NIHL1 Weekend Preview: 3/4 March

A relatively quiet week in NIHL1 South this weekend in terms of the number of games. But it’s a huge one in terms of the impact on the final league table and the first piece of silverware!
<Late breaking edit> – or it would have been if it wasn’t for the snow!
The Autumn Cup final first leg is definitely postponed, as is MK vs Cardiff in the league – let’s keep our fingers crossed for the rest!
We’ll be keeping an eye across the league for any further postponements and will make sure to publicise on twitter.

League action
What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? OK Basingstoke and Peterborough may not quite meet those descriptions as both have dropped points to other clubs  this season – but for quite a while now they have been neck and neck with win matching win and only a whisker between them in one of the tightest title races we have had in the NIHL. At the moment it is just about ‘advantage Bison’ but only just. A regulation win for Peterborough would completely change that. So far the league games between them have been as tight as tight can be. All won in regulation (2 by Bison, 1 by Phantoms) but each by just a single goal margin.

Permutations on the head to head:
Peterborough win by 2 or more : Peterborough win the head to head
Peterborough win by 1 in regulation: Head to head is matched
Bison win or take it to OT: Bison win the head to head.

Why does the head to head matter? Because if Peterborough do win in regulation and both teams win both of their other remaining games then they will finish on equal points and the head to head result between them will be what decides the league title. If they are equal on head to head as well then it goes to overall goal difference (currently Peterborough are +86 to Bison’s +83) and if that is even then it goes to goals scored (currently Peterborough have 146 to Bison’s 138). In the incredibly unlikely event that those also end up even – well who knows! At the moment the rules of competition state “In the event of further criteria being required, the League statistician will provide additional criteria according to IIHF rules.” IIHF bring results from the next highest ranked team down into play – so Swindon could still end up having had a major say in where the title goes (IF it went to this, Phantoms would win with 7 points to Bison’s 6 against the Wildcats).

Of course all of that’s for the future and while it is possible, it’s probably unlikely it will get down quite as far as bringing Swindon’s results in (although I wouldn’t bet against a very tight game with a one goal winning margin by either side!). What it does mean is that this is going to be one hell of an important match and I hope we get a game that is worthy of the occasion!

Of course – there are 5 other league games going on this weekend and we could also see the battle for 4th decided as Bracknell host London on Sunday. These two are equal on points at the moment, although London do have a game in hand. Any regulation win for London would give them the overall tie against Bracknell but any other result would give Bracknell the overall tie should the two end the season equal on points. Bracknell will be without mercurial forward Frankie Bakrlik who was ejected from his last game for a match penalty for a check to the head. As this also puts him on 15 penalty points it means he will miss an absolute minimum of 4 games (1 for the penalty and 3 for points accumulation) and it’s likely to be at least one more than that as the recommended starting point for a checking to the head match penalty is 2 games according to the EIHA disciplinary webpage. London have been blessed with a full squad for the last few weeks (with Alan Lack’s facial injury the last one they picked up – and he’s been back for over a month now!). The last time the sides met back in January, it was a 6-3 home win for the Raiders, but this is on home turf for the Bees now and it should be a pretty decent game.

Both London and Bees have tough away games to play on the Saturday before this match up as London travel up to Peterborough and Bees travel down the M4 to Swindon. Last weekend, London were made to look lacklustre against the Phantoms and they would love a better showing this time around. Bees meanwhile will want to repeat their recent home win against the Wildcats but it’s always a tougher proposition winning away.

Finally, on Sunday the old rivalry of Invicta against Streatham has its 7th outing of the season. This season the Redhawks have had the better of the Dynamos with 6 regulation wins from 6 so far. The Redhawks are still eyeing up the 4th and 5th placed teams above them and with only a 3 point gap between themselves and 4th – there is actually a decent chance that they could climb one more place. Invicta know that they can’t move above 8th now – but they really won’t want to give the Redhawks a clean sweep over them this season and so will fight this one to the death.

Note that Saturday’s game between Milton Keynes and Cardiff has now also been cancelled.

Autumn Cup action
Unfortunately the first leg of the Autumn Cup final which was due to be played in Basingstoke this evening has had to be postponed due to the weather. LINK


Fixture information​

Friday
19:45 Basingstoke Bison vs Swindon Wildcats (Autumn Cup Final) – OFF

Saturday
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Bracknell Bees (NIHL1)
19:00 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1) – OFF
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs London Raiders (NIHL1)

Sunday
17:15 Invicta Dynamos vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)
17:30 Peterborough Phantoms vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs London Raiders (NIHL1)


482days will have live twitter updates Peterborough on Sunday (weather permitting). If you want to come and say ‘hi’ or would like a pin badge, just look for the bright yellow laptop! We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend 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 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.


NIHL1 Britton League
High and low indicate highest and lowest possible finishing position in the league

 

March 2nd, 2018 by