NIHL North weekend preview

Solway Sharks face a weekend on the road as they look to continue their improved form in NIHL North.

Having won their last three Moralee D1 games Sharks travel to Sheffield Spartans on Saturday, before facing Sutton Sting the following day, and they’ll be keen to keep their momentum going.

Following last week’s win at home to Solihull Barons, Sharks were given an additional boost by the news that forward Duncan Speirs has been selected in the Great Britain U20 squad for the upcoming World Championship tournament in France.

Head Coach Martin Grubb said he was delighted on both counts: “We played well and battled hard all night. Early on we struggled defensively, but we settled and were able to shut the game down in the second half of the match.

“With regards to Duncan, I’m very proud he’s made GB U20 team. He has worked hard and is improving all the time. Everyone at the club wishes Duncan and the GB team the very best of luck.”

There are three other D1 games this weekend, with Telford Tigers NIHL hosting Sheffield Senators on Saturday, while Solihull against Billingham Stars and Sheffield Spartans versus Whitley Warriors completes the line-up on Sunday.

Laidler D2 title-chasers Deeside Dragons host Bradford Bulldogs on Saturday, looking to keep up the pressure on leaders Nottingham Lions.

Dragons lie two points behind their Midlands rivals having played two games less and Head Coach Lol Paul is confident they will produce a good display.

“We’ve got Adrian Palak back playing well and Filip Supa is firing on all cylinders, as is James Parsons, so I feel sorry for Bradford this weekend,” said Paul.

“We have nine forwards who can put the puck in the net, which is great for a coach to see. In our rink, it will be our rules and I think they will be in trouble.

“The lads are flying at the moment and on a high. With a full squad for me to choose from, they’re all really looking forward to the game.”

Altrincham Aces have strengthened their squad with the signing of Jake Nurse. The gritty forward is no stranger to the Altrincham and Manchester hockey community, having been part of the junior system before working his way up to ice for their teams in the NIHL and EPL.

Nurse (above) spent the last two seasons in D1 with Blackburn Hawks and his addition is a major boost to the promotion-chasers.

He commented: “The Aces are a team that means a lot to me. My Dad wore the jersey and I grew up watching the Aces play and wanting to play for the team.

“I’ve had two incredible seasons at Blackburn and I think the time was right for me to return home. We have a promising young side that I think I can add some experience to and fight for promotion. I can’t wait to get on the ice and give my all for the badge on the front.”

Nurse will make his debut on Sunday at Widnes Wild.

The two remaining D2 games see Blackburn Eagles host Coventry Blaze on Saturday, while Nottingham face-off against Hull Jets the following evening.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

NIHLN Moralee D1

Saturday

Sheffield Spartans v Solway Sharks
Telford Tigers NIHL v Sheffield Senators

Sunday

Sutton Sting v Solway Sharks
Solihull Barons v Billingham Stars
Sheffield Spartans v Whitley Warriors

NIHLN Laidler D2

Saturday

Blackburn Eagles v Coventry Blaze
Deeside Dragons v Bradford Bulldogs

Sunday

Widnes Wild v Altrincham Aces
Nottingham Lions v Hull Jets

(Image permission: Diffuse Photographic)

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