Last weekend saw the winning records of Basingstoke in the league and Swindon in the cup being brought to an end. What will this weekend bring? We’ve got 8 games across all three competitions. Including the final game in the Autumn Cup group round stage, which means we’ll know who is playing who in the semi-finals of that competition after Saturday night.
We’ve got 5 games in the league to take a look at. First up is another double-header for Streatham who travel to London on Saturday before hosting Basingstoke on Sunday. Last weekend, Streatham broke their poor league form in spectacular fashion – with a 4-point weekend against two of the league’s heavy-weights. In both games, they showed an incredible energy level and out-hustled their opponents – winning more of the 50/50 pucks. Both Bees and Bison pushed them hard and at times Streatham had a lot of pressure to soak up (the third period against Bison for sure) and occasionally rode their luck. But both wins were well deserved.
Saturday’s opponents, London, also had a win last weekend with a strong performance to beat Cardiff 6-1 in Wales. They are another hard-working high-energy side and have been performing well in the league so far – the only one of the classic-NIHL1 sides to have taken more than 50% of the point on offer with 14 points on the board from their 13 games. The two sides have already met 5 times this season – with Streatham winning all of the cup games and London winning the only league meeting so far. but every game has been close – with no more than a 2 goal margin separating the teams. I’d expect another close one on Saturday.
Sunday’s game will see Bison play in the new Streatham rink for the first time. I expect Basingstoke to come into this game hard, having learned last weekend that they can’t take the Redhawks lightly. They are going to want to show that they are serious contenders for the league crown and will want to bounce back against the team that ruined their perfect league record. From what I have seen, Bison are a slick passing team – and excel at quick transitions and fast-flowing hockey. The issue last weekend was that they didn’t have a plan-B for a team who hustled, disrupted and stopped them from playing their game. They’ll be looking to change that this time.
London also have a league double-header this weekend as they travel to Peterborough on Sunday. In the first and only meeting between these sides so far, the Raiders stunned the Phantoms with a 6-3 win to end a 11 game winning streak for the league leaders. The sides were due to meet in London last weekend, but a broken pipe leaking glycol onto the ice resulted in the game being cancelled. It means that this will now be the first time that Euan King plays against his old side since making the switch to the Phantoms.
Saturday also sees Swindon host Cardiff. The Fire are still searching for those first league points, but I don’t think this is the game they are going to find them in. Last time these sides met, Swindon outclassed them badly and while the Fire never gave up and an incredible performance from NM Jordan Lawday kept the scoreline close until the final few minutes, the result was never really in doubt.
Our final league game on Sunday sees Swindon travel to Invicta. The sides met at the Link centre last Saturday when the Wildcats steam-rolled the Mos with a big 7-1 win. The Dynamos will want to show that they are better than that result, and having beaten Swindon once already this season, know that they have the ability to do it again.
National Cup action
We’ve got a double-header between Bracknell (home on Saturday) and Telford (home on Sunday) in Group D of the cup this weekend. Two wins for Telford would see them guarantee their qualification through to the quarter finals and put them at the top of the group for the first time. For Bracknell, it is last chance saloon territory now. They must take at least 3 points from these two games or they will be eliminated. The sides met 4 weeks ago in another double-headed fixture that saw Telford take an OT win and a regulation win – but that was at the start of Bakrlik’s suspension and he will be back in the team. This could be an interesting series!
Autumn Cup action
On Saturday we see the final group-stage game in the Autumn Cup when Peterborough travel to Basingstoke to decide which team will top the group. A point will be enough for Peterborough to take the honours while for Bison, only a regulation win will do if they want top spot. The group winners will go on to play Hull in the semi-finals of the competition while the runners up will play Swindon. The sides have met only once in competitive play this season – when Peterborough had an OT home win, also in the Autumn Cup. This one should also be close.
17:30 NIHL1S London Raiders vs Streatham IHC
18:00 NIHLNC-D Bracknell Bees vs Telford Tigers
18:15 NIHL1S Swindon Wildcats vs Cardiff Fire
18:30 NIHLAC-1 Basingstoke Bison vs Peterborough Phantoms
17:15 NIHL1S Invicta Dynamos vs Swindon Wildcats
17:30 NIHL1S Peterborough Phantoms vs London Raiders
18:00 NIHLNC-D Telford Tigers vs Bracknell Bees
18:45 NIHL1S Streatham IHC vs Basingstoke Bison
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.
Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League
NIHL1 National Cup Group D
NIHL1 Autumn Cup Group 1