It will be a quiet festive period in NIHL South 2, with just two games being played over the next two weekends. However, both games have the potential to be crackers – high flyers Guildford and Bracknell face off, while there’s a derby to enjoy as league leaders Oxford face Bristol. We will look at both games in this week’s preview.
Saturday December 23rd
Bristol Pitbulls vs Oxford City Stars
The only game this coming weekend in NIHL South 2 sees a derby as Bristol “host” league leaders Oxford – although with Bristol playing their home games in Oxford’s rink, this is just as much a home game for the City Stars as it is for the Pitbulls
Bristol (4 wins/5 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 9 points) have had an odd season to date, losing to the likes of Haringey and Cardiff – teams they would hope to beat – while also shocking the league with a win over Chelmsford. They have won their last two games and are now moving up the standings – they are 10th just a point off both Cardiff and Slough above. However this will be a tough game for them, as they face an Oxford side in absolutely imperious form.
Oxford (13 wins/1 loss, 26 points) top the league by seven points and have not lost since September, where they suffered their one and only defeat to Bracknell. We are running out of superlatives to describe the City Stars, who continued their unrelenting form with an 18-1 demolition of Lee Valley last Sunday. They will hope to keep this up against Bristol, who they defeated 7-2 earlier in the season.
Bristol will be fired up for this one against their local rivals, but Oxford look in such unstoppable form that it’s hard to look past the City Stars in this one.
Don’s Prediction: Bristol 2-7 Oxford
Laurence’s Prediction: Bristol 3-9 Oxford
Saturday December 30th
Guildford Phoenix vs Bracknell Hornets
The last South 2 game of 2017 will be a marquee matchup between 5th-placed Guildford Phoenix and 3rd-placed Bracknell Hornets.
Guildford (8 wins/4 regulation losses/1 OT loss, 17 points), despite being the new kids on the block, have stayed in touch with the former South 1 sides (such as Bracknell) and sit just two points back of 2nd-placed Solent, although they are nine points behind Oxford City. A win on 30 December would vault the Phoenix into third, level on points with Solent and ahead of the likes of Bracknell, Chelmsford and the slumping Peterborough Phantoms. The one problem for Guildford? They have yet to beat any of the former South 1 clubs, having to Bracknell, Chelmsford and Oxford City twice.
Bracknell (9 wins/1 loss, 18 points), meanwhile, sit in third only because they have played so few games, comparatively. Chelmsford are still the only side who can boast about beating the Hornets. Bracknell, of course, are the only club to defeat Oxford City which certainly gives their supporters reason to believe that they can potentially chase down the Stars and win the league title. For the game against Guildford, though, the Hornets will have to be at their best. They will be a bit fatigued from a challenge game against the Bracknell Bees on Wednesday the 27th, and the Phoenix will have home support.
Remember, Bracknell did come out as winners in their last meeting, but it was only by the score of 4-3, and that was in Bracknell. This could be very close.
Don’s Prediction: Guildford 5-6 Bracknell (OT)
Laurence’s Prediction: Guildford 4-7 Bracknell
Saturday 23rd December
17:00 Bristol Pitbulls vs Oxford City Stars
Saturday 30th December
17:30 Guildford Phoenix vs Bracknell Hornets
NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) Standings
We’ll have updates on scores and scorers from all the games 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 NIHL1 games? You can find the NIHL1 South weekend preview HERE.
482days Expert Prediction Competition (after week 13)
Our experts get 1 point for every correct result, and 3 points if they predict the exact score. (Although as they say: prediction is a mug’s game…)