NIHL North weekend preview

Solway Sharks return to home ice this weekend for the first time in a month as they look to breathe life into their NIHL North campaign.

Sharks host unbeaten Blackburn Hawks on Saturday and will be desperate to add to their record of one Moralee D1 win this season.

The teams met last week in Lancashire, with Hawks sealing a 5-1 success and Sharks’ Head Coach expects a big response from his players.

“We’re very disappointed with the result and yet again we’re talking about too many team and individual mistakes costing us,” said Grubb.

“We faced a very good Blackburn team who were hungrier than us and that really disappoints me.

“When you’re low on confidence you need your big players to be leaders and we now need everyone to stand up and be counted as we face the Hawks again. Everyone needs to pull in the same direction and we will turn this around as we have too much talent not to make an impact on the league.”

Telford Tigers NIHL will look to build on a run of just one defeat in five games as they host Billingham Stars on Saturday, before travelling to face Sheffield Spartans the following day.

Tigers beat Stars earlier in the season, but Head Coach Jason Parry has warned his team not to become complacent. He said: “We’ve only lost against the top two teams so far, so we’ll definitely draw confidence from that. We also took a point off Whitley, which was great to see.

“It’s going to be a tough weekend for the guys. Billingham are fifth and Sheffield are third, so neither side will be easy to beat. The good thing is that after this weekend, we’ll have played all the new teams.

“I think every game is different, but we do kind of know a bit more about Billingham. I’m sure they will be chasing to beat us this time, but we just have to prepare thoroughly.

“Sheffield have got guys like Stuart Brittle, who played in the EPL for many years. I’ve looked at their results and spoken to people around the league about them. The key, as ever, is to prepare as well as possible and just worry about our own game.”

There are four other D1 games this weekend. Sheffield Senators play Solihull Barons on Saturday, while Sunday sees Sutton Sting hosting Whitley Warriors, Senators facing the Sharks and Stars welcoming the Barons to Teesside.

Deeside Dragons bid to return to winning ways in Laidler D2 on Saturday as they travel to Coventry Blaze. Dragons saw their 100% record ended in emphatic fashion a fortnight ago by Nottingham Lions and Head Coach Lol Paul said the video made awkward viewing.

“There were some bad mistakes from experienced players for some of the goals,” said Paul. “We’ll now be treating every game as a top of the table clash. Even though Blaze haven’t done as well as they’d have liked so far, I want a 100mph start.

“The guys are gutted and can’t wait to get back into playing games. The last match was definitely something of an eye-opener for a lot of them. The break has helped us concentrate on other areas in training and to see where we went wrong. We’ve had two weeks of concentrating on righting those wrongs.”

There’s one other D2 game on Saturday with Hull Jets at home to Blackburn Eagles. Jets are back in action on Sunday as they travel to Altrincham Aces, while Lions face a trip to Widnes Wild.

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