NIHL North weekend preview

Telford Tigers NIHL tackle Sheffield Spartans and Solihull Barons this weekend, in a series of games that could shape the rest of their Moralee D1 campaign.

Tigers currently lie fourth in NIHL North’s top division and with just two points separating the trio going into the weekend the results may prove vital as the race for the play-offs hots up later in the season.

Saturday sees the Spartans make the trip to Telford Ice Rink, while on Sunday Tigers travel to Solihull for the latest encounter between the two local rivals.

Parry believes the visit of Sheffield could be very different to their previous meeting two weeks ago – a game Telford lost 6-2.

He said: “We’ll definitely be looking for a win to keep up our unbeaten home record. We played up there a few weeks ago, but their netminder played well and we had a few guys missing.

“This weekend we’ll have a full squad to choose from, so the target is very much a win. They’ve lost a few games recently, so it’s a big weekend for us to get the points at home and in Solihull on Sunday.

“Barons had a few guys missing last time and they’ve now come back into their squad, so it won’t be easy. Hobs Moat Road is never an easy place to go to. It’s always been a big rivalry, especially with us playing them again at home the week after.”

The three remaining D1 league games see Sheffield Senators face-off against Whitley Warriors on Saturday, while Sutton Sting against Billingham Stars and Blackburn Hawks versus Senators completes the line-up on Sunday.

Solway Sharks begin the defence of their NIHL Northern Cup on Saturday as the Hawks visit Dumfries Ice Bowl for the second time in a fortnight.

This year’s competition sees Sharks, Hawks and Stars joined by D2 outfit Widnes Wild in a round robin competition to decide the fate of the trophy last won by Sharks at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Sharks go into Saturday’s match on a two-game winning streak having beaten Whitley Warriors 4-2 last weekend in a much-improved performance.

Head Coach Martin Grubb juggled his line combinations and the tactic paid dividends with four different goal scorers and a solid defensive effort against a previously unbeaten Warriors team.

Grubb commented: “I know it doesn’t sound a lot but two wins is a streak – we haven’t had that so far this season so we have some momentum to build on.

“We changed things up to try and get a reaction and it worked – I was a lot happier with the performance and that pleased me more than the result in many ways.

“We aren’t getting carried away and we know there is still work to do but we are going in the right direction and will keep working hard in practice and get ready for Blackburn on Saturday.

“Last time when they came here with ten skaters they outworked us and you have to give them the credit for that – it was a performance like we’d done to other teams in previous years.

“The Northern Cup is still in our possession and Saturday is a great chance for us to keep our run going and put the record straight against the Hawks.”

There are just three games in D2, with Bradford Bulldogs hosting Deeside Dragons on Saturday before making the trip to Widnes the following day. Altrincham Aces against Coventry Blaze is the remaining Sunday fixture.

(Image permission: Keith & Jenny Davies)

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