Chelmsford Chieftains can extend their lead at the top of NIHL1 South to six points if they pick up wins against MK Thunder and Invicta Dynamos this weekend.
The Essex outfit have lost just once so far this season and are big favourites to win the title for the fourth year in a row.
Defenseman John Connolly (above) says he’s delighted with the season so far: “I think Sean Easton has put together a pretty good team this year and expects a lot from the group,” said Connolly.
“He pushes us every time we are on the ice as he wants the best but also makes it fun for everyone, so hopefully we can keep that going up to Christmas and into the New Year to challenge for silverware again.
“This weekend’s games are huge for us. MK are a strong team and they pushed us close the last time we played each other, so it’s going to be tough, if not tougher, going to their rink. Then on Sunday we play Invicta at home, one of our challengers for honours this year.
“It’s always an intense and fiery game playing them. There’s always extra pressure and a good atmosphere when we play each other. Again it will be a tough game for us, but hopefully we can come away with four points from the weekend.”
Invicta go into the weekend ten points behind Chelmsford, but with three games in hand they know a victory over their rivals would keep them firmly in the title race.
After a comprehensive defeat at Oxford City Stars on Saturday, Dynamos dug deep at home the following day to stage a stirring comeback against MK Thunder and seal a 6-5 win.
Forward Brad Gutridge commented: “We need to wake up and realise we can’t be letting teams dominate us like that in our home barn.
“The last time Cardiff came here they had a game plan and we didn’t’ execute what we were out there to do. We’ve got a point to prove to ourselves and our fans, especially knowing we’ve got to go to Chelmsford on Sunday to try and grind a result out there.”
Haringey Racers have added forward Danny Peters to their roster ahead of Saturday’s game against unbeaten D2S leaders Chelmsford Warriors. Peters had a spell with Warriors during 2012/13 and has spent the last two seasons with London Raiders in D1S.
Cardiff Fire have signed David Sadler from Cardiff Devils NIHL1. Sadler joins Josh Haslam as the second player player to make the switch this week.
Sadler has played all his career in Cardiff from U10s up to senior hockey. He joined the ENL1 team in 2007, playing alongside many of the current Cardiff Fire squad.
Fire Head Coach Mark Cuddihy said: “It’s great to bring Sads in. I’ve known him for nine years, played alongside him and coached him for a long time. We have a really big squad now and it’s exactly where we want to be.
“After New Year things speed up a bit for us and we want to get all the players involved. We can’t currently call on junior players, so we need to make sure our squad is big enough to cope with whatever comes our way.
“David approached me early in the week and after a quick chat we snapped him up. His energy is first class, he’s someone we can use on the PK and he’s a great team guy as well.
“We already have a great dressing room, but Sadler will add to that.”
Bracknell Hornets v Solent Devils
Invicta Dynamos v Cardiff Devils NIHL
London Raiders v Wightlink Raiders
MK Thunder v Chelmsford Chieftains
Cardiff Devils NIHL v MK Thunder
Chelmsford Chieftains v Invicta Dynamos
Oxford City Stars v Wightlink Raiders
Solent Devils v London Raiders
Bristol Pitbulls v Basingstoke Buffalo
Haringey Racers v Chelmsford Warriors
Slough Jets v Peterborough Islanders
Invicta Mustangs v Lee Valley Lions
Swindon Wildcats NIHL v Wightlink Tigers
(Image: Steve Sutherland)