A relatively quiet weekend as we hit the run up to Christmas with just 6 games featuring the NIHL1 South teams this weekend.
A double header for Milton Keynes in the league this weekend as they face Basingstoke on Saturday and Streatham on Sunday.
This is already the final meeting between Thunder and the Bison this season unless they meet in the playoffs. So far the Bison have had the upper hand with 3 regulation wins from the 3 games. But the last meeting between the teams 2 weeks ago was fairly close with Basingstoke only winning by the odd goal in five. Thunder will be without their top goal scorer Rio Grinell-Parke though as he took a match penalty for kicking in that game and as a result will be suspended for at least one match and possibly for both games this weekend. Bison meanwhile bounced back from their first league loss against Streatham to beat them 7-4 last weekend. A win here will see them top the table for the first time this season and they will have that very much in their sights. For MK, 2 points will see them get back to 500 hockey and keep them well in the race for 5th place behind the big four.
Sunday sees MK host Streatham. Here it is Thunder who have had the upper hand so far in the meetings between the sides with a 3-1 regulation win and a contentious 5-4 win on penalties (the contention being that Streatham think they scored in OT but the goal was not awarded). This will almost certainly be another close game between two fairly well matched sides this season.
Streatham also have a league double header this weekend as they host Bracknell on Saturday. The Bees will be looking to snap an 8-game losing streak across all competitions, which included a 5-3 loss to Streatham a fortnight ago. Prolific scorer Bakrlik is back in the team but the Bees are without his main provider as Shaun Thompson is still out through injury. I can see this being both feisty and close!
Our final league game is the first of a double header in both cup and league between London and Invicta. The cup game in Kent is a bit of a dead rubber but the league game is anything but. The sides have already met 4 times so far this season – 3 times in the cup and once in the league and London have taken all of the points so far. Their last meeting was in the league at Lee Valley where Jake Sylvester celebrated his return from injury with 2 goals and a man of the match performance. Invicta are having their toughest season for a long time winning just one game in three at the moment, but they are capable of pulling off big performances and have actually looked better against the stronger teams. They’ve bolstered the squad again with the signing of ex-Raiders’ prospect Ross Connolly who has been playing off and on in Canada for the last few years and who should fit in well with the rest of the squad.
National Cup action
First up is a lunchtime trip to Sheffield for Peterborough. Group B of the cup is still wide open at the moment and a win for the Phantoms will see them solidify their qualification spot and equal tp of the table Hull on points. A loss will not be the end of the road for them but it will make qualification a lot tougher as they will drop to last place with both teams above having 2 games in hand over them. The two sides have met twice in each of the cup competitions so far. In the National Cup, they have a home win apiece while in the Autumn cup, the Phantoms took all four points. So far, none of the scorelines have actually been all that close with at least a three goal margin separating the sides. So this is just too hard to call.
Finally, Invicta and London meet for the second time in the weekend for the final game in Cup Group C. Unfortunately, this group was decided after just three quarters of the games were played, so we’ve had quite a few dead rubbers which have all gone to form so far. Can the Dynamos break that streak by taking their first points of the competition? They will certainly want to get a win in front of their home crowd so this game should still have some life left in it.
17:30 NIHL1S London Raiders vs Invicta Dynamos
17:30 NIHL1S Streatham IHC vs Bracknell Bees
18:30 NIHL1S Basingstoke Bison vs Milton Keynes Thunder
13:00 NIHLNC-B Sheffield Steeldogs vs Peterborough Phantoms
17:15 NIHLNC-C Invicta Dynamos vs London Raiders
18:30 NIHL1S Milton Keynes Thunder vs Streatham IHC
482days won’t be travelling to any games this weekend as we’re away. We are going to try and watch the stream of the gold medal game for GB U20’s on Saturday though and will be tweeting about that as well as live scores from around all the NIHL South games. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!
Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.
Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League
NIHL National Cup Group B
NIHL1 National Cup Group C