NIHL North weekend preview

Sheffield Spartans and Sutton Sting both face tricky looking games this weekend as they continue their quest for an NIHL North Moralee D1 play-off place.

Spartans host Blackburn Hawks on Saturday, while Sting are at Billingham Stars the following evening.

Both teams will be keen to grab a win ahead of their all-important clash on the final day of the season, which will decide who qualifies for the Dumfries showdown.

Spartans Head Coach Martin White commented: “With only two league games remaining we’ll be looking to build on the determination and character shown last weekend to see if we can deny the Hawks an unbeaten league campaign.

“It’ll be a tough game and we won’t be fancied to pick up any points. Despite this the lads know we’re capable of beating the Hawks if we can eliminate the odd lapse in judgement and play 60 minutes of disciplined hockey.

“If we can pick up some points it’ll leave us in a better position and with plenty of confidence going into the final game against Sutton.”

There are three other D1 games this weekend. Manchester Minotaurs host Whitley Warriors on Saturday, before making the trip to face the Hawks the following day. Whitley versus Solway Sharks completes the Sunday line-up.

Telford Tigers NIHL bid to strengthen their grip on second place in Laidler D2 this weekend as they face a home ice double-header.

Hull Jets travel to Shropshire on Saturday, while Bradford Bulldogs are Sunday’s visitors and Head Coach Scott McKenzie (above) has called for two professional performances from his team.

He said: “”The Hull game is huge for us as it will be played for double points. We need to be on them from the start and really take the game to them. They’ll come here with nothing to lose and work hard. It’s really important that our guys are switched on and ready to play.

“Sunday’s game will be tricky as well. They are a team that has had a tough season, but they’ve got players with the right attitude. They certainly won’t roll over for us, so we’ll have to work extremely hard for the two points.

“Finishing second would be a huge achievement for the players and staff, but right now it’s about winning the two games in front of us. No complacency, great work ethic and we should be fine.”

Unbeaten Solihull Barons are also in action twice over the weekend. On Saturday they face Coventry Blaze at the Sky Dome, before making the trip to Hull on Sunday.

Bradford v Deeside Dragons and Blackburn Eagles v Sheffield Senators are the remaining Saturday games, with Deeside v Coventry and Nottingham Lions v Blackburn rounding off a busy round of fixtures.

(Image permission: Telford Tigers)

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