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.
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.
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
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