Category: Weekend Preview

November 17th, 2018 by Laurence Thorn

The NIHL South 2 season rolls on this weekend with seven games on the schedule – five on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The game between fourth placed Bracknell and fifth placed Solent on Saturday looks like the key game this weekend, while league leaders Chelmsford and their closest followers Oxford are also in action, both in away games.

Saturday

Bristol Pitbulls vs Chelmsford Chieftains

The Pitbulls took Slough to overtime at the Hangar last week – a superb achievement considering the way Slough have been destroying teams this season. Bristol ultimately came away with one point after a 5-4 loss, but this did allow them to move up to sixth in the league with ten points. Olly Shone scored a brace against the Jets to increase his goal tally for the season to nine, while Janne Virtanen and Steve Osman scored the other Bristol goals in that game. Ross Miller also impressed in net for the Pitbulls, stopping 52 of 57 shots he faced. He will need to be on top form again when Chelmsford come to town.

Chelmsford bounced back from their first loss of the season against Oxford two weeks ago with a tight 4-3 win in Guildford last weekend. After scoring 46 points in the ten games this season to date, captain Ross Brears was surprisingly kept off the scoresheet by Guildford – but Thomas Wilson, Grant Bartlett, Ross Cowan and James Ayling scored a goal each to help the Chieftains to a win-loss record of 10-1 on the season so far. This means they still lead Oxford by four points, but the Stars have two games in hand – so Chelmsford need to keep winning games to heap the pressure on the chasing pack.

Bristol are a tough side to beat, so this could be a tough test for the Chieftains. But if they can utilise all the firepower that they have in their line-up, Chelmsford should be favourites to come out on top here.

Guildford Phoenix vs Invicta Mustangs

After seven consecutive road games to start the season, Guildford finally played their first home game of the campaign against Chelmsford last Saturday, going down 4-3 to the league leaders. Taylor Wootton, Nick Minhinnick and player-coach Andrew Hemmings bagged a goal each but it wasn’t enough to knock off Chelmsford, while netminder James Hadfield was impressive for the Phoenix as he stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced. The Phoenix now lie eighth in the table with nine points on the board, but have five home games between now and the end of the calendar year in which to try and move up the table – starting with Saturday’s game against the Mustangs.

Invicta gave a great account of themselves last weekend as they took Peterborough to overtime, ultimately going down 2-1 to the Phantoms but at least securing a point in the league standings. Harry Blake scored the Mustangs’ goal in that game, while goalie Matthew Passmore put in yet another strong performance in the Invicta net as he stopped 68 of the 70 Peterborough attempts on goal. The point gained from the Peterborough game puts the Mustangs 12th in the table on five points, with Haringey one point ahead of them but having played one game more.

Last weekend’s result will have given the Mustangs a lot of confidence coming into this one – and they will feel that if Passmore plays another blinder, they have a chance of winning the game. But the Phoenix are still the favourites in this game.

Bracknell Hornets vs Solent Devils

In a crunch clash at the Hive, fourth takes on fifth as the Hornets welcome the Devils.

Bracknell didn’t play last weekend, but two weeks ago took a huge 21-3 win over bottom club Lee Valley – their third win in a row and sixth of the season overall. Jakub Fojtik and Josh Ealey-Newman scored four goals each in that game, while Steve Fisher had five assists and Josh Ealey-Newman bagged a hat-trick. The Hornets have dropped just three points this season so far, losing to Oxford in regulation time and Cardiff in overtime, and will look to put daylight between themselves and Solent in the table with a win in this game.

The Devils are one point behind the Hornets in the table, having also lost two games this season – those two losses both coming against Slough in regulation time. And just like the Hornets, the Devils have also won their last three games in a row, with a comfortable 8-0 win over Cardiff last weekend seemingly restoring some of the Devils’ confidence after some tough games recently. Seven different players scored at least one goal against Cardiff, with only Alex Trendall bagging a brace of goals, and netminder Chico Cole impressed with a a 32 shot shutout.

This game is extremely hard to call, with both sides on winning streaks and both sides boasting lots of firepower in their ranks. Either side could win this one, but one thing’s for sure: the losing side will suffer a big blow to their playoff hopes.

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Raiders NIHL2

Two “second teams” collide in Peterborough on Saturday night, as the Phantoms host the Raiders. The Phantoms took a tight 2-1 overtime win over Invicta last weekend as their struggles this season continued; Nick Alley spared their blushes with the winning goal in overtime, after Jordan Liddell had scored their only goal during regulation time. Phantoms netminder Dan Lane was also extremely busy during the game, facing 66 shots from the Mustangs and making 65 saves. Apart from big wins against Lee Valley and Haringey, the Phantoms have struggled for wins this season, and face a tough task on Saturday as the Raiders come to town.

The Raiders took a comfortable 10-1 win against Lee Valley last Sunday, as George Gell impressed with 2+3=5 and Bailey Chittock also scored two goals. 16-year-old starlet Ewan Hill made his senior debut, scoring a goal and assisting on two others, while another 16-year-old who impressed was goaltender Brad Windebank who stopped 31 of 32 Lee Valley shot attempts. The Raiders are now seventh in the table on ten points; meaning they are two positions and two points ahead of the Phantoms. So this game is important for both sides as they look to establish themselves in the crowded mid-table.

This is another game that is hard to predict and in which the result could go either way – it could come down to which goalie has a better game.

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Cardiff Fire

The Buffalo have played the least games of any team in the league to date, only playing five games while Chelmsford for example have already played eleven. Thus it is hard to rate the Buffalo’s season so far – they lie in 13th place with two wins and three losses, but a run of victories could see them start to climb up the table. One of those wins was in Cardiff in the season opener, when Liam Coleman scored a hat-trick and Aaron Burton made 38 saves to lead Basingstoke to a 4-3 win over the Fire. The Buffalo will be hoping for a similar result this weekend.

The Fire have had a rollercoaster ride of a season, with some impressive wins mixed in with some big losses. They have lost their last three road games – being shut out twice in that time, 12-0 by Slough and 8-0 by Solent – and as a result have slipped down to tenth in the table. However the mid-table is very tight, so a few wins for the Fire could see them start to climb the standings again. The Fire will want to get revenge for the aforementioned season opener in which the Buffalo took a somewhat surprising win.

The Fire’s away form hasn’t been good recently, but the Buffalo have only played one game in the last month so could be rusty. Having said that, the one game they have played recently was a 7-5 win over Bristol. So the Buffalo are probably slight favourites here.

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions vs Oxford City Stars

Bottom side Lee Valley are still searching for their first win of the season, having suffered two losses on the road last weekend against Haringey and Romford. Tom Hnilica scored their only goal of the weekend against the Raiders on Sunday – it was the Czech forward’s fifth goal of the season, and he is definitely the Lions’ form player right now. But they continue to ship too many soft goals at the other end, conceding 22 in the two games last weekend. And their task doesn’t get any easier on Sunday as reigning champions Oxford come to town.

Oxford lie second in the table right now, four points behind Chelmsford but with two games in hand. Since suffering a shock loss to Guildford a few weeks ago, Oxford have shown their class to bounce back with a tight 3-1 win over Chelmsford and a 15-1 victory against Swindon. Darren Elliott bagged four goals against the Wildcats, with Lee Richardson scoring a hat-trick and both Tom Davis and Matthew Lawday scoring a brace of goals. They will look to keep up their scoring form when they visit East London on Sunday.

Oxford are odds-on favourites for this game, and expect a lot of goals for the reigning champions against the bottom placed side.

Cardiff Fire vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

In their second game of the weekend, the Fire will be favourites as they welcome winless Swindon to Ice Arena Wales. Cardiff’s record at home this season is played two, lost two; but they are usually stronger at home than they are on the road, and their opponents Swindon travel to Wales without much confidence – and perhaps with a short bench.

Swindon are a very tricky team to predict; they turn up to some games with eight or nine players, while they can also raise a full roster for other games. That inconsistency in team selection is reflected in their position in the table, as they lie 14th with 0 points from nine games – only Lee Valley are below them on goal difference. Their last game was a tough 15-1 defeat at home against Oxford, with Reed Sayers scoring the lone Wildcats goal and netminders Tyler Perre and Liam Maguire having extremely busy nights, facing a total of 73 shots.

The Fire are favourites for this game, and it would be a surprise if the Wildcats could get anything from their trip to Cardiff.


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


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Chelmsford Chieftains
17:30 Guildford Phoenix vs Invicta Mustangs
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Solent Devils
18:15 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Raiders NIHL2
18:15 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Cardiff Fire

Sunday
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Oxford City Stars
18:00 Cardiff Fire vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 17th, 2018 by Nancy Carpenter

There are 7 games across NIHL1 South this weekend, with 5 of them also contributing to the group stages of the cup competition.

League action

Dark horse Peterborough Phantoms continue to impress this season, having only dropped a single point in 10 league games so far as well as making it through to the final of the Autumn Cup. Coach Slava Koulikov will be hoping to continue that trend this weekend but he’s got two tough matches to get through.

On Saturday, Phantoms travel to South London to face Streatham.  The sides played out a low-scoring thriller in the Fens earlier in the season when Damien King put on a net-minding masterclass to turn away 46/48 shots in regulation to gain a point for the Redhawks but was unable to stop Glenn Billing from sniping the winner in OT to give the extra point to the Phantoms. On home turf, Streatham will be looking to go one better, but will need to up their offence in order to do so having been comprehensively out shot. Streatham will be considerably boosted by their 4 pt weekend thanks to penalty-shot wins against Bracknell (6-5) and Raiders (7-6), both needing ‘come from behind’ equalisers to get them to OT in the first place.

Sunday sees Phantoms host Swindon in a repeat of the Autumn Cup semifinal. This was another close encounter for Peterborough who took their home leg by a single goal and then hung on for a draw to beat the defending champions on aggregate. For me this is probably the fixture of the weekend with these two currently looking like they’ll be duking it out at the end of the season in the title race.

Also on Saturday, we’ve a clash at the bottom with MK hosting Invicta.  Mos were a much improved team last weekend, clearly buoyed by the overwhelming support from both their own fans and around the league to their successful crowdfunding campaign. They didn’t pick up any points, but after losing to Raiders and Swindon 8-2 and 8-0 respectively earlier in the season, a single goal loss to each is a definite step in the right direction. When the sides met last, MK took both points with a last gap winner 23 seconds from time and Mos will want revenge for that.  MK won’t be making it easy for them though and this could be a great game.

Both teams will then have tough fixtures on Sunday against top-half teams with Mos hosting Streatham and MK travelling to Bracknell. Unless they can pull off a shock result there, both teams will be targeting Saturday as their best chance to pick up some points.

Saturday sees a couple of other tasty fixtures with Raiders hosting the Bees and Swindon hosting the Bison.

Raiders and Bees are two teams who have perhaps failed to live up to expectations so far. While Bracknell do currently sit at the top of the league table so far, they have not really lived up to early season predictions.  They started very strongly with 7 wins from 8, but seemed to have lost a little form since and now have just 3 wins from their last 7. Raiders will also be disappointed with their start to the season which sees them off the pace for a repeat of last season’s top half finish and already knocked out of the Cup.  This is the third league meeting between the sides with Bees having taken 6-4 and a 3-2 regulation wins in the first two matches.

Swindon and Basingstoke met, for the first time this season, just a week ago and it took the full 65 minutes plus penalties to separate the teams. Bison got the extra point in that game, but Swindon at home will be a tougher prospect.


We’ll have live twitter from the class between Thunder and the Mos in MK on Saturday and if there is a stream available for Phantoms/Widcats on Sunday we’ll be tweeting from that too. We’ll also have live updates from across the whole of #oneNIHL all weekend.

Looking for info on the NIHL2 South games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondent Laurence Thorn takes a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Fixture information

Saturday
17:15 Raiders vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)
18:15 Streatham IHC vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1 and Cup)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1 and Cup)
19:30 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1 and Cup)

Sunday
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1 and Cup)
17:30 Peterborough Phantoms vs Swindon Wildcats (NIHL1 and Cup)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Milton Keynes Thunder (NIHL1)

Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

NIHL1 South Cup Group Stage

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 10th, 2018 by Laurence Thorn

The NIHL South 2 season continues this weekend with seven games on the schedule – six on Saturday and only one on Remembrance Sunday.

The top three teams in the league – Chelmsford, Oxford and Slough – are all in action, while bottom side Lee Valley are the only team to play two games this weekend.

Saturday

Solent Devils vs Cardiff Fire

The Devils won an intense game against the Raiders last weekend, ultimately taking an 8-5 win on the south coast as they continue to rehabilitate themselves from their two defeats to Slough a few weeks ago. Richard Facey and youngster Elliot Lewis scored twice each against the Raiders, with other goals coming from Alex Trendall, Drew Campbell, player-coach Alex Murray and Mark Pitts in his first game back after an injury lay-off. With the players mentioned as well as Mitchell Murray, the Devils have a number of players who can usually be relied upon to score big goals; so they will be hoping to take a home win over Cardiff to continue their quest for a top four place – Solent currently lie in fifth place.

The Fire have had a rollercoaster ride in the last few weeks; a sensational 10-9 overtime win over Bracknell being followed by a win against Bristol, a heavy 0-12 defeat in Slough, a 10-2 win at home over Lee Valley and then a tight 3-5 defeat against Bracknell in the return fixture last weekend. Thus it is very hard to read Cardiff’s form, and they currently lie in tenth place which highlights their inconsistency so far. Jackson Price continues to lead the team’s scoring charts, bagging 9+9=18 in eight games to date, but with a negative goal difference of -6, the Fire need to improve at both ends of the ice if they wish to move up the table.

With home ice advantage, the Devils are favourites in this one against an inconsistent Fire side.

Invicta Mustangs vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

The Mustangs were soundly beaten in Slough last weekend, going down 14-1 to the Jets – but most teams are losing to the Jets these days, so that shouldn’t deter them too much. Nonetheless, their only two wins so far have come against Lee Valley and Swindon, who are both winless on the season. One senses that the Mustangs will likely be in a battle with those two clubs towards the bottom of the standings come the end of the season, and the wins they took against those two teams are already important in that battle.

Peterborough’s recent run of poor form came to an end last Saturday as they beat Haringey 10-5, their first win in four games. James Pentecost, Nick Alley and Conor Pollard bagged two goals each, with four other players chipping in with a goal apiece, as the Phantoms’ fans breathed a collective sigh of relief after a disappointing start to the season. They still tenth in the standings though, so there is a lot of work to do in order to move up towards the sharp end of the league. This is a game that the Phantoms will see as a “must win”.

Peterborough will be a tough opponent for the Mustangs, but with the Phantoms not on great form at the moment either, there’s perhaps no better time Invicta to face them.

Guildford Phoenix vs Chelmsford Chieftains

After seven away games on the bounce, the Phoenix finally play a home game on Saturday; ironically they welcome a Chelmsford side that has already played eight home games this season.

Guildford moved up to sixth in the table last Sunday with a 7-1 win in Swindon over the Wildcats, Josh Abbott grabbing a hat-trick and Taylor Wootton scoring a brace of goals as the Phoenix took a comfortable victory. Abbott now has 17 points from six games, and is without doubt the team’s most dangerous forward right now. Netminders Sam Calder and James Hadfield can also both boast very strong save percentages, each at over 94%.

The Chieftains finally lost their first game of the season last Sunday at the tenth time of asking, going down 3-1 in Oxford in a thriller against the reigning league champions. With the Riverside closed for refurbishment, the Chieftains now face the prospect of a large number of consecutive games on the road, and only time will tell how they deal with that. Earlier in the season, the Chieftains knocked off Guildford 6-2 at the Riverside, with Ross Brears scoring a hat-trick and James Ayling tallying 2+2=4 on the night. Brears leads the league in scoring with Ayling in fourth, so shutting down those two, as well as the Bartlett twins, will be key for the Phoenix if they want to get anything from this game.

Considering the firepower in the Chieftains ranks, they should be favourites to win here – but with Guildford playing their first home game of the season, they will be super motivated to give their fans a strong performance.

Haringey Huskies vs Lee Valley Lions

The second and final derby of the season between Haringey and Lee Valley takes place at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, with the Huskies looking for a repeat of their 8-1 win at Lee Valley earlier this season.

In that game, Huskies import forward Gheorghe Dragomir scored 2+2=4 while six other players chipped in with a goal each, as Haringey took only their second win of the season. Apart from the aforementioned win over the Lions and a 3-2 victory against Guildford, the Huskies have lost their other seven games, with a 10-5 defeat in Peterborough last weekend the latest defeat. With the Huskies scoring around 3 and a half goals per game but conceding almost 6 and a half per game, they need to improve at both ends of the ice if they want to be part of the mid-table battle this season.

Lee Valley suffered a heavy 21-3 defeat against a rampant Bracknell last Sunday, which meant that the East London side have played eight, lost eight this season and conceded 110 goals in the process. The home 8-1 defeat to Haringey last month was one of their best performances of the season, and they will be desperate to build on that as they look to get something out of Saturday’s game at the Palace. Michael Jacobs has been directly involved in all five of the team’s goals in their last two games, with two goals and three assists, while Czech forward Tom Hnilica now has four goals on the season. Both will need to be on top form if the Lions want to have a chance of outscoring the Huskies in this game.

With the Lions shipping goals, the Huskies will hope to use this game to re-discover their scoring touch; and they are favourites in this one for sure against their winless opponents.

Slough Jets vs Bristol Pitbulls

The rampant Jets took their seventh win on the bounce last Saturday, thrashing Invicta 14-1 at the Hangar. Player-coach Lukas Smital starred once again with 1+5=6, with Sean Norris, Danny Rose and Sam Talbot all contributing once again. Those four players alone have combined for 51 goals, with the Jets scoring 78 times in their nine games to date. At the other end, Brett Shepherd played the full 60 minutes against Invicta and stopped 27 of 28 Mustangs shots. This Jets side looks strong at both ends of the ice so far, and their continued strong form gets more impressive with every game that goes by.

The Pitbulls dropped down to seventh in the league last Saturday after a somewhat surprising 5-7 home defeat to the Basingstoke Buffalo. Olly Shone scored two goals and Jamie Newton, Steve Osman and Grant Richardson – playing his first game of the season after returning from cancer treatment – each scored one, but at the other end of the ice they conceded seven times with Buffalo forward Liam Coleman grabbing a hat-trick and Bristol netminder Ross Miller facing 39 shots. After a strong start to the season winning four of their first six games, the Pitbulls have now lost three on the bounce and need to start winning again soon in order to move back up the table.

The Jets are the favourites here though, and should take their eighth win in a row if they continue to play as well as they have been recently.

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Oxford City Stars

The last game to face off on Saturday will be a West Country derby between the NIHL2 Wildcats, winless so far this season, and the reigning league champions Oxford.

Swindon have played seven games so far, losing all seven and conceding 61 goals in the process, scoring only nine. Last weekend’s home game against Guildford ended in a 7-1 defeat, the solitary Wildcats goal coming from Jason Warren in only his second senior game. With most of their players also active in various junior leagues, and some with the NIHL1 Wildcats, it is always tricky to predict what kind of line-up the NIHL2 Wildcats will ice in any particular game.

But whichever line-up they ice, it will in all likelihood not be enough to challenge the reigning champions, who have won seven of their eight games so far this season and took a huge 3-1 win over previously-undefeated Chelmsford last weekend. Josh Oliver scored two goals and Joe Edwards picked up a goal and an assist in an intense game against the Chieftains, with former Bristol netminder John Dibble making his debut for Oxford and stopping 28 of 29 shots. Oxford have scored 53 goals so far this season, with 14 of those coming in a 14-1 win against these very opponents back in September, and have conceded just 20 to give them a goal difference of +33.

While the result may not be as emphatic as the 14-1 in Oxford earlier this season, anything other than a big win for the Stars here would be a major surprise.

Sunday

Raiders NIHL2 vs Lee Valley Lions

In the only game to be played on Remembrance Sunday, the Lions play their second away game of the weekend as they visit the Sapphire in Romford for the first time ever.

The Raiders currently sit eighth in the league, with four wins and three losses from their seven games to date. Last weekend they took a short bench to Gosport, but gave a very good account of themselves as they went down 8-5 to the Solent Devils. Young forward Tommy Huggett scored twice against Solent, while Kamil Kinkor, George Gell and Alan Lack scored a goal apiece as the Raiders put in a respectable performance against the reigning playoff champions Solent. All four of the aforementioned forwards have started the season well, and will look to continue that form against the league’s bottom club.

While it will be the second away game of the weekend for the Lions, it will be a fairly short trip for the East London side. Nonetheless after what could be an intense derby against Haringey the night before, it could be difficult for the Lions to lift themselves for this game. They will hope to bring a fairly large bench to this game and compete as long as possible, even if getting a win from this game will be tough.

If the Raiders stay focused and play to their strengths, they should have too much for the Lions in this one.


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Solent Devils vs Cardiff Fire
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms
17:30 Guildford Phoenix vs Chelmsford Chieftains
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Lee Valley Lions
17:45 Slough Jets vs Bristol Pitbulls
18:15 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Oxford City Stars

Sunday
17:30 Raiders NIHL2 vs Lee Valley Lions


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings

Posted in Weekend Preview

November 2nd, 2018 by Laurence Thorn

The NIHL South 2 season rolls on this weekend with eight games on the schedule – five on Saturday and three on Sunday.

The biggest of all the eight games comes on Sunday, with the top-of-the-table clash between leaders Chelmsford – who are undefeated this season thus far – and reigning champions Oxford who currently sit in second place.

And in a rare occurrence for the league, all 15 teams are in action this weekend across the eight games; with Bracknell the only team doing double duty and playing twice.

Saturday

Solent Devils vs Raiders NIHL2

Solent bounced back from their two losses in Slough two weekends ago with a narrow 4-2 win in Peterborough last Sunday. The south coast side sit in an unusually-low sixth place in the league at the moment, but do have games in hand on most of the teams above them. They will look to make a statement with a win over the Raiders on Saturday, as they once again look to make Gosport ice rink a fortress – an illusion that was shattered two weeks ago when Slough won 8-3 there. With the likes of Alex Murray, Richard Facey, and recent returnees Drew Campbell and Mitchell Murray, the Devils will hope that they have enough to overcome the Raiders in this one.

The Raiders took an extremely tight 5-4 win after a shootout against Guildford last Saturday in what was a wild game. There were five goals within the first 16 minutes of the game, and then just two more in the next 43 minutes – before the Raiders scored a shorthanded equaliser through Alan Lack in the final minute to send it to a shootout which they ultimately won. This result puts the Raiders side in seventh place, level on points with their opponents in this game who lie in sixth – so a win here would see them break into the top six, and could see them going as high as fourth. And with veterans Lack and Kamil Kinkor both firing at the moment, the Raiders do have a decent chance of getting a result from this one.

it may be early in the season, but this is a crucial game for the Devils, as three early defeats in the season would already significantly harm their title ambitions. Expect a fired-up Solent side to have the edge in this one, but they will definitely have to play better than they did in the last three games – otherwise the Raiders will be ready to pounce.

Bristol Pitbulls vs Basingstoke Buffalo

High-flying Bristol sit in fifth place in the league at the moment – and although last weekend’s 4-1 loss to Bracknell dropped them from their previous fourth place, they are still enjoying a strong start to the season. Olly Shone scored the lone goal in that defeat to Bracknell, and it was already his fifth goal of the season to add to two assists. The top scorers in the Pitbulls’ ranks are Steve Osman (11 points), Richard Hargreaves and Jamie Newton (10 points each), and they will look to get good production from their top forwards in this game against a Buffalo side that has not played for almost a month.

Basingstoke’s last game came on the 14th of October, and they have only played four games so far this campaign – the least of any team. Since their 4-3 opening win in Cardiff, the Hampshire side have lost three on the bounce and only scored nine goals in their four games to date, while conceding 26. However netminder Aaron Burton has been on impressive form despite those goals conceded, stopping 164 of the 189 shots fired at his net in those four games. They will once again need him to be on top form against a dangerous Bristol side, while also needing a bit more scoring from their forwards too. Only four Buffalo players – Oscar Evans, Liam Coleman (three each), Mark Austen (two) and Cameron Buckle (one) have scored a goal this season. so the offensive load needs to be shared around more effectively if the Buffalo are to have a better chance of winning.

Bristol have to be the favourites in this one – the Buffalo will need another strong game from Burton, and an upturn in offensive production, if they are to take something from this game against a well-drilled Pitbulls side.

Slough Jets vs Invicta Mustangs

The Jets continue to fly high this season; last weekend they followed up their double win over reigning playoff champions Solent with a huge 12-0 win over Cardiff. The main statistic that stands out is the shot count – Cardiff actually had 54 shots to Slough’s 55, but the Jets’ young goaltending tandem of Matt Smital and Brett Shepherd stopped absolutely everything that came their way, while the Jets were absolutely ruthless at the other end in bagging 12 goals. Sean Norris (5+1), Sam Talbot (2+3), Lukas Smital (1+7) and Danny Rose (0+5) were once again the stars of the show when it came to scoring, as the Jets’ fearsome offence rolls on. Slough have now scored 64 goals in eight games, and sit third in the table having won their last six on the bounce.

Invicta took a crucial 6-0 win against Swindon last weekend as they look to move away from the lower reaches of the table – although it must be said that Swindon travelled to the game with only nine skaters. Nonetheless, you can only beat who is put in front of you – and the Mustangs duly dispatched one of their rivals towards the bottom of the table with an efficient performance. Five different players scored goals, with Michael Stokes bagging a brace, while both netminders Matthew Passmore and Lucy Gruber got time between the pipes to share a shutout. However the game against Slough this weekend will be a totally different kettle of fish, especially travelling to the Hangar where Slough have already dispatched Lee Valley 18-4 and Cardiff 12-0 this season.

This time last year, we would have expected a game between Slough and Invicta to be a tight one, as they were two of the smaller teams in the division. But from what the Jets have shown so far this season, they have to be considered definite favourites in this encounter and it would be a surprise if the Mustangs could get anything from this game.

Bracknell Hornets vs Cardiff Fire

The Hornets bounced back from two defeats on the bounce with a 4-1 win over Bristol last Saturday, which moved them up to fourth in the table. There is also a feeling that the Hornets haven’t really caught fire yet and started to play their best hockey, despite a win-loss record of 4-2 on the season. They have “only” scored 35 goals in their six games to date, while at the same point last season they had already bagged 54. But there is enough firepower in the Hornets side to suggest that they will soon break free of the shackles and start to score more goals, and Cardiff could be the right opponents at the right time, having lost their last road game by a score of 0-12 to Slough last Saturday.

However, Cardiff then followed that up with a 10-2 win over Lee Valley the following day, so it was an extremely up-and-down weekend for the Fire, who now sit eighth in the league – but only one point behind Bracknell who sit in fourth, so there really is all to play for in this game. Jackson Price is on top form at the moment, with 17 points from seven games, while Tamas Elias (12) and Jordan Powell (11) have also reached double-figure points totals already. Young netminder Lewis Davies left the Slough game through injury and it is unknown if he will play on Saturday, but in James Whiting and player-coach Chris Douglas, the Fire have adequate cover in that position.

The Hornets will hope to come away from this game with a big win to cement themselves in the top four, while the Fire can move above the Hornets in the table if they take victory. So there really is all to play for in this one.

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Haringey Huskies

Two sides that have only won twice this season square off in this game, with Peterborough making an unusually poor start to the season to only lie in tenth place after seven games played. Their only regulation win was a 17-2 thumping of bottom side Lee Valley, and they also put Bristol away in overtime; however the other five games have been defeats. Of course, four of those losses came to teams currently in the top six in the league (Oxford, Slough, Chelmsford and Solent) but nonetheless, those are teams that the Phantoms would have wanted to compete with for a playoff berth this season. While team veterans Conor Pollard and Shaun Yardley (17 points each) and newcomer Nick Alley (13 points) form a dangerous top forward line, the drop-off after those three is very noticeable – the Phantoms simply need more secondary scoring if they want to start winning some games and moving up the table.

The Huskies have won two and lost six so far, with the start of the season not exactly going as planned. A tight win over Guildford, and an 8-1 win over London rivals Lee Valley, are all they have to show for the season thus far and they sit in 12th place in the table at the moment. We already mentioned Peterborough’s lack of scoring, but the Huskies are also struggling for goals right now; Seb Downing and Stuart Appleby have scored four each, while Stephen Woodford, import Gheorghe Dragomir and player-general manager Lee Mercer have three each, but there is no consistent goalscorer on the team right now – as evidenced by the fact that the Huskies are scoring just 3.25 goals per game on average. Discipline is also a concern, as they average almost 50 penalty minutes per game too.

This could be the perfect game for Peterborough to get back to winning ways as they finally face a team that are not in the top six, but it could also be a great opportunity for the Huskies to find their scoring touch against an off-form Phantoms side. This could be a fascinating encounter.

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions vs Bracknell Hornets

The Lions are still bottom of the table and still awaiting their first win of the season, but showed more promising signs in their last two games as they went down 8-1 at home to Haringey and 10-2 on the road to Cardiff. In both of those games, they limited their opponents to two goals each in the first and third periods, with only the middle period of each game seeing a flurry of goals. Especially in Cardiff where they travelled with a very short bench, the Lions did not fold over in the last period and let in a glut of goals as in several games earlier in the season, instead keeping the result at a respectable level. They also handed a debut to forward Gus Zimmerman against Cardiff, and he tallied two assists on his debut, while Michael Jacobs scored his first goal for the team since the 2008-09 season after many years out of the game – the team will hope it is the first of many.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they cannot build on those promising signs with a game against a lesser opponent, instead welcoming fourth placed Bracknell to the Den on Sunday. The Hornets will have already faced Cardiff the previous evening, but will still be considered red-hot favourites against the Lions whatever happens. The Hornets won 11-1 at Lee Valley last season, and will hope to score lots of goals here and continue to cement their place in the top four of the league standings.

The focus for the Lions in this game has to be on keeping the score down and continue to make improvements ahead of more winnable games to come. If Bracknell play a smart game and don’t get over-confident, the Lions are very unlikely to get anything from this one.

Oxford City Stars vs Chelmsford Chieftains

The fans in Oxford will have a big top-of-the-table clash to enjoy on Sunday evening, as the reigning league champions host undefeated Chelmsford.

The City Stars have a win-loss record of 6-1 to begin the season, surprisingly losing to Guildford a few weeks ago after winning their first six games on the bounce. They sit second, six points off Chelmsford but with two games in hand. So a win here is crucial for Oxford, despite this game coming relatively early in the season. The champions haven’t quite reached the heights of last season yet, currently scoring 7.1 goals per game on average compared to last season’s barely believable figure of 8.6 per game. Their 4-1 win over Haringey a few weeks ago was surprisingly narrow, whilst they only put two goals past Guildford in that 2-3 loss last time out despite firing 22 shots on the Phoenix net in the last period alone. So there is definite room for improvement.

On the other side of the coin, the Chieftains really don’t have much room for improvement – statistically at least. With a record of played nine, won nine, and an average of 9.7 goals scored per game, the Chieftains are on fire this season. However a few caveats: they have played eight of their nine games to date at home, and they have only played one game against a side in the top top six – and that was their narrowest win to date, 7-6 over Slough. This game will be a huge test for the Chieftains, whose top seven forwards – Ross Brears, James Ayling, Bradley Moore, Courtney Grant, Thomas Wilson and the recently-returned Bartlett twins Cameron and Grant – have all already passed the ten point mark (and in Brears’ case, the 40 point mark(!)), but whose defence has not been truly tested in many of the games they have played to date.

Games between these two sides last season failed to live up to the hype, with Oxford winning 4-0 at the Riverside in Chelmsford and then 11-4 at Oxpens Road – however this game looks to be a lot closer considering the run the Chieftains are on. Expect fireworks in this one, and it really could go either way.

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Guildford Phoenix

Swindon are still looking for their first point of the season, and will hope they can upset Guildford at the Link Centre in order to get it. The Wildcats have lost all six of their games to date, and only sit above Lee Valley on goal difference. They have also struggled to raise a team for their last two away trips, taking eight skaters to Chelmsford and nine to Invicta – with netminders Liam Maguire and Tyler Perre preventing the scorelines from getting ugly in both of those games. However in their two home games to date, the Wildcats have iced benches of 17 skaters, so it really is hard to predict what kind of team they will ice for any one game.

Guildford’s season has been topsy-turvy to say the least, starting with a win at Peterborough  before two defeats against Chelmsford and Haringey, two more wins against Basingstoke and – surprisingly – Oxford, and then a penalty shootout defeat in Romford last weekend. This puts the Phoenix ninth in the table on seven points, but it must be stated that they have not played a single home game yet this season, with next weekend’s visit of Chelmsford being the first time a team will visit the Spectrum this season. If the Phoenix can end their seven game road trip to start the season with a positive win-loss record, that should give them the confidence they need leading into the many home games they have to come. Their top scorer at the moment is Josh Abbott, who has 8+5=13 in just five games, and he will look to continue that run in Wiltshire on Sunday.

The flow of this game could really depend on how big a bench the Wildcats can raise. With a full bench, they could be hard for the Phoenix to break down; but with a small number of skaters, the Phoenix should have a simpler task ahead of them. Either way, Guildford are the favourites in this one.


482days will have #gamedaylive updates from around the league on Sunday as well as live match night twitter from the table-topping NIHL2 South clash between Oxford and Chelmsford.

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


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Solent Devils vs Raiders NIHL2
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Basingstoke Buffalo
17:45 Slough Jets vs Invicta Mustangs
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Cardiff Fire
18:15 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Haringey Huskies

Sunday
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Bracknell Hornets
18:15 Oxford City Stars vs Chelmsford Chieftains
18:15 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Guildford Phoenix


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 26th, 2018 by Laurence Thorn

The NIHL South 2 season continues this weekend with six games on the schedule – four on Saturday and two on Sunday.

The current top two teams in the league – Chelmsford and Oxford – do not play this weekend, although in the case of Chelmsford they were supposed to play away at Lee Valley on Saturday before the game was postponed this week.

Surprise package Slough – who beat Solent twice last weekend and currently sit in third place – are in action in an intriguing clash against Cardiff, while fourth placed Bristol welcome a Bracknell side who are directly below them in the table. And Solent themselves will look to get back to winning ways as they visit Peterborough on Sunday.

Saturday

Invicta Mustangs vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Two of the smaller sides in the division face off in Kent on Saturday, with 12th place Invicta hosting winless Swindon who lie in 14th.

The Mustangs have had a tough start to the season, winning only one game against bottom side Lee Valley and losing the other five. As is often the case with the Mustangs, scoring enough goals is an issue – they have 21 goals in six games so far, but nine of those came in just one game against the Lions, meaning they have scored just 12 in the other five games. It’s tough to win games in this division when scoring at such a rate, even with goaltender Matthew Passmore playing an impressive season to date and keeping his side in games for as long as possible. They will hope to replicate their scoring explosion against Lee Valley when they face the Wildcats.

Swindon have played five, lost five so far; although all of their games so far have come against teams that currently sit in the top six positions in the league table, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how good they are. Especially last weekend when they travelled to Chelmsford with just eight skaters and suffered an expected heavy defeat – although netminders Tyler Perre and Liam Maguire did an excellent job in that game in preventing the scoreline getting even higher than 11-0. Like the Mustangs, the Wildcats have also struggled to score goals, bagging just eight in five games, with the caveat again that they have come up against exclusively strong sides so far this season.

An interesting game this, with both sides looking to make a statement and start to move off the foot of the table. Invicta are probably slight favourites on paper, but it will be fascinating to see how the Wildcats do in their first game against a team that they have a realistic chance of defeating.

Raiders NIHL2 vs Guildford Phoenix

Two teams with 3-2 winning records meet in Romford, as the Raiders host the Phoenix.

The Raiders took a comfortable 6-2 win over Invicta last Saturday, racing out to a 4-1 lead before the halfway mark of the game and cruising home from there despite a late consolation goal from the Mustangs with less than two minutes left. Brandon Webster (three goals) and Alan Lack (three assists) starred in that game, while netminder Brad Windebank stopped 33 of 35 shots. The Raiders are now on a two game winning streak, having also beaten Haringey two weekends ago. And they will be looking to extend that this weekend and get on a real winning run.

Guildford pulled off one of the – if not THE – biggest shocks of the season last weekend, winning 3-2 away at reigning league champions, and previously undefeated on the season, Oxford. Josh Abbott bagged two goals and one assist, while former Guildford Flames EPL netminder James Hadfield stopped 51 of 53 shots in only his second game for the Phoenix. In the last period, Oxford outshot Guildford heavily 22-5, yet could not get a single shot past Hadfield in the period and the Phoenix came away with a famous win. That should give them confidence for their trip to Romford after a slightly rocky start – and it’s worth mentioning again that Guildford haven’t even played a single home game yet, with their first seven fixtures this season all being on the road.

This is a very tough game to call, with both sides coming off two wins and high in confidence. This is one not to be missed.

Slough Jets vs Cardiff Fire

High-flying Slough look to continue their quest to reach the playoffs this season, as they host an in-form Cardiff side at the Hangar.

Slough had a fantastic weekend last time out – not only beating reigning playoff champions Solent 3-1 at home, but also taking a massive 8-3 away win on the south coast in the return fixture just 24 hours later. These two victories extended the Berkshire side’s winning run to five on the bounce, also vaulting them up to third in the table. The Jets have now won five on the bounce, scoring 44(!) goals in those five games and conceding just 15 in the same timeframe. We highlight them every week, but player-coach Lukas Smital – who has 31 points from seven games – and his son, netminder Matt Smital – who boasts a save percentage of 90.05% on the season – are two of the key figures in the Jets revolution and will look to keep that momentum going against a Cardiff side that the Jets have already beaten 7-2 in South Wales earlier on this season.

Cardiff are also on good form right now – since the aforementioned 2-7 defeat to Slough, they have won three on the bounce including an insane 10-9 overtime victory against Bracknell and a 5-2 win against Bristol – both opponents currently sitting in the top five in the league standings. Key men for the Fire at the moment are Jackson Price, who has 7+5=12 from five games so far, and Hungarian-born Tamás Éliás who has 5+5=10 in the same timeframe. Young netminder Lewis Davies has also been fantastic so far, putting in a save percentage of 93.16% in the games he has played.

This is yet another fascinating tie on a Saturday that is full of them – both teams have a lot of momentum and confidence right now, so any result is possible here. However the fact that Slough already won 7-2 in Cardiff earlier in the season probably gives them the edge in this one.

Bracknell Hornets vs Bristol Pitbulls

Fifth plays fourth in another intriguing tie on Saturday, as Bracknell welcome Bristol to the Hive.

Bracknell had a nightmare weekend on the 13th and 14th of this month, first going down 9-6 to Oxford at home before then losing an overtime thriller in Cardiff by a score of 10-9. Conceding 19 goals in a weekend is definitely something the Hornets cannot repeat this season if they want to match their ambitions of challenging at the top of the table, and they will hope this clash against Bristol will enable them to get back to winning ways. Of course, they did score 15 goals on the aforementioned weekend, which would usually be enough to take two wins – so there are positives there. Steve Fisher is on red-hot form for example, already scoring 5+10=15 from their five games to date.

Bristol may have lost 5-2 to Cardiff last week, but they still hold a winning record on the season (four wins, two regulation losses and one overtime loss) and sit fourth in the table as things stand. Steve Osman leads the internal scoring charts with 5+6=11 from just five games, while  Jamie Newton (5+5=10) and player-coach Richard Hargreaves (1+9=10) have also scored double-figure points already. One major strength for the Pitbulls is the depth in the side – 15 different players have already scored at least one goal this season, an impressive number.

It’s an overused phrase when describing this Saturday’s games, but this is yet another intriguing tie with no obvious winner. A win for both sides would be massive as they look to establish themselves in the upper echelons of the table, so expect an intense game.

Sunday

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Solent Devils

Two sides look to put disappointing defeats behind them on Sunday, as sixth placed Solent visit Peterborough, who currently lie in 10th.

Peterborough’s season has very much not gone to plan so far – last season they were the best of the “classic” NIHL2 sides, while this season they currently sit behind the likes of Slough, Bristol and Cardiff in an unusually low 10th place.  They have only won one game in regulation, that coming against Lee Valley, while they also beat Bristol in overtime. Apart from that, it’s been four defeats for the Phantoms, including losing the last two on the bounce to Slough and Chelmsford. And the fixture list doesn’t get any easier, with the visit of a Solent side that will be desperate to atone for last weekend’s double defeat to Slough.

We said in last week’s preview that, even if Solent lost Saturday’s game in Slough, they would be the favourites at home on Sunday. As it transpired, Sunday’s home defeat on the south coast was much heavier than the one Solent suffered away from home on Saturday, with the Devils losing the two games by an aggregate score of 11-4. That was their first real test of the season after three less challenging games to start with – so the Devils will now be keen to bounce back from last weekend and send a message to the rest of the league with a big result in Peterborough.

And with the roster the Devils have on paper – bolstered by the return of Mitchell Murray who played his first games of the season against Slough – they should have enough to win against a struggling Peterborough side.

Cardiff Fire vs Lee Valley Lions

Cardiff will be the only team to play two games this weekend, as they follow up Saturday’s trip to Slough with a home game against bottom side Lee Valley on Sunday.

One interesting storyline in the game is the presence of forward Chris Fox in the Cardiff team – he spent five seasons with the Lions, scoring 67 points in total in 75 league games for the club, but is now a member of the Fire roster. He scored on his debut against Invicta, and has also added an assist to take his tally to 1+1=2 from three games to date. It will be interesting to see how he does against his former club in this one.

The Lions were also meant to play two games this weekend, but Saturday’s clash with Chelmsford has been postponed so this will be their only game of the weekend. Lee Valley are still winless, however showed an improved performance last Saturday in the London derby against Haringey, going down 8-1 to the Huskies – which was the least amount of goals they have conceded in a game so far this season. Joshua Irish grabbed the goal for the Lions in that game.

Teams traditionally find the trip to Cardiff tough, and especially with the game being on a Sunday night, we will have to see how large a roster the Lions can bring to Wales. The Fire have to be considered big favourites in this game.


We’ll have updates on all of the games this weekend. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

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


Fixture information

Saturday
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats
17:15 Raiders NIHL2 vs Guildford Phoenix
17:45 Slough Jets vs Cardiff Fire
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Bristol Pitbulls

Sunday
17:30 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Solent Devils
18:00 Cardiff Fire vs Lee Valley Lions


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 26th, 2018 by Nancy Carpenter

Seven NIHL1 South league games to look at this weekend.  We also have our first two games which will not be doubling up as cup games as Streatham host Bees and Peterborough host the Raiders for the second time this season.

League action
Saturday sees a top of the table clash between league leaders Bracknell and 2nd place Streatham.  A regulation win for the South London side would see them top the table, although Bees would then have the opportunity to retake the lead on Sunday when they host Basingstoke.  The teams have already met twice in the league this season with each of them winning their home fixture, although both games have been tight with Bees winning the first encounter 3-2 when Josh Smith scored with just 48 seconds left in regulation. The return fixture a week later saw the Redhawks take a 4-2 win to inflict the first league defeat on the Berkshire club this season. Bees have had 2 losses on the spin now and if they want to stay in the hunt as serious titles contenders they need to get back to winning ways. Of interest, this is also the first league game this season which doesn’t double-up as a cup qualification game due to the teams already having played each other both home and away.

Swindon suffered their first defeat on home ice last Saturday, although they did bounce back to tie the series against the Redhawks on Sunday. The Wiltshire side host 9th place Milton Keynes and will very much want to get their home record back on track. From all accounts the key to success for Streatham was in keeping their discipline and restricting the very strong Wildcats PP. It will be interesting to see if Thunder can achieve anything if they can stick to the same tactics.

Struggling Dynamos have a tough double header this weekend as they travel to Basingstoke on Saturday before hosting Peterborough on Sunday.  Both the Bison and Phantoms have had strong starts to the season in the league with just one loss each, while the Mos have yet to find a way to win. The loss of the Bartlett twins a few weeks ago hasn’t helped matters for the Kent club who need to add some goal-scoring talent if they want to start making an impact on the league.

Raiders also have a double header this weekend as they travel to Peterborough on Saturday before hosting Swindon on Sunday.  The Romford side finally put a break on their losing streak last weekend with a hard fought 3-2 win in MK, surviving a mini-comeback from Thunder after initially cruising to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Raiders have recruited strongly this season and very much want to better (or at the very least equal) last season’s top 4 finish. But they are going to need to be able to take points from the others with top half ambitions which very much includes the Wildcats and the Phantoms.  They have of course already beaten the Phantoms in Peterborough, and are the only team so far to do so – so the credentials are there if they can repeat that, but they will certainly want to do better than the 6-0 shut-out they suffered two weeks ago against Swindon.

Our final game on Sunday sees Bracknell and Basingstoke meet for the first time this season. After the events of the summer, I think it’s safe to say there is no love lost between these sides and both sets of players will have a point they want to prove. Their relative positions in the league (1st vs 6th) may be deceptive due to number of games played and Bison actually have a higher win percentage of the two so far (80% vs 75%).  This is definitely a game worth keeping an eye on!

 


482days will have live game updates from around the league this weekend as well as live match night twitter from Invicta vs Peterborough on Sunday.

Looking for info on the NIHL2 South games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondent Laurence Thorn takes a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Fixture information

Saturday
17:30 Streatham IHC vs Bracknell Bees
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Milton Keynes Thunder
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Invicta Dynamos
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Raiders

Sunday
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Peterborough Phantoms
17:30 Raiders vs Swindon Wildcats
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Basingstoke Bison


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 19th, 2018 by Nancy Carpenter

Six games across NIHL1 South this weekend means a half the teams get a rare day off, but everyone is in action at least once and we’ve got some great match-ups to look at.

League action

We’ll start with the double-header between Streatham and Swindon, who meet for the first time in the regular season this weekend. Streatham have been on a great run recently, dropping just one point in the last 5 games which has propelled them up to second in the table.  They will be full of confidence as a result,  But Wildcats are going to be a big challenge.  The pre-season favourites for the NIHL1 title this season seem to have settled much more quickly this season and their home form especially has been imperious. The two sides did meet in a pair of pre-season challenge games back at the start of September, with the Wildcats taking both wins, but as we’ve said before: pre-season games are not always the greatest indicator, so we’re not going to read too much into those results.

Saturday also sees top of the table Bees host the Phantoms.  It’s a first meeting between the sides this season and both have had good starts to the league season so far.  Phantoms have dropped just one point, in an OT loss to Raiders a few weeks ago while Bees have a 4-point cushion at the top of the table.  Bees have the home advantage and will want to get back into the winning habit after an OT loss against Swindon last Sunday, but Phantoms have shown themselves to be tough opponents again this season.

On Sunday Phantoms then host the struggling Dynamos who have had a tough time in the league so far. They were so close to getting their first league points last weekend after a spirited comeback from 3-0 down to level the game against MK to 3-3.  But they just couldn’t hold on and saw a heart-breaker of a goal scored with 23 seconds left in regulation to leave them out of the points once again. Peterborough with be tough opponents but Mos never say die attitude will mean they will give everything again to get something out of this.

Saturday also sees Bison host MK, who will have been delighted with that first win of the season last weekend and will want that to be the start of a winning streak for them.  Having failed to qualify in the Autumn Cup though, Bison will be going all out in the league now (especially in these early games which also double up for cup qualification).  While the team is very different from last season with wholesale changes from the squad that won the treble, they have started pretty well in the league so far with only one narrow loss to their name.

Finally, MK then host the Raiders on Sunday. Raiders will not have been happy with their form of late.  The club has ambitions to better last seasons impressive fourth place finish and the four losses on the bounce over the last two weekends is something they need to reverse if they want to realise those ambitions. The two sides have met before with Raiders very much on top in an 8-0 win in front of a jubilant home crowd, but I’d be very surprised if we saw the same sort of scoreline again this weekend in MK.


482days is taking Saturday off this week – we’ll send out an update of all scores and league tables either late in the evening or Sunday morning.  On Sunday we’ll have our usual #gamedaylive updates from around the league.

Looking for info on the NIHL2 South games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondent Laurence Thorn takes a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Fixture information

Saturday
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Peterborough Phantoms
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Streatham IHC
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Milton Keynes Thunder

Sunday
17:30 Peterborough Phantoms vs Invicta Dynamos
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Swindon Wildcats
19:00 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Raiders


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

 

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 19th, 2018 by Laurence Thorn

The NIHL South 2 season rolls on this weekend, with eight games in total – five on Saturday and three on Sunday.

The Chelmsford Chieftains play a home double header this weekend, with these two games being the last games they will play at home for quite some time – refurbishment on the Riverside rink begins next month.

We also have a rare occurrence of back-to-back games over one weekend, with Solent and Slough facing each other on both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday

Bristol Pitbulls vs Cardiff Fire

Two in-form sides face off in Oxford as third placed side Bristol host a Cardiff team coming off back-to-back wins last weekend.

The Pitbulls dispatched local rivals Swindon 9-3 last weekend to extend their early season record to four wins, one OT loss and just one regulation loss. This means the Pitbulls are flying high in third place; and there was even better news last week as it was confirmed that the planning application for the long-awaited new rink in Bristol has been approved. Hopefully by next season, the Pitbulls will be able to return home rather than playing their home games in Oxford as they have done for the past six seasons.

But back to the present – the Pitbulls have scored 27 goals in their six games so far, with the points being spread around nicely between Jamie Newton and Steve Osman (both 5+5=10), player-coach Richard Hargreaves (nine assists), Australian import forward David Manning (1+6=7) and Olly Shone and Nathan Chilcott with six points each. As the other end of the ice, both Andrew Leckie and Ross Miller have put up strong numbers in goal, playing a big part in the Pitbulls’ strong season to date.

Cardiff had a record of played two, lost two until last weekend – before taking two big wins to move up to 9th in the table. Firstly they took a 4-2 road win in Invicta, with goals coming from Tamas Elias, Jackson Price, Elis Sheppard and former Lee Valley Lions forward Chris Fox on his debut; before a quite stunning 10-9(!) overtime win over a fancied Bracknell Hornets at Ice Arena Wales on Sunday.

Jackson Price was the star of the show against the Hornets with five goals, earning a rather snazzy jacket from coach Chris Douglas as a reward for his efforts. Further goals against Bracknell came from Tamas Elias and Jordan Powell (two each) and defenceman Phil Manny.

This game between the two sides is very hard to call, and should be a close one between two teams who look evenly-matched on paper. Any result is possible here.

Raiders NIHL2 vs Invicta Mustangs

It’s only October, but the Raiders and Mustangs will already play each other for the second and final time in the regular season this Saturday, as the two sides meet at the Sapphire in Romford.

Their meeting earlier this season in Kent was the first competitive game of the season for both sides, with the Raiders coming out as 6-3 winners with goals from Tommy Huggett, Kamil Kinkor (two each), George Gell and Alan Lack; while Joseph Bliss, Thomas Mallett and Jake Stedman netted for Invicta. Since then, the Raiders have lost to Bristol and Chelmsford before beating Haringey to sit ninth in the table, while the Mustangs’ only win to date came against bottom side Lee Valley, with Invicta sitting 11th in the table at the moment.

The Raiders’ previous game was a feisty affair against Haringey last Saturday. There were 116 penalty minutes in total – 82 of them being taken by Haringey – as the Raiders won 8-4 with goals from Sam Roberts, Alan Lack (two each), Brandon Webster, Kamil Kinkor, George Gell and Daniel Hitchings.

The Mustangs meanwhile lost 4-2 at home to Cardiff on Saturday, with Joseph Bliss and Luke Thirkettle bagging the two goals and Matthew Passmore putting in yet another top quality performance in goal as he stopped 73 of 77 shots he faced.

On paper, the Raiders edge this game – but if Passmore can continue the inspired form he has shown recently, then the Mustangs will feel they can get something out of this game.

Lee Valley Lions vs Haringey Huskies

Lee Valley are still looking for their first point of the season, and will hope to get it in the London derby against the Huskies on Saturday.

The Lions had a large turnover of players in the summer, and as of yet the new group of players haven’t found their feet. Five losses from five games with seven goals scored and 71 conceded doesn’t make great reading – but the Lions have always raised themselves for games against Haringey in the past, with the derbies usually being close games regardless of the two teams’ respective positions in the league standings. The Lions will hope for a similar raising of their game this Saturday to try to get something from the match.

The Huskies haven’t had a great start to the season either, winning one and losing six games to sit 13th in the table. They have also not had great discipline, taking 355 penalty minutes in their seven games so far (over 50 per game) to “lead” the league in that category. The Huskies’ main goal scoring threats are the quartet of Seb Downing, Stephen Woodford, Stuart Appleby and Lee Mercer who lead the team with three goals apiece; while netminders David Wride and Harry Buckingham have put in good performances this season despite their side’s win-loss record.

If the Huskies stay focused and disciplined, they are the favourites to win this game against a Lions side that is still looking to find chemistry in the line-up. But in derby games you never quite know what might happen, so it will be interesting to see how this one unfolds.

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Undefeated Chelmsford play their penultimate home game before the Riverside rink is closed for refurbishment, as they welcome winless Swindon to Essex on Saturday.

The Chieftains have made an impressive start to the season, winning seven games out of seven with a goal difference of +52. Although it should be pointed out that six of those seven games were at home. Veteran forward Ross Brears continues to put up scarcely believable numbers, moving on to 19+21=40 to lead the league in scoring by quite some distance. And with the return of the Bartlett twins after a brief spell in NIHL1 with Invicta, the Chieftains’ offence has got even stronger in the last week.

Swindon are at the other end of the table from Chelmsford, having lost all four of their games to date with a goal difference of -29. They have only managed to score two goals per game, compared to Chelmsford’s average of almost 10. Top scorer for the Wildcats so far is Eliot Randall, the forward bagging three of his side’s eight goals to date.

This game looks like a foregone conclusion, and it would be a big surprise if the Wildcats got anything from it. Expect the Chelmsford juggernaut to roll on in this one.

Slough Jets vs Solent Devils

The Jets and Devils play what feels like a mini playoff series this weekend, with a Slough home game on Saturday being followed by a game in Gosport on Sunday.

The Jets are on fire right now: player-coach Lukas Smital’s team have won their last 3 games by a total score of 33-11 after losing their first two games, and took a big 8-5 win over Peterborough last Saturday to send a statement to the rest of the league. The Jets are unbeaten in their two home games so far this season, and should prove to be a good test for the Devils.

Devils player-coach Alex Murray will be looking forward to that test this weekend; with all due respect to the three sides the undefeated Devils have played so far (Invicta, Swindon and Lee Valley), none of those teams were a real challenge for last season’s playoff champions. Solent used last Saturday’s 13-0 win over the Lions to give senior debuts to several of their U18 players, but this weekend against Slough we can probably expect the Devils “old guard” of Murray, Richard Facey and Drew Campbell to get the bulk of the ice time.

A very interesting game this one – although Slough have won three on the bounce, the playoff champions are another proposition entirely. And after three not-so-challenging games for the Devils, how will they cope with the likes of Lukas Smital, Sean Norris and Sam Talbot who have all started the season on fire for the Jets? This is a game not to be missed.

Sunday

Solent Devils vs Slough Jets

As if Saturday’s game wasn’t exciting enough, the two sides meet again less than 24 hours later on Sunday.

The Devils are notoriously difficult to beat in Gosport – they only lost one home game in the whole of last season, that coming against Chelmsford early in the campaign. Even if Slough managed to get something from the previous night’s game, you would bet on Solent being the favourites in this one.

These two sides actually faced off at last season’s playoff quarter final stage, playing a single leg in Gosport with the Devils coming out as 6-3 winners. Goals for Solent in that game came from Drew Campbell (x2), Richard Facey, Alex Murray, Mark Pitts and Ben Lock – all of whom remain with the Devils this season. Of course, the Devils went on to lift the playoff championship after that win. The Devils also beat the Jets 14-3 in Gosport during the regular season, back in January of this year.

The Jets look to be a much-improved side this season though; new forwards Sam Talbot and Sean Norris have both started the season really well, so well in fact that both have signed two-way deals with the NIHL1’s Milton Keynes Thunder. And Jets player-coach Lukas Smital – who missed that playoff quarter final last season – continues to put up superb numbers to lead his team from the front, while his son Matt has formed a strong goaltending tandem with Brett Shepherd. So this season’s Jets side is definitely a different proposition to the side from last season, and should compete hard on Saturday.

Nonetheless, the Devils usually have the advantage when they play at home – especially when their “big three” of Murray, Facey and Campbell are all firing. Expect Slough to keep this one close, but Solent would have to be considered slight favourites here.

Oxford City Stars vs Guildford Phoenix

Reigning league champions Oxford look to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they host an inconsistent Guildford side at Oxpens Road.

Oxford have picked up where they left off last season, winning six games out of six so far with a goal difference of +30. They made a huge early statement in the title race last Saturday, winning 9-6 in Bracknell against one of the other sides tipped to challenge for the league title this season. Joe Edwards bagged a hat-trick against Bracknell, while Josh Oliver, Tom Davis, Michal Oravec, Lee Richardson, Dax Hedges and Darren Elliott got the other goals.

One noticeable thing is that three of those goalscorers in the big win over the Hornets (Davis, Oravec and Richardson) are newcomers to the club for this campaign. Oxford already had the best offence in the league last season, scoring a whopping 223 goals in 26 games, and they have added even more firepower this season to an already stacked roster – meaning it’s hard to look past them when it comes to predicting this season’s champion, however early in the season it is.

Guildford were last season’s surprise package, finishing sixth and reaching the playoff semi-finals. Their 2018-19 campaign hasn’t quite got going yet however, as they currently sit seventh with a record of two wins and two losses. An impressive 5-2 victory against Peterborough on opening night was followed by disappointing losses to Haringey and Bristol; but they at least got back to winning ways last Sunday with a narrow 3-2 win over Basingstoke. Former Guildford Flames EPL netminder James Hadfield made his debut for the Phoenix against Basingstoke, stopping 19 of 21 shots, while Josh Abbott scored a hat-trick to clinch victory for his team.

It does have to be mentioned though that the Phoenix have played all their games away from home so far – their first home game of the season will be on the 10th of November against Chelmsford.

With the Stars scoring goals for fun and the Phoenix not yet finding their feet in the new season, the likelihood of a Stars victory is high here. But we shouldn’t forget that Guildford took Oxford to overtime last November at Oxpens Road, ultimately losing 3-2 but gaining a point from that game. The Phoenix will hope they can cause a similar upset one year on.

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms

The Chieftains’ final home game for many months takes place on Sunday, as they welcome a frustrating Peterborough side to the Riverside.

As previously mentioned, the Chieftains are unbeaten in seven games to start the season; and while Ross Brears is garnering most of the headlines for the 40 points he has bagged already, we shouldn’t forget James Ayling (9+15=24), former Peterborough forward Bradley Moore (10+9=19), Courtney Grant (9+4=13) or Thomas Wilson (1+11=12), all of whom have hit double figures in terms of points for Chelmsford this season.

Peterborough saw a few key players leave in the summer including the aforementioned Moore, and so far their season hasn’t gone exactly to plan. On the positive side, they beat Lee Valley as well as taking an overtime win over Bristol and running Oxford close in a 4-6 defeat; but on the other hand they suffered disappointing losses to Guildford and Slough to leave them in an unusual position of eighth in the table with only four points from a possible ten. Conor Pollard and Shaun Yardley have picked up where they left off last season in terms of scoring, while newcomer Nick Alley – who joined from Lee Valley in the summer – has also put up good numbers so far. But they need more secondary scoring in order to start winning more games and moving up the table.

These two sides met over two legs in last season’s playoff quarter-finals, and to say it didn’t go well for Peterborough would be an understatement; Chelmsford won 9-4 in Peterborough before taking an even more dominant 8-1 win in the return leg – making an aggregate score of 17-5 in favour of Chelmsford.

While the score may not be so high this time, Chelmsford look to be favourites for this game considering the form they are on – plus the fact that they will surely be motivated to put in a big performance in the Riverside’s “farewell game” before being refurbished.


We’ll have updates on all of the games on Sunday as we get them (Saturday we’re taking a day off – sorry). Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

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


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Cardiff Fire
17:15 Raiders NIHL2 vs Invicta Mustangs
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Haringey Huskies
17:45 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats
17:45 Slough Jets vs Solent Devils

Sunday
17:00 Solent Devils vs Slough Jets
18:15 Oxford City Stars vs Guildford Phoenix
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 12th, 2018 by Nancy Carpenter

With the group stages of the Autumn Cup done, it’s now all about the league (and the NIHL1S cup qualification) this weekend. All 8 teams have double headers this weekend meaning that we’ve got a full pack of 8 games.

I do have to apologise though as this is going to be a very brief article this week as real life is intruding and I have a work crisis going on at the moment!

League action

Some really exciting match-ups this weekend.  Due to the aforementioned time constraints I’m just going to pull out a couple to discuss.

The pick of the games on Saturday sees defending champions Basingstoke hosting the team they beat to the title so narrowly last season.  Both teams have seen quite a few changes over the summer, and this will be an interesting battle to see where they stand against each other this season.

Sunday we’ve got two games I’m going to concentrate on.

Firstly, the two pre-season title favourites go head to head as Bracknell host Swindon. Bees bounced back last weekend with two narrow wins against Raiders and Thunder to not just keep them at the top of the table, but to extend their lead to 4 points. Meanwhile, Wildcats recorded a double-shut-out of a depleted Dynamos side to start their league campaign.  These two sides did meet in the pre-season period at the start of September with the Wildcats taking wins in both games, but Wildcats would be foolish to put too much confidence in that result as neither team will have been completely clicking at that point.

At the other end of the table, Invicta host Milton Keynes. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season and will have been eyeing up this fixture as a ‘must win’ to try and get their seasons off the ground properly. Mos lost the Bartlett twins last week, who left citing work commitment issues in order to return to NIHL2 Chelmsford and that’s left a bit of an offensive hole that will need filling if they want to compete well in the league this season. For Thunder, the league campaign started relatively well as they picked up their first point in the opening weekend with an OT loss to Streatham.  But since then they have struggled to match the depth of the wealthier clubs above them.

 


482days will have updates from all the #oneNIHL games across the weekend and we’ll be live tweeting from the NIHL2 South game between Bracknell Hornets and Oxford City Stars

Looking for info on the NIHL2 South games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondent Laurence Thorn takes a look at all the action in that league this weekend.


Fixture information

Saturday

17:30 Streatham IHC vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Raiders (NIHL1)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1)
18:45 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)

Sunday

17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Milton Keynes Thunder (NIHL1)
17:30 Peterborough Phantoms vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)
17:30 Raiders vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Swindon Wildcats (NIHL1)


Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League

 

Posted in Weekend Preview

October 12th, 2018 by Laurence Thorn

There are bumper total of nine NIHL South 2 games on the schedule for this upcoming weekend, with five being played on Saturday and four on Sunday.

The key game of the weekend takes place on Saturday – the Bracknell Hornets welcome the Oxford City Stars to the Hive, as last season’s third placed team faces off against the reigning league champions.

Saturday

Solent Devils vs Lee Valley Lions

A winless Lee Valley side have a tough task on Saturday, as they visit Gosport to take on the reigning playoff champions, the Solent Devils.

The Devils are unbeaten so far this season, although they have only played two games to date. In those two games, they have scored a total of 23 goals and conceded only four; with Alex Murray bagging 15 points and Richard Facey one behind on 14 points from those two games.

The Devils also announced the re-signing of Canadian import forward Drew Campbell ahead of last Sunday’s 10-2 win in Swindon, as he comes out of a brief retirement to bolster the club’s scoring ranks even more. Campbell had 2 assists in the game against Swindon, and it shouldn’t take him long to hit top form once again.

The Lions suffered a 0-9 home defeat to the Invicta Mustangs last Saturday, as they failed to put the puck past a red-hot Matthew Passmore in the Mustangs net and gave up too many soft goals at the other end. The Lions’ cause was not helped by losing both Joe Weare and James O’Brien to injury during the game, and we will have to see what kind of numbers the East London side will take to Gosport on Saturday – they have been rather short-benched in all four games so far this season.

Anything other than a Devils win would be a major shock here – expect the likes of Murray, Facey and Campbell to combine for a lot of points in this one.

Invicta Mustangs vs Cardiff Fire

Another winless side makes a road trip on Saturday, as Cardiff travel to Kent to face the Mustangs.

Invicta broke their duck on the season last Saturday as they knocked off Lee Valley 9-0. As mentioned above, netminder Matthew Passmore was on great form while Aaron Ferris bagged a hat-trick and Bradley Gutridge scored a brace in an impressive win for the Mustangs – especially considering they were missing some players who had been called up by the NIHL1 Dynamos.

Cardiff have played two, lost two so far; player-coach Disco Douglas’ side haven’t quite got going yet, going down 3-4 to Basingstoke and then 2-7 to Slough, both in South Wales. Their first road game of the season also sounds like a tricky one, as they travel to a Mustangs side high on confidence after last weekend’s victory. The Fire need more goals from their forwards, with only five goals having been scored in the two games so far – on paper, they do have the firepower to start doing this, but time will tell if they are able to kickstart their season this weekend.

This is an interesting game, with the Mustangs looking to win two in a row and the Fire still looking for their first win of the season. Any result is possible here.

Raiders NIHL2 vs Haringey Huskies

The Sapphire in Romford will host an interesting game on Saturday, as Raiders 2 host the Huskies for the first time ever.

While it is the first time these particular incarnations of Romford and Haringey sides meet, there will be a lot of familiarity on both sides; Raiders players Sam Roberts, Matt Brown and Robbie Veares are all ex-Haringey, while Jack Lee, Ryan Payne, Mark Robinson, Seb Downing, Lee Mercer, Ben Osborne, Sam Park, Stephen Woodford and the injured Ali Band have all played for Romford/London Raiders sides in the past, and are now on the Haringey roster.

This should lead to an intense game, especially as both sides have already each experienced a heated game against Chelmsford in recent weeks, so have shown that they are not afraid of the rough stuff should it be required. The Raiders went down 1-7 in Chelmsford in their last game, Bailey Chittock scoring their only goal in an ill-tempered affair that saw a total of 106 penalty minutes being handed out.

The Huskies went down 3-9 to the Chieftains earlier in the season (with a total of 112 penalty minutes being handed out…) but since then have taken their first win with a 3-2 victory over Guildford, before losing last weekend to Oxford by the highly respectable score of 1-4. David Wride stopped 49 of 53 shots in that one as the Huskies frustrated the City Stars, while Seb Downing grabbed the only goal for Haringey.

This game is a hard one to call, with both rosters containing a lot of firepower. It should be an intense game, whatever the result.

Slough Jets vs Peterborough Phantoms

Another fascinating game faces off on Saturday as Slough welcome Peterborough to their newly-refurbished rink.

The two games between these sides last season couldn’t have been more different; Peterborough smashed Slough 15-0 at home last October, with Clint Herring and Shaun Yardley bagging eight points each and Slough netminder Disco Douglas stopping 52 of 67 shots. However in the return game at Slough’s tiny temporary rink, the Jets dispatched the Phantoms 4-1, with Slough player-coach Lukas Smital scoring a brace and Disco Douglas stopping 53 of 54 shots.

Slough have now moved out of their temporary rink, and Disco Douglas is no longer their goalie, but they continue to move forward as a club and have had an impressive season to date; after an expected defeat to Oxford, they lost to Chelmsford by the odd goal in 13 before big wins over Lee Valley and Cardiff to vault themselves up to sixth in the table. Player-coach Smital continues to lead the way with 20 points from just four games; while his son, netminder Matt Smital, has stopped 92 of 108 shots thus far this season.

Peterborough have had a slightly stuttering start to the season, with their only regulation win so far coming against Lee Valley. They did beat Bristol 4-3 last weekend in a tight game, but needed overtime to do it; Shaun Yardley the hero on the night with a goal in the 62nd minute to clinch the game. The Phantoms will hope to take a big road win this weekend in order to start building a win streak and move up the table.

Another tough game to call, this one; Slough have played really well in their last three games and will come into this one with confidence, but the Phantoms will fancy their chances of getting something from this game too.

Bracknell Hornets vs Oxford City Stars

In all likelihood the biggest game of the weekend takes place on Saturday night at the Hive, as Bracknell welcome Oxford to town for a big encounter.

The City Stars lost only three games last season on their way to the league title, but two of those came against the Hornets; Bracknell winning 9-6 at home and 5-4 on the road to take four points out of four against Oxford last campaign.

And the Hornets will hope to be a “bogey team” for Oxford again this time around, as two unbeaten teams clash in this game. Bracknell have won three from three so far, scoring 16 goals and conceding just four in those games. They haven’t faced any of the bigger sides yet though, so this game will be a first real test for this season’s Hornets roster. Connor Hutchison already has four goals this season for the Berkshire side, while Danny Hughes has three and the Ealey-Newman brother Ben and Josh have two apiece.

Oxford are also unbeaten so far, winning five games from five. After a huge 14-2 win over Swindon two weekends ago, they would have hoped to dispatch Haringey in a similar manner last weekend; but were frustrated by the North London side, who battled hard defensively and only conceded four goals as Oxford came out 4-1 winners. The City Stars will hope to find their scoring tough again this weekend, but it won’t be easy against a stable Hornets side which is largely unchanged from last season.

A fascinating game this one – somebody’s 0 has got to go, but whose will it be? The reigning league champions, or the side that beat them twice last season? It’s early, but this game could go some way towards deciding the destination of the league title – so the whole league will be watching very closely.

Sunday

Cardiff Fire vs Bracknell Hornets

The Fire and the Hornets both play for the second time this weekend on Sunday, with Bracknell travelling to Ice Arena Wales for a 6pm faceoff.

Cardiff will hope to have taken their first win of the season the previous evening in Kent; but if not, this will provide them another chance to do so. The Fire are usually strong at home, especially against opponents for whom a trip to South Wales on a Sunday is a bit of a trek. The Fire will hope to take advantage of this and score what would be an upset victory over the Hornets here.

After the previous night’s huge game against Oxford, the Hornets will either look to continue their winning streak this season, or recover from a defeat. Either way, they need to ensure they don’t lose focus and that they travel to Cardiff ready to battle hard against a Fire side that would love to take a big win against them to kickstart their own season.

On paper, the Hornets should have enough to win this one – but as we all know, hockey is played on ice, and the Hornets will need to be focused and sharp in order to take the win here.

Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Bristol Pitbulls

Swindon play their second local derby of a young NIHL2 league season on Saturday, as they welcome Bristol to the Link Centre.

Swindon’s first game of the season was a derby that they lost heavily to Oxford by a score of 14-2; the fixtures didn’t get any kinder last weekend as they went down 1-4 to Bracknell and 2-10 to Solent, the other members of the league’s “big three”. Now they have got those three games out the way, they will hope to take something from this game against a Pitbulls side containing former Wildcats Adam Coakley and Nathan Chilcott. To do that, the Wildcats will need to score some goals; they only have five so far, albeit against three of the stronger teams in the league. Eliot Randall is the only player to have scored twice so far for the club this season.

Bristol’s season has gone well so far; they sit in third place with seven points from five games, having lost just once in regulation so far – and that was an expected defeat against Oxford. Apart from that, they have dispatched Haringey, Romford and Invicta before taking a point from Peterborough last weekend after a tough overtime defeat. Olly Shone scored a brace for the Pitbulls in that game and Ross Miller stopped 28 of 32 shots, but it wasn’t enough to take both points. The Pitbulls will hope to bounce back this weekend and take the full quota of points against the Wildcats.

This game will be the first time we will be able to see what the Wildcats have got against an opponent that they have a realistic chance of getting a result against, while Bristol will hope to extend their good start to the season. Expect an intense game here.

Basingstoke Buffalo vs Guildford Phoenix

Two teams with win-loss records of 1-2 meet in Basingstoke on Sunday, as the Buffalo host the Phoenix.

The similarities don’t end there; both sides started their season with a road win against more fancied opposition (Guildford in Peterborough and Basingstoke in Cardiff), before going on to lose their two games since. Both sides are therefore desperate to get back to winning ways here.

To be fair to Basingstoke, their two opponents since knocking off Cardiff have been Bracknell and Chelmsford – extremely tough opponents for the smaller sides in the division. And so it proved with Bracknell winning 6-2 and Chelmsford taking a big 14-1 victory. And while Guildford are a strong side, the Buffalo will be thankful to be playing a side that they can at least hope to get a positive result against. The Buffalo’s best performer so far this season has probably been netminder Aaron Burton, who has maintained a save percentage of 85% despite conceding 14 goals against a rampant Chelmsford in their last game.

Guildford followed up their opening win in Peterborough with two defeats, losing 6-2 against the aforementioned Chelmsford and then frustratingly being beaten 3-2 away to Haringey last time out. David Wride stopped 33 of 35 shots in that game to secure the win for the Huskies, with Nick Minhinnick scoring both goals for the Phoenix. One cause for concern for the Phoenix is their lack of scoring; last season’s “big three” of Bailey Wootton, Josh Abbott and Andy Hemmings haven’t quite hit top form yet, while only five other players have scored at least one point, and only one solitary assist has come from the blueline.

An intriguing game this and another tough one to call – Guildford should have enough firepower to get over the line, but if they don’t hit top form then the Buffalo can definitely get a result out of this game.

Chelmsford Chieftains vs Haringey Huskies

Haringey do the “Essex double” this weekend, following up a trip to Romford on Saturday with a game at the Riverside on Sunday against an unbeaten Chelmsford.

The Chieftains have taken advantage of their home game-heavy early season schedule to take six wins out of six, putting themselves at the top of the table. Ross Brears has 35 points from six games(!) while James Ayling isn’t far behind with 24 points. Their only away game so far has actually come against Haringey, as they won 9-3 at Alexandra Palace in a game that, as already mentioned, saw a total of 112 penalty minutes handed out.

Chelmsford have already taken a total of 205 penalty minutes this season, putting them second in the league behind… Sunday’s opponents Haringey, who have taken 220. So don’t expect a calm friendly encounter here!

Haringey will hope to give a better account of themselves as they did in the 9-3 defeat earlier this season, but it will be tough against a Chieftains side who look on red-hot form at the moment. If the Huskies want to get anything from this game, they will once again rely on veteran netminder David Wride who is having a fantastic season to date – his save percentage of 88.29% on a side that has only won one out of five games underlines his importance to them.

Chelmsford should continue their winning streak here, especially with Haringey coming off what is likely to be an intense game in Romford the previous night. But if Wride has another sensational game between the pipes – you never know what result the Huskies may be able to achieve.


We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information and we’ll also be live tweeting from that big clash between Bracknell and Oxford at the Hive. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

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


Fixture information

Saturday
17:00 Solent Devils vs Lee Valley Lions
17:15 Invicta Mustangs vs Cardiff Fire
17:15 Raiders NIHL2 vs Haringey Huskies
17:45 Slough Jets vs Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms
18:00 Bracknell Hornets vs Oxford City Stars

Sunday
18:00 Cardiff Fire vs Bracknell Hornets
18:15 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Bristol Pitbulls
18:15 Basingstoke Buffalo vs Guildford Phoenix
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Haringey Huskies


NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings

Posted in Weekend Preview