn Cup)
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)
17:30 London Raiders vs Swindon Wildcats (NIHL1)
18:00 Cardiff Fire vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs MK Thunder (NIHL1)


482days will have live twitter updates from the Pride game on Sunday. Saturday we’re having a break from travelling and will be tweeting from the Peterborough live stream!  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 weekend preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDermott will take a look at the action in that league.

Posted in Weekend Preview

September 29th, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

This week we have 9 games across all three competitions in NIHL1: 5 league games, 3 national cup games and 1 Autumn cup game.

League action
We’ll start with a look at the double-header between Peterborough Phantoms (home Saturday) and Cardiff Fire (home Sunday). On paper this looks like a real mis-match with top (and serious title contenders) facing bottom; and in truth, it probably will be. We need to remember though that NIHL1 has had a jump up in quality and especially speed this season and Cardiff are newly promoted as well – last season, they were playing 2 leagues below the Phantoms. While Cardiff have signed some strong players with EPL experience, the majority of the squad is returning from last season and they are going to need some time to adjust. The positive for Cardiff is that there is no enforced relegation this season, so they have that time available to them. Yes, they are probably going to struggle for much of the season, but if they can keep their heads up and celebrate any gains they make over the season, they can have the breathing space to consolidate and grow.

Peterborough meanwhile, are looking very strong at the moment. 100% after 3 league games and only the cup loss to Hull as a sour note in an otherwise great start so far. Coach Slava Koulikov will be encouraged that the scorers are coming across the lines – with 8 different goalscorers responsible for the 14 league goals so far, while as a defensive unit they have given up just 2 goals a game in the league so far.

On Saturday, we also see a reverse of the first shock result of the season as Swindon Wildcats host Invicta Dynamos. Mos were the first (and so far only) of the old NIHL1 teams to beat an ex-EPL team in an overtime thriller with now-departed Bobby Chamberlain as the OT hero. Swindon had a strong weekend in the cup last week, beating both Basingstoke and Hull by 3 goals, although the delight is no doubt tempered with the loss of GB prospect forward Toms Rutkis who had to go surgery on his jaw after the game with Hull and is likely to have an extended period out as a result.  The Dynamos had a slightly less successful weekend, losing 5-4 in a cup game to longtime rivals London. Although they can be encouraged with the comeback they came close to completing as they got back from 5-1 down in that game to bring it to within a single goal margin with a 3-goal flurry in the third period.

On Sunday, we see a reverse of one of the fixtures from the opening day of the league season as MK travel to Bracknell. Their first meeting was a high-intensity affair with the teams trading goals in the first two periods, then MK getting a 2-goal lead in the third only to see Bracknell up the gears and score 4 unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes (the last an empty-netter) to give them a 7-5 win. Pre-season fitness may have played a part in that with MK unable to keep up the high-intensity play they displayed in the first 50 minutes in the final 10, but with another 5 games under their belt since then they should now be over that hurdle. Thunder will also have had the advantage of a day off on the Saturday, compared to what is likely to be a hard fought cup game for the Bees against local rivals Basingstoke. Bees though will have home advantage and with top pair Bakrlik and Thompson in strong form at the moment, with the two sitting top of the league points charts, will be feeling confident of repeating the first result.

Our final league game this weekend see Streatham host Swindon. As far as I can tell, the sides last met in the 1993-94 season when the Redskins and Wildcats both played in the Southern BD1 – before half of the two squads were born! Swindon have had a rocky start to the league so far, with both games played against old-NIHL1 sides and taken to overtime. Their cup form has been better and sees them top of their group with two wins from two. Streatham have had a good start to their season as well so far, beating London home and away in the cup as well as a win (Cardiff) and a loss (Peterborough) in the league so far. Their Redhawks team is a good mix of high-intensity and skill players and they will be looking to go one better than MK and Invicta, but Swindon are no mugs and this is likely to be a hard-fought game.

National Cup action

Saturday sees a third meeting in as many weeks between London and Streatham in the cup. Both games so far have been highly-contested narrow wins for Streatham, with last weekend’s game going all the way to penalty shots. Brandon Miles also had a tilt in each game against his team-mates from last year: dropping the gloves against both JJ Pitchley and Julian Smith. This weekend’s game should be more of the same (although Miles may have run out of ex-team mates interested in fighting him). London will certainly be looking for revenge as by all accounts their fans feel they were robbed to get only one point out of the four on offer, while Streatham will look to continue this run of form in the London derby.

Also on Saturday, Bracknell travel to Basingstoke for a reverse of the cup fixture from 2 weeks before, where Basingstoke won with the odd goal in three in a low scoring 2-1 game. Basingstoke will not be best pleased with their National cup form so far, having lost 3 of their 4 games (twice against Telford, once against Swindon). Even a second win against Bracknell won’t put them back into the qualification spots for the quarter-finals. But it will at least put them back level on points with Swindon and Telford, and in with a shot of qualifying if they can win their final cup game against Swindon.  A win for Bracknell though will likely put them above the Bison and keep them in contention of making the quarter-finals themselves.

London are in cup action again on Sunday as they travel to Invicta. The two sides have met once in the cup last Saturday, with London taking a 5-4 win. They’ll be happy with the points and the way in which they started, but will be less happy with shipping 3 goals in 10 minutes at the start of the third period. This allow Dynamos back into the game after Raiders should have put the game to bed in the second with a 5-1 lead. Invicta are chasing their first cup points and although coach Parrish will be pleased by the comeback in the third, he’ll want to get off to a better start this time.

Autumn Cup action

It’s all cup action for the Bison again this weekend as they travel to Sheffield for the return fixture from last weekend’s game which saw them win 3-1. The game looked a lot more comfortable for the Bison than the scoreline suggested with Basingstoke dominating the first two periods, outshooting the Steeldogs by 27-7 and outscoring them 3-0 in the first 40 minutes. The Northern side came back in the third when play was much more even and at one point it looked like Bison might regret not converting more of their chances when they had the game by the throat. They hung on though, but as mentioned last week – will really want to improve their scoring efficiency. At the moment, they are making opposition netminders look good!


Fixture information​
Saturday
17:30 London Raiders vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1 Cup)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1 Cup)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1)

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


482days will have live twitter updates from London on Saturday and Bracknell on Sunday.  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 weekend preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDermott will take a look at the action in that league.

Posted in Weekend Preview

September 29th, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

Last weekend saw some fascinating NIHL South 2 action as the Bracknell Hornets lived up to their early billing as title contenders with a 9-6 win over fellow title contenders Oxford; Haringey maintained their 100% start with a tight victory over the Invicta Mustangs; the Solent Devils got their campaign underway with a win in Basingstoke; Peterborough edged out Bristol by the odd goal in seven, and the newly-formed Cardiff NIHL2 Fire demolished the Slough Jets 13-5.

This weekend sees six more games on the bill, with both Swindon and Chelmsford finally beginning their campaigns. The Wildcats have two games, away to Haringey on Saturday and at home to Chelmsford on Sunday, while Sunday’s clash in Wiltshire is the Chieftains’ only game this weekend.

Sunday also sees Lee Valley and Guildford meet in East London, with both sides looking for their first victory of the season; Peterborough host Solent in a battle of two unbeaten teams; Oxford look to bounce back from their defeat to Bracknell when they take on Slough who are winless so far; and two more winless teams square off as Basingstoke host Invicta.

Saturday

Haringey Huskies vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

The Haringey Huskies have started their existence with three wins from three, sitting joint top of the NIHL South 2 table alongside the Bracknell Hornets. They look to make it four wins from four on Saturday as they welcome the Swindon Wildcats to Alexandra Palace.

Haringey’s ranks were boosted in the off-season with the key signing of Stephen Woodford, the former Chelmsford Warriors forward returning to hockey after a year out. He looks as if he’s never been away, having banged in seven goals already, which sees him sit joint-top of the league goalscoring charts alongside Bracknell import Sean Scarbrough. Returnee Daniel Clayton has also impressed, netting three times and assisting on a further five goals to give him eight points in three games to date. However the defence still needs work, having conceded 18 goals in the three games so far.

Swindon, meanwhile, kick off their NIHL South 2 campaign in the fourth week of the season. There is precious little news as to who will make up their squad this season – only player-coach Daniel Sullivan is confirmed – but they are likely to feature their usual mix of young prospects from the Swindon-based Okanagan Hockey Academy as well as local veterans such as the Coakley brothers, Adam and Andrew, and veteran forward Loris Taylor.

It is hard to say how this game will go without knowing the make-up of Swindon’s side, but it would look to be a high-scoring affair, with the aforementioned Woodford and Clayton on top scoring form for the Huskies, but the defence needing work at the other end. Expect a goal fest at the Palace.

Don’s Prediction: Haringey 7-4 Swindon
Laurence’s Prediction: Haringey 7-5 Swindon

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions vs Guildford Phoenix

The Lee Valley Lions host their second home game of the season on Sunday against the newcomers to NIHL South 2, the Guildford Phoenix. The Lions have lost both their league games to date, while Guildford were defeated in their solitary outing so far. Both will be looking to kickstart their season with a win.

Lee Valley have got off to a topsy-turvy start to the season. A valiant performance in an 8-7 defeat away to London rivals Haringey was followed by an expected 11-1 defeat at the hands of the Bracknell Hornets. The Lions were short-benched in both games, with captain and last season’s top scorer Nick Alley among those absent, but still would have hoped to take at least a point from the Haringey game, especially after scoring seven goals. The clash with newcomers Guildford will be an interesting test.

Ice hockey in Guildford is on the up, with long-time EPL frontrunners the Flames moving up to the EIHL this off-season, and the Phoenix junior side stepping up to senior hockey in NIHL South 2. They have built a side packed full of players who have come through the Guildford junior system and who have now returned to their roots, and the team features an impressive number of players with higher level experience.

Netminders Harry Buckingham and Sam Calder, defencemen Monty Gailer, Harry Hatfield, Ellis Sandy and Luke Tull, and forwards Josh Abbott, Malik Adeniran-Adams, Oliver Denis, Scott Greenfield, Michael Krogh, Jacob Rondeau-Smith, captain Nick Minhinnick, player-coach Andrew Hemmings and the Wootton brothers Bailey and Haydn all having played in the NIHL1 or higher. In addition, defenceman Henry Aiken played the last two seasons for the Lions before making the switch in the summer. The Phoenix lost their first ever senior game 7-1 at home to Oxford two weeks ago.

On paper, the individual experience of the Phoenix side should see them overcome the Lions. But the Lions have continuity on their side, with most of last season’s team staying on, whereas Guildford may still need to find some chemistry. And the Lions are usually difficult to beat at home. This one is tough to call.

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

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Solent Devils

Peterborough Phantoms remain entrenched in fourth place after securing two wins from two matches so far this season, but they will have a real tester on Sunday as former South 1 side Solent come calling. Peterborough secured a hard-fought win last weekend over Bristol, with the two sides trading goals throughout until the start of the third period, when Nathan Pollard and Bradley Moore scored just 29 seconds apart to give Peterborough a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Solent have played just once this season, opening their account on Saturday in Basingstoke. The Buffalo were off the mark quickly, scoring two early goals, but Solent scored four unanswered to secure the two points. Richard Facey found the back of the net twice for Solent and Mark Pitts and Alex Murray contributed the other goals. Against the Phantoms, Solent will need to make sure they don’t fall behind early, otherwise they may be in for a surprise against a strong Peterborough team. A win for Solent would help them make up some ground on teams like Bracknell and Oxford City, and a win for Peterborough would cement the Phantoms as legitimate challengers for the top spots in the league.

Don’s Prediction: Peterborough 6-5 Solent
Laurence’s Prediction: Peterborough 4-3 Solent (OT)

Oxford City Stars vs Slough Jets

Slough’s challenging start to the season continues on Sunday with yet another away game, this time at the Oxford Ice Rink to face the Stars, former South 1 heavyweights. Oxford City have already shown their strength this season, brushing aside the newly-formed Guildford Phoenix and a decent Bristol Pitbulls squad. But the Stars head into this game against Slough with a chip on their shoulder following last week’s 9-6 loss to current table-toppers Bracknell Hornets. In a mouth-watering clash between two of the league favourites, the Stars proved to be the less disciplined side, racking up over twice as many penalty minutes as Bracknell and as a result, conceding five power play goals, including four in third period. But the good news for Oxford City is that Czech import Kamil Kinkor is continuing to have a fine season, with four goals and five assists so far, and the Stars are sitting third in the league, just two points back of Bracknell and Haringey.

A win against the Jets on Sunday will keep the Stars right in the mix—and a win is the expected result. Slough are winless on the season after falling to pieces last Saturday against Cardiff Fire 2, losing 13-5. The only good news for Slough is that player-coach Lukas Smital is currently one of the top three goalscorers in the league and scored a hat trick in Cardiff. Against the Stars, Slough will have to play out of their skates but they will also be bolstered by the return of netminder Chris Douglas, who missed the fixture against Cardiff due to unavailability.

Don’s Prediction: Oxford 11-2 Slough
Laurence’s Prediction: Oxford 8-3 Slough

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Invicta Mustangs

Basingstoke and Invicta will be anxious to pick up their first points of the season and one of the sides will do just that this weekend as they meet up at Basingstoke’s Silverdome Arena. The Buffalo thought they had secured a win in their first game of the season after defeating Haringey 6-3, but the league found they had iced an illegal player and the game was awarded to the Huskies. Since then the season has gone from bad to worse for Basingstoke. They were thrashed 10-3 by Bracknell and then last weekend, after having an early lead against Solent, succumbed to a 4-2 loss.

Invicta also had a heart-breaking result against Haringey. They outshot the Huskies 41-37 and spent just six minutes in the penalty box, while Haringey piled up 34 minutes. Even more agonisingly, Invicta had rallied from being down 4-1 to draw level at 5-5. But just twenty seconds after James Laming found the equalizer, Daniel Clayton scored to put the Huskies back in the lead and Invicta were unable to find another goal in the remaining 10 minutes. The key to Sunday’s game between these two winless sides will be who can have the quickest start and hold their nerve. This one may go down to the final minutes.

Don’s Prediction: Basingstoke 7-6 Invicta (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Basingstoke 2-4 Invicta

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Chelmsford Chieftains

The reigning NIHL South 1 league champions, the Chelmsford Chieftains, will be the last of the 14 NIHL South 2 sides to get their campaign underway, as they travel to Swindon on Sunday to face the Wildcats. The Essex side dropped down from NIHL South 1 in the off-season and will look to start life in NIHL2 with a bang.

As stated earlier, Swindon have released precious little about their NIHL2 side this season, but we can expect them to play a quick-tempo game with a number of talented youngsters from the Okanagan Hockey Academy usually featuring in their lineup.

Chelmsford have built an interesting side, with six outstanding NIHL1 players in goaltender Sonny Phillips and forwards Ross Brears, Darren Brown, Anthony Leone and the twins Cameron and Grant Bartlett being joined by new import Filip Supa, who lit up NIHL North 2 with 192 points in just 84 games spread across three seasons, and a host of players from the now-defunct Chelmsford Warriors team that played in NIHL South 2 (East) last season.

Another key new signing is veteran defenceman Robbie Veares, who played one season each in the EPL and NIHL1 for the Romford/London Raiders but has spent most of his career in the NIHL2; but the Chieftains were hit by a blow just before the start of the season when Matt France, signed from London in NIHL1, had to leave the team due to work commitments. On Thursday the team announced that former club captain Danny “The Mayor of Chelmsford” Wright, who was Chieftains assistant coach for the last two years, would replace France. The 37-year-old brings tons of experience to the side but may be rusty, having not played much in the last couple of seasons.

Chelmsford’s side looks good on paper, but whether it will be able to challenge early league front-runners Bracknell and Oxford remains to be seen. They should be strong enough to beat Swindon in this game, but one key factor could be the faceoff time – the game faces off at 7:45pm on a Sunday evening. If some of the Chieftains players are unable to travel the width of the country for such a late time, it could leave the squad looking a bit thin, and could give Swindon the opportunity to cause an upset.

Don’s Prediction: Swindon 3-5 Chelmsford
Laurence’s Prediction: Swindon 3-5 Chelmsford


Fixture information

Saturday
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Sunday

17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Guildford Phoenix
17:30 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Solent Devils
18:15 Oxford City Stars vs Slough Jets
18:30 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Invicta Mustangs
19:45 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Chelmsford Chieftains


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 3)

Don: 16pts
Laurence: 13pts

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

September 22nd, 2017 by Nancy Carpenter

Well what a weekend we had last week. Our first two overtime periods (both involving Swindon!) and some cracking games across the competitions.

This week we have 9 games across all three competitions in NIHL1 as the Autumn cup also kicks off: 4 league games, 4 cup games and 1 Autumn cup game.

League action
Milton Keynes travel to Cardiff on the Saturday. Both teams had a tough weekend, picking up just one point across 4 games between them. MK will be the favourites here having taken highly fancied Swindon to overtime last Saturday. Cardiff’s season got off to a flyer with a goal against Invicta after just 23 seconds. Unfortunately, it then took nearly 97 minutes to score again and they recorded 2 losses last weekend. The 9-2 scoreline against Streatham should be taken with a pinch of salt though as they understandably came out slowly in the first period after getting just 6 minutes of warm-up after a nightmare 6 hours on the bus to get there. 17 year old netminder Lewis Davies was given his senior debut in nets and while he looked a little overwhelmed (and probably suffering from the travel as well) in the first, he improved visibly after that and let in just 3 of the 40 shots against him in the final 2 periods. He is definitely one to watch for the future and should get lots of ice time across the 2 Fire teams.

Also on Saturday, Streatham will travel to fens to take on Peterborough. Both teams are one for one in the league so far and will be looking to keep their 100% record. Peterborough, as one of the favourites for the league title will be the fancied team here, especially at home, but Streatham will be buoyed up with the winning start to their season in both the cup and the league and showed on Sunday that they have some serious speed and firepower in the team.

Sunday sees Fire in league action again as they travel to Bracknell for a game against the Bees. The Berkshire team had a tough weekend as well last week with narrow losses to Peterborough and Basingstoke in the league and will be looking to bounce back with a win. Bees duo of Frankie Bakrlik and Shaun Thompson have proven to be a dangerous pairing, with one of them involved in all but 2 of Bracknell’s 17 goals so far this season (and getting points in more than half of them). Cardiff’s top priority will be trying to shut them down if they want even half a chance.

Our final league game features the closest thing Peterborough and Milton Keynes have to a derby game this season. Phantoms are 100% in the league at the moment after the win against Bracknell on Saturday and will be looking to keep that intact. But they will be disappointed after their 6-3 loss to Hull in the cup and will want to bounce back. Thunder have shown that they are not to be taken lightly this season, after a narrow loss to the Bees in the opening weekend and then an even narrower loss to Swindon which went all the way to penalty shots. They currently sit 3rd in the league with a win against early league leaders Invicta to add to their OT loss and will be looking to build on that.

National Cup action

Invicta travel to London on Saturday, after their mid-week blow that team captain and last weekends OT hero, Bobby Chamberlain, is returning home to Hull. Mos’ long-time defenceman Arran Strawson steps up to the captaincy but the loss of Chamberlain will be a tough one for the Kent side as they were already light on players, and especially on players with experience.  It leaves the Dynamos with less than 3 lines, even when everyone is fully fit and Kevin Parrish will be on the lookout to find a replacement quickly. London meanwhile had a mixed weekend: losing the London derby to Streatham in the cup on Saturday, but bouncing back with a league win against MK on the Sunday.  London will be happy with the win, but coaching duo Blyth and Easton will not be happy with the way they nearly blew a 5-goal lead, allowing MK back from 6-1 to 6-5 before scoring again themselves.

On Saturday, Swindon will host Basingstoke before travelling to Telford on Sunday for a Northern section crossover game. Basingstoke got their first cup points last weekend, by beating Bracknell in a low-scoring 2-1 game but lost both home and away fixtures to Telford before that. Swindon come into that game off the back of two overtime games in the league last weekend, they will know that they need to increase their scoring efficiency if they are going to get anything out of this game. I don’t want to take anything away from Annetts or Dibble fro their performances in net, but Aaron Nell will know that only 5 goals from over 100 shots on net means something isn’t quite right. Both Basingstoke and Telford should prove to be tough opponents for the Wildcats.

Our final fixture this weekend in the National cup sees a reverse of the London derby from last weekend as London travel south of the river to Streatham. Last Saturday, these two teams met at Lee Valley with the visiting Redhawks coming away as 5-3 victors. From all accounts the game was fairly even with the final margin doubled through an empty-netter. Streatham will be pleased that all of their goals came from different players showing a strength in depth. For London, young Jake Sylvester showed why he was is so highly rated, scoring 2 of the Raiders’ three. This should be another barnstorming game.

Autumn Cup action

The Autumn cup is an additional competition which only 6 of the ex-EPL teams have chosen to join this season. The two groups of three will play each other once each home and away with all games due to be completed by mid November. Top two from each group will go through to the semi-finals which, along with the 2-legged final, will be scheduled as mid-week games. This week sees Sheffield Steeldogs travel down to Basingstoke.

So far Sheffield have had a fairly solid start to their season, picking up 5 points in the league with wins against Solihull and Blackburn but and an overtime (penalty shots) loss to Telford. Basingstoke will want to come out firing though as so far their cup form has been less than stellar in the National cup competition and if they want to make a semi-final this season they are going to need to improve that.


Fixture information​
Saturday
17:30 London Raiders vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1 Cup)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1 Cup)
18:30 Cardiff Fire vs Milton Keynes Thunder (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)

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


482days will have live twitter updates from Cardiff on Saturday and Basingstoke on Sunday.  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 weekend preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDermott will take a look at the action in that league.

Posted in Weekend Preview

September 22nd, 2017 by Laurence Thorn

After the second week of NIHL South 2 action, two teams have already established themselves at the top of the table: the Bracknell Hornets and the Oxford City Stars won both their games at the weekend and sit top of the pile on 4 points, and with double-figure goal differences. Haringey join them on 4 points after defeating Lee Valley last Saturday, but their other win came as a result of Basingstoke fielding an ineligible player. Also undefeated are Peterborough having played just the one game.

There are five games this weekend, all on Saturday, with the headline act sure to be Bracknell’s meeting with Oxford at the Hive. The way both teams have started their campaigns, this match could already be important in determining the destination of the league title, even though it is still very early in the season.

There are four other interesting games on Saturday, with Cardiff NIHL2 Fire starting off their campaign as they host Slough; Bristol hosting last season’s Treble winners Peterborough; Invicta playing host to the Huskies; and a Hampshire derby as Basingstoke take on the Solent Devils, who are playing their first game of the season.

Saturday

Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Slough Jets

Slough Jets take to the ice again after having a fortnight to think of what might have been following their 5-4 loss to Bristol with three seconds remaining. The key for the Jets will be how well player-coach Lukas Smital has rallied his team to see the many positives from that loss, including their high total of shots on goal, goalkeeper Chris Douglas’ excellent evening between the pipes and their low tally of penalty minutes. But their defence will need to step up their game to prevent Douglas from having to face 63 shots as he did on the 10th.

Slough’s opponents on Saturday, Cardiff Fire 2 are one of four teams in South 2 who have yet to play this season, and the Fire will get their campaign underway with the home crowd on their side in a surprisingly early game -the puck drops at 2:45pm. Cardiff announced their roster on Thursday afternoon, and again have put together a solid team. Alan Armour is a key returning player, having scored 25 points across two seasons in Cardiff. Player-coach Gareth Dixon is again part of the squad, as expected, as are Ross Wilkinson, Dan Self, Joe Morris and Jordon Baber. Cardiff’s most notable new signing is a man with Elite League experience, Michael Hutchings, who has spent most of his career with various Cardiff clubs but most recently has played for Army. Cardiff have also promoted eight youth players and signed two from Oxford City. But that youth is tempered with the experience of their re-signed players, and Cardiff have a proven record of success in past campaigns. If last season is anything to go by, Cardiff should be one of the contenders this season, as last year they won all 14 of their matches in South 2 (West).

They will go into this game feeling confident that they can make a strong start and keep their unbeaten run alive. For Slough, they need to keep their wits about them as they have been handed a strenuously difficult start to the season with three away fixtures. They’ve already played Bristol, now they have to take on Cardiff and next weekend, they travel to Oxford City, who are another preseason favourite after dropping down from South 1 before the season. If Slough can take a few points from these next two weekends, they will feel they’ve done well.

Don’s Prediction: Cardiff 6-4 Slough
Laurence’s Prediction: Cardiff 4-2 Slough

Bristol Pitbulls vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

Peterborough are looking to continue their strong start to the season on the road this weekend as they travel to play Bristol at Oxford Ice Arena.

Peterborough started their season last Sunday away to Invicta and left with maximum points after a dominant 6-1 victory. The Phantoms peppered Invicta netminder Matthew Passmore with an incredible 70 shots on goal, although credit must be given to Passmore for stopping 91% of them. Meanwhile his counterpart between the pipes for Peterborough, Dan Lane, had comparatively little to do, facing just 28 shots including a dismal seven in the second period. Peterborough were disciplined, spending just 10 minutes in the penalty box, and other than giving up a shorthanded goal to temporarily put themselves behind in the first period, it was an excellent performance from them.

Bristol come into the game with a much less sunny outlook. After only narrowly holding off Slough Jets in the first weekend of the season, they were handed a 7-2 loss by Oxford City Stars. Bristol managed only nineteen shots, with Jamie Newton and Adrian Smith finding the back of the net. Saturday’s game against Peterborough is an opportunity for them to get their season back on track, but it won’t be easy. Peterborough should be very heavy favourites and this game could be all but over by the start of the third period.

Don’s Prediction: Bristol 3-9 Peterborough
Laurence’s Prediction: Bristol 3-6 Peterborough

Invicta Mustangs vs Haringey Huskies

Perhaps one of the most interesting ties of the weekend will see the Invicta Mustangs hosting the Haringey Huskies in Kent on Saturday. Invicta started their season off with a home loss to Peterborough last weekend, but there is no disgrace in losing to last season’s Treble winners. Michael Stokes scored the Mustangs’ only goal of the evening while netminder Matthew Passmore put in a heroic effort, stopping 64 of 70 Peterborough shots.

Haringey, meanwhile, were involved in a 15 goal thriller at home to the Lee Valley Lions, as they edged out their London rivals and won 8-7. Stephen Woodford was the star of the show banging in four goals, with Daniel Clayton. Sam Park and Stuart Appleby also impressing up front. The defence would have caused headaches for the Huskies coaching staff however, as they shipped seven goals against a Lee Valley side missing their captain and top scorer from last season, Nick Alley.

Haringey will be missing forward Joe Berry, who is banned for two matches after being served with a Match penalty for headbutting in the Lee Valley game.

If the Mustangs can put in a similar offensive effort to the Lions, and Passmore can come up big in net again, there is every chance of them winning this game against a Haringey side that looks much strengthened in comparison to last season’s Racers outfit, who finished behind Invicta in the NIHL South 2 (East) standings. This one is tough to call, and we could very well see our first overtime of the season in NIHL 2.

Don’s Prediction: Invicta 5-6 Haringey
Laurence’s Prediction: Invicta 4-5 Haringey

Bracknell Hornets vs Oxford City Stars

Is it too early to talk about crucial games in September? Perhaps so, but the way both Bracknell and Oxford have started off their league seasons, coupled with the strong rosters that both teams have, means that this game could be important come April when the league title is decided. With both teams expected to win most if not all of their games against the smaller NIHL 2 sides, direct games against the other former NIHL 1 teams will go some way to determining which way the league title goes.

Bracknell started off their season with an absolute bang: 10-3 and 11-1 wins over Basingstoke and Lee Valley respectively see the Hornets sitting atop the table with four points and a +17 goal difference. Former Streatham colleagues Steve Fisher and Sean Scarbrough showed fantastic chemistry in their first two games as Hornets, scoring four goals apiece last weekend. Also scoring four goals were Josh Ealey-Newman and player-coach Danny Hughes, while Will Stead chipped in with five assists. The Hornets have perhaps the best offence in the league which, coupled with a strong defence built around the likes of Jack Tarczycki and Carl Graham, makes them one of the favourites for the league title.

But with all due respect to Basingstoke and Lee Valley, Oxford will provide a completely different test for Bracknell this weekend. The Stars scored seven goals against both Guildford and Bristol last weekend, winning 7-1 and 7-2 respectively. Import Kamil Kinkor – coming off a broken leg sustained while he played for Bracknell in NIHL 1 last season – scored three goals across the two games, as did Joe Edwards who hit the milestone of 100 goals in an Oxford jersey in league play during the win over Guildford. The defence of the Stars also looks very strong, with netminders Mark Duffy and Milan Ronai able to rely on the likes of Dominic Hopkins, Alex Staples and Stewart Tait in front of them – all with significant higher level experience. They have also teased a new signing on social media, so there could be a new face in the lineup come Saturday evening…

This is sure to be a titanic tussle, and could go either way. As with the Invicta vs Haringey game, the possibility of OT cannot be ruled out in this one either. It really is too close to call.

Don’s Prediction: Bracknell 7-6 Oxford (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Bracknell 6-5 Oxford

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Solent Devils

A Hampshire derby rounds off the five NIHL 2 games this weekend, as the Basingstoke Buffalo host the Solent Devils, one of four teams who dropped down from NIHL 1 in the summer. Solent have not yet played this season, while Basingstoke sit bottom of the pile with 0 points from two games. They beat Haringey 6-3 on opening day but forfeited the game 5-0 due to fielding an ineligible player, and then lost 10-3 in Bracknell last Saturday.

The Buffalo will look to atone for these two results at home to Solent on Saturday, and they will probably be relying on Blair Dubyk to come up with scoring again. The wily Canadian veteran, who joined from the sadly defunct Wightlink Buccaneers in the summer, has already scored 3 goals this season. Samuel Brooks impressed against Haringey with two goals, while Warren Jones has one goal and two assists thus far.

Solent start their NIHL 2 campaign off a few weeks after the Buffalo, with player-coach Alex Murray building a strong-looking team over the summer. Star netminder Christian “Chico” Cole will be joined in net by Aaron Taylor, who has previously played for both Basingstoke and Solent and who returns to hockey after two years out. The core of last season’s Devils team, that often punched above its weight in NIHL 1, has been kept together; the likes of defencemen Alexander Cole and Ben Lock, and forwards Drew Campbell, Richard Facey and Alexander Trendall are all back.

Interesting to note is the amount of former Isle of Wight players on both sides. With both the NIHL 1 Raiders and the NIHL 2 Buccaneers folding, several players from those sides have joined either Basingstoke or Solent. Kieran Annis, Andrew McCloskey and Daniel Shier (Solent) all played on the Island last season, as did Aaron Craft, Blair Dubyk and Marcus Russell (Basingstoke), while many other players on both sides also have an Isle of Wight past.

The key to this game will really be how quickly Solent come out the blocks, and if they have any off-season rust to shake off. Once they are up to speed, they can be expected to beat Basingstoke; however if the Buffalo catch them off guard, they could come out with the victory.

Don’s Prediction: Basingstoke 3-5 Solent
Laurence’s Prediction: Basingstoke 2-4 Solent


Fixture information

Saturday
14:45 Cardiff NIHL2 Fire vs Slough Jets
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms
17:15 Invixta Mustangs vs Haringey Huskies
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Oxford City Stars
18:20 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Solent Devils


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information as well as live twitter from Cardiff’s opener against Slough on Saturday. 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 2)

Don: 9pts
Laurence: 6pts

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