The NIHL1 South Cup takes centre stage this weekend, with two tasty looking semi-finals taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
Chelmsford Chieftains face-off against Wightlink Raiders, while holders Invicta Dynamos meet Streatham Redskins.
Chieftains and Dynamos hold a 2-1 series advantage over their respective opponents in the league this season, and this weekend’s two-legged games promise to be keenly contested.
Dynamos won last season’s competition after a thrilling 9-7 aggregate victory against Chieftains in the final, and Head Coach Kevin Parrish is confident they can make it through once again.
“If we play for sixty minutes each night, keep our cool and play our game we should be alright,” said Parrish.
“We’re a better team with five on the ice, so we need to avoid getting into penalty situations.
“Streatham are a physical team so maybe we can take advantage on powerplays. We’re a skilful quick team so let’s see what we’ve both got.
“We’ve no plans to take our foot of the gas this season – we’ve still plenty to play for.”
Swindon Wildcats NIHL host Bristol Pitbulls in D2S on Saturday aiming to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Basingstoke Buffalo.
The game was tied at the end of the second period, but Buffalo stepped things up in the final session to record a 5-2 victory.
Player/Coach Dan Sullivan is hoping for an improved performance against the Pitbulls.
“When you start as well as we did, you should get something from the game,” said Sullivan.
“We probably didn’t do enough to win it. We allowed them too much possession and it was frustrating as I know the lads can do better.”
Pitbulls still have an outside chance of claiming a promotion play-off spot, but their boss Richie Hargreaves is wary of threat posed by the Wildcats.
“The problem with Swindon is that you never know what team you will play against – but we need to be better than them, regardless,” he said.
“I expect the guys to continue to build off our last four games. We’ve shown a lot of confidence of late. The last time we played them, that was the start of our good run of play.
“I’m hoping that confidence against them will continue to roll over.”
London Raiders v MK Thunder
Streatham Redskins v Invicta Dynamos (Cup)
Wightlink Raiders v Chelmsford Chieftains (Cup)
Bracknell Hornets v London Raiders
Cardiff Devils NIHL v Oxford City Stars
Chelmsford Chieftains v Wightlink Raiders (Cup)
Invicta Dynamos v Streatham Redskins (Cup)
MK Thunder v Solent Devils
Slough Jets v Peterborough Islanders
Swindon Wildcats NIHL v Bristol Pitbulls
Basingstoke Buffalo v Wightlink Tigers
Cardiff Fire v Swindon Wildcats NIHL
(Image permission: David Trevallion)