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