There are seven NIHL South 2 games on the schedule for this upcoming weekend, with three on Saturday and four on Sunday.
We take a look at all seven games below.
Haringey Huskies vs Oxford City Stars
Second place side Oxford look to keep their 100% record this season alive as they visit Alexandra Palace.
The Huskies took their first win of the season last weekend at the fourth time of asking, with a somewhat surprising 3-2 win over a fancied Guildford side. Goals for the Huskies came from Luke Martin-Digby, Stuart Appleby and Mark Robinson; while David Wride stopped 33 of 35 shots in net to lead the North London side to victory, and move them up to sixth in the table.
Oxford have carried on where they left off last season, winning their first four games of this campaign with 35 goals scored and only nine conceded. Last weekend saw them comfortably beating Swindon by a score of 14-2, with eight different players scoring goals – including four goals for import forward Michal Oravec.
The Huskies will be buoyed by last weekend’s win, but Oxford are a very difficult opponent and the chances of Haringey taking anything from the game are slim – expect a win for the City Stars here.
Lee Valley Lions vs Invicta Mustangs
Two winless sides clash in East London on Saturday as the Lions host the Mustangs.
A new-look Lee Valley side has struggled mightily so far this season – almost the entire playing staff has changed and they have not been able to ice more than 12 skaters yet; thus they have lost three times, all heavily. Czech import forward Tom Hnilica had an impressive debut in Slough on Saturday though, scoring two goals on his debut – and the Lions will hope that if they can ice a full roster for this game, they should be able to keep it a lot closer.
The Mustangs have also lost three from three so far, going down to Romford, Oxford and Bristol. They have scored eight goals in those three games – one more than the Lions have managed – but conceded 24 less than the Lions in the same number of games. The Mustangs have a settled side and, although they haven’t picked up any points yet, they should start doing so relatively soon.
The Lions are still finding their feet while the Mustangs have stability on their side – so a Mustangs win would be the more likely outcome here. But if the Lions can ice a full lineup, they may be able to get something from the game.
Bracknell Hornets vs Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats
Two teams that have not played many games yet this season clash at the Hive, as Bracknell – with two wins from two so far – host a Swindon side who lost their one and only game to date.
Bracknell finished third last season and are looking to finish in the playoff places again this season. They have made a good start to their campaign, knocking off Haringey 6-1 and Basingstoke 6-2. Connor Hutchison already has three goals while Danny Hughes and Ben Ealey-Newman have two goals each thus far, and a further five players each have a single goal – showing that the scoring is nicely spread around the Hornets side and that they don’t rely on one or two players.
Swindon have only played one game so far, going down heavily to Oxford. As usual, the Wildcats roster is a fairly young and inexperienced one, so heavy defeats against the bigger sides in the league aren’t big surprises. Eliot Randall, who has already played some games for the NIHL1 Wildcats this season, scored both goals against Oxford.
The Hornets are big favourites to win this one, and should come away with a comfortable victory against the Wildcats, who are still finding their feet this season.
Cardiff Fire vs Slough Jets
Cardiff play just their second game of the season on Sunday, hosting a Jets side that broke their duck last Saturday with a big 18-4 win over Lee Valley.
The Fire lost their season opener against Basingstoke a few weeks ago, which was somewhat of a surprise. Liam Coleman scored a hat-trick for the Buffalo to down Chris Douglas’ Fire side, whose goals came through Tamas Elias (x2) and Sam Bryant. The Fire will be hoping to have a strong campaign after consolidating their NIHL1 and NIHL2 teams into just the NIHL2 side, and will see this game as a great opportunity to get their season on track.
After losses to Oxford and Chelmsford, the Jets got their first win of the campaign last weekend courtesy of a big 18-4 win over Lee Valley. As the short-benched Lions side tired in the second half of the game, the Jets showed their relentlessness in scoring more and more goals, rather than backing off and saying “enough is enough”. Player-coach Lukas Smital scored a barely believable 13 points (4+9) in the game, while Sam Talbot bagged five goals and Sean Norris got a hat-trick.
As impressive as Slough’s win was, they will come up against tougher opposition on Sunday. This should be a really close game and is a difficult one to predict – any result is possible.
Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats vs Solent Devils
Swindon play their first home game of the season on Sunday, as they welcome the Solent Devils to Wiltshire.
The early season fixtures really don’t make pleasant reading for the Wildcats: starting the season against all of last season’s top three in Oxford, Bracknell and now Solent. Getting anything out of these three games will be a minor miracle, so the Wildcats will probably use them more as an opportunity to bed in some of the younger members of their roster and work on their systems ahead of more winnable games to come.
The Devils finished as league runners-up last season and went on to win the playoffs, and have made an imperious start to this campaign with a 13-2 win over Invicta in their only game to date. Player-coach Alex Murray and star forward Richard Facey both bagged eight points apiece in that game, while Daniel Lackey and Alexander Trendall each scored two goals.
Anything other than a big Solent win here would be a surprise – expect the likes of Murray and Facey to bolster their points totals in this one.
Chelmsford Chieftains vs Basingstoke Buffalo
Undefeated league leaders Chelmsford look to extend their 100% record as they welcome Basingstoke to town on Sunday night.
The Chieftains have been on top form so far, winning five games out of five to sit top of the pile. They now have four consecutive home games in the month of October before the Riverside closes for refurbishment and they start a long spell on the road – so continuing to win games and get points in the bag is vital. Chelmsford won a feisty Essex derby on Sunday against Raiders 2, with a total of 106 penalty minutes being handed out and the Chieftains ultimately winning 7-1.
Basingstoke impressively beat Cardiff in their first game of the season, with Liam Coleman netting three times and Aaron Burton stopping 38 of 41 shots, before going down 6-2 to Bracknell last weekend. Oscar Evans bagged both goals against the Hornets while Burton again put up impressive numbers despite the loss, stopping 51 of 57 shots.
Burton is likely to be very busy again in this game against a Chieftains side scoring almost nine goals per game on average this season. And even if the Buffalo do keep the Chieftains forwards quiet, scoring past them is also a tough task – Chelmsford have let in less than three goals a game this season. Expect a win for the Essex side here.
Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms vs Bristol Pitbulls
An in-form Pitbulls side visit Peterborough on Sunday, to face a Phantoms team who ran Oxford close in their last game.
Peterborough have played three games this season so far, beating Lee Valley convincingly but losing to both Guildford and Oxford. However while they ultimately suffered defeat to Oxford, the Phantoms did very well to keep the scoreline tight and went down by a score of 6-4. Nick Alley scored twice against the Stars while Jack Sansby and Clint Herring – who was only announced as returning to the club this season on the eve of the Oxford game – each scoring once.
Bristol have started the season well, winning three of four – with their only defeat coming against Oxford. After tight one-goal wins against both Raiders and Haringey, the Pitbulls beat Invicta last weekend by the more convincing scoreline of 6-3; captain Steve Osman bagged 2+2 while four other players scored a goal each.
This is a tough game to call – while the Phantoms ran Oxford close last time out, the Pitbulls are on good form and have shown that they can eke out results in tight games. Peterborough are probably slight favourites, but a Bristol win wouldn’t be a big surprise.
We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!
Looking for info on the NIHL1 South games? You can find the NIHL1 South preview HERE.
17:30 Haringey Huskies vs Oxford City Stars
17:30 Lee Valley Lions vs Invicta Mustangs
18:30 Bracknell Hornets vs Swindon Wildcats 2
18:00 Cardiff Fire vs Slough Jets
18:15 Swindon Wildcats 2 vs Solent Devils
18:30 Chelmsford Chieftains vs Basingstoke Buffalo
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms 2 vs Bristol Pitbulls
NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings