Week 3 of the season is already upon us and we’ve got 5 league games and 4 Autumn Cup games this weekend.
League leaders Bracknell have made a perfect start to their league campaign this season with three wins from three, all in regulation. They play Invicta on Saturday, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the table with 2 losses from 2 game. Obvious outcome to this game? Well maybe not. The sides have already met once and there was just a goal between them in a tense 3-2 regulation win for Bracknell in Kent, when the Mos fought a spirited comeback after going 3-0 down just after the halfway mark. Last season, although the Bees won the series between the sides by 6 points to 3, there was also a goal difference of just 2 goals splitting the sides.
Join on points and in second place in the league table, Raiders have also had a strong start to the season, with just one loss from four. On Saturday. they face defending league champions Bison who start their league campaign this weekend. Bison are another massively changed team this season, and retaining that league crown is going to be a tough job. They raise the banner for that league win (and playoff win of course) at this game on Saturday – and it’s a great touch to have scheduled their first game against Raiders which means that former Bison Captain Aaron Connolly and defenceman Dan Scott will be able to participate.
On Sunday, we have 3 league games with Bracknell’s visit to Streatham probably being the pick of the fixtures. Last season, Streatham had a 6 points to 2 series win over the Bees (the only NIHL Classic team to get a league series win over an ex-EPL side last season). Can they repeat that feat this season? This game will also see the debut for the Bees of new import defenceman Niko Suoraniemi who looks an interesting signing having gained experience from a lot of different teams in the last few season (including just over half a season at elite league team Fife fours years ago).
Raiders also have a double-header weekend which sees them host MK on Sunday. After decimating the Dynamos last weekend, they will be on a high and will be full of confidence. MK meanwhile have had two narrow losses so far this season and will be hunting hard for that first win.
Our final game of the weekend sees Invicta host Basingstoke in a repeat of their playoff quarter-final last season. Bison were comfortable winners there, but both sides have changed quite a bit since then and I think the gap between them has certainly reduced. Could be an interesting one.
Autumn Cup Action
Both Swindon and Peterborough have a chance to qualify for the semi-finals this weekend. Swindon need just 2 points from their games against Telford (who have yet to register a point in the competition) while Peterborough need all four points from their games against Sheffield to be sure of going through with 2 games to spare.
In the Northern half of the table, Hull could also qualify with two games to spare (and while not even playing in the competition this weekend) if Telford fail to pick up at least 2 points.
482days will have updates from all the #oneNIHL games across the weekend and we’ll also be tweeting live from Kent for Dynamos’ game against the Bison.
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.
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Telford Tigers (Autumn Cup)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Raiders (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Sheffield Steeldogs (Autumn Cup)
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)
17:30 Raiders vs Milton Keynes Thunder (NIHL1)
17:30 Sheffield Steeldogs vs Peterborough Phantoms (Autumn Cup)
18:00 Telford Tigers vs Swindon Wildcats (Autumn Cup)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)
Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League