Play-offs in full swing for the NIHL

The score-line from Widnes' home victory over Billingham (PHOTO: Widnes Wild)

The National League and Division One Play-offs have begun in full force and we now know some more of what’s to come.

The Play-off finals for Division one are this weekend (23rd and 24th April) and for the National League they are the following weekend (30th April and 1st May.

National League

The National League’s group stages will conclude this weekend with each team playing twice more.

The top two from each group will then travel to Coventry for Finals Weekend and play the semi-final and Final over two days.

This is how the groups now look:

Group 1

Milton Keynes Lightning – 3 Wins – 7 Pts

Telford Tigers 1 – 3 Wins – 6 Pts

Bees – 2 Wins – 4 Pts

Leeds Knights – 0 Wins – 1 Pts (Overtime Loss)

Group 2

Sheffield Steeldogs – 3 Wins – 6 Pts

Peterborough Phantoms – 2 Wins – 4 Pts

Basingstoke Bison – 2 Wins – 4 Pts

Swindon Wildcats – 1 Win – 2 Pts

Telford have lost their top spot in their group after losing to Milton Keynes in a 5-2 result.

This now puts the Lightning in pole position in that group with one more game versus the Tigers to come.

Their other remaining fixture is against Bees who still have a shot at going through to the Final Four providing they win their next two.

Sadly, Leeds are out the running with no wins in their four games so far.

The most points they could achieve are five which is not enough to finish above Milton Keynes or Telford.

Group two still remains fairly open however with Sheffield the dominant side in that bunch.

They only have Peterborough to face twice to seal a final four spot, the Phantoms won’t go down without a fight though.

Swindon and Basingstoke are in the same predicament facing each other twice to progress onwards.

This opens it up to be any two teams going through, the fate is entirely in their own hands.

Swindon do have to win both their games over the Bison to go through whereas Peterborough and Basingstoke would only need one win.

Sheffield will need just one win out of their next two to guarantee a spot.

It truly is anyone’s bet who will make it to the Final Four in Coventry from that group.

Division One

Elsewhere the Division One Play-offs have just seen the first round completed and we know our Final Four.

South

In the South the Chelmsford Chieftains proved too much for Slough jets winning 14-7 on aggregate.

Streatham dominated two games over Oxford City Stars winning 4-1 and 5-2 respectively.

Raiders Junior scraped past Solent Devils in a close 2-0 win and 2-2 draw.

Finally, Bristol Pitbulls managed to see out a 6-4 win and 6-5 loss to progress past Invicta Dynamos, who miss out by one goal.

The Final Four to be played in Milton Keynes is set as:

Streatham

Bristol Pitbulls

Chelmsford Chieftains

Raiders Junior

This will result in these matchups: (Indicates League seeding)

Streatham (1st) vs Raiders Junior (7th)

Bristol Pitbulls (3rd) vs Chelmsford Chieftains (4th)

With Streatham the number one seed following their league victory they face the bottom placed seed in Raiders.

The semi-finals will be played on the 23rd of April and then the final will be played on the 24th to determine a winner.

Streatham will also appear in Coventry in the 1st of May to face NIHL Division One North winners Solway Sharks.

This is for the National Championship where the two league winners in Division One face each other.

North

There was only one surprise result in the North really as Widnes Wild were knocked out comfortably by Billingham Stars.

Widnes Wild facing Billingham Stars (PHOTO: Widnes Wild)

An 8-1 victory in Billingham followed up by a 3-2 result in Widnes’ favour away from home for Billingham settled their tie.

Widnes went into the Play-offs as the third seed and now see the sixth placed seed progress onwards.

They are the only side of the top four seeds in the North to not progress onwards.

Other than that, everything else seemed to go according to plan for the other sides.

Solway produced two extremely solid results with 7-2 and 7-0 wins over Nottingham Lions.

Whitley absolutely pasted Blackburn Hawks in an 18-2 home victory and a 3-0 away win.

This puts them in extremely good form going forwards in the competition.

The final tie was between Solihull Barons and Sheffield Scimitars.

An 11-5 aggregate result saw the Barons go through to the Final Four weekend in Leeds.

This means the four teams remaining are:

Solway Sharks

Whitley Warriors

Solihull Barons

Billingham Stars

This will mean these ties for the semi-finals: (Indicates League seeding)

Solway Sharks (1st) vs Billingham Stars (6th)

Whitley Warriors (2nd) vs Solihull Barons (4th)

As with the South division the semi-finals will take place on the 23rd of April followed by the Final on the 24th.

A reminder that Solway Sharks will also appear in Coventry on the 1st of May for the National Championship versus Streatham.

For more on this or anything else visit our Twitter page @BritIceHockey.

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