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Thread: 2014-15 NIHL South Division 2

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    Great Britain 2014-15 NIHL South Division 2

    This season, NIHL2S has gone for a regionalised conference format. The league is split into a western and eastern conference, with the top two from each conference playing a home-and-away playoff format at the end. There is no cross-over between the two conferences during the season.

    In order of where they finished last season:

    Eastern conference: Slough, Haringey, Chelmsford, Lee Valley, Peterborough, Invicta
    Western conference: Bristol, Swindon, Cardiff, Wightlink, Basingstoke

    Couple of points to note on the way that the groups have landed. The western conference is the stronger conference based upon last season's results. However, that may not hold true for this season.

    With the folding of the EPL Jets, Slough is now the top team in that rink and will undoubtedly be stronger this year and the capture of Green and Cox from Oxford is evidence of that. Haringey are in their second season now and will likely be more consistent than they were last season.

    On the other hand, questions have been raised as to whether Swindon and Cardiff can be as strong this year. Swindon have lost player/coach Jan Melichar who was a stand-out player last season, racking up huge ice time, and it remains to be seen what the fallout from the failed attempt to remove the NIHL Devils from the EIHL Devils is going to have on those teams.

    There will also likely be a difference in playing style between the two conferences. Expect the west to be a more skating focussed style, with the east being a more physical style of play.

    Finally, there will be a cup competition involving eight of the eleven teams. To make this more interesting, the first round group will consist of two teams from each conference. The top two from each group will qualify for the Finals Weekend in Oxford in March.

    Group A: Bristol, Swindon, Chelmsford, Peterborough
    Group B: Slough, Haringey, Basingstoke, Wightlink

    Graham.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    The 2014-15 NIHL2S season has officially begun!

    And it has begun with a barnstormer of a cup game in Basingstoke as the Basingstoke Buffalo downed Haringey Racers 5-4.

    Buffalo took a two-goal lead with two quick counters late in the first and never trailed in the game. But, 5-2 up with 13 minutes left, they had to endure a fantastic comeback by Racers. Just over two minutes left and they'd pulled it back to a one-goal game before Jenner took a late interference call which helped the home side hold on.

    Multiple 10-minute misconducts handed out at the end of the game, we understand for taking their helmets off. They included Chris Edwards the Basingstoke goalie, the same Edwards who worked the line in Bristol's pre-season game the night before...

    Graham.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    It was the first game of the season at the Ally Pally with a real clash of the titans from the Eastern Conference as Slough Jets Live downed their hosts, the Haringey Racers, 7-2.

    Racers' home campaign started badly when they found themselves a goal down just two minutes in. And it didn't get any better. By the time they scored their first goal, Jets had already lit the lamp a further five times and their were only six minutes left.

    What had been a feisty game with many ten-minute misconducts dished out by referees Fusco and Evans finally blew over with just over two minutes left. Jets back-up goalie, Simon Johnston, who had replaced Tony Milton earlier in the third period, was thrown out of the game on a Game Misconduct and a Match penalty.

    And they play each other five more times this season!

    In Chelmsford, the Bristol Pitbulls came away with both points after beating the Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team 6-4. Both teams traded goals through the first half of the game. But, two quick-fire goals with ten minutes left gave Bristol a 6-3 lead which was never really threatened.

    Richie Hargreaves got the first Pitbulls hat trick of the season, while Josh Dolphin got his first goal for his new team with a strong Man of the Match performance. Brandon Ayliffe got a deuce for the Warriors.

    So, after two weeks, Bristol top Group A of the NIHL2S Cup and Slough sit top of Group B. Racers are now 0-2 and now have a free weekend to regroup.

    Graham.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    Week 3 of the 2014-15 NIHL2S season gave us our first insight this season to four teams.

    Wightlink Tigers trip to play in the new Slough Jets Live first home game was ever bit as difficult as it looked on paper as they started the season with an 11-1 cup loss.

    Tigers did hold their hosts to a 1-1 when Ricky Attrill answered an early Ben Ealey-Newman goal. But, Attrill scored from one of only three shots on goal created by Tigers in that first period. While their shot count did go up as the game went on, Slough simply skated away with the game in the second half.

    Zoran Kozic made an early claim on the scoring title with 3+6. Alan Green's 2+6 and Josh Ealey-Newman's 4+2 would suggest the trio could be fighting for that honour amongst themselves.

    A much improved Peterborough Islanders scored in the first minute at Oxford Ice Rink against the Bristol Pitbulls to start their season in spectacular fashion with an 8-4 cup road win against a team who had a phenomenal road record last season.

    3-0 down at the end of the first period, Bristol spent long periods chasing shadows. In fact, they found themselves 5-0 down with nearly half the game gone before they finally started to ring the red light themselves. The fact that they won the second half of the game 4-3 will be of little consolation.

    Nathan Pollard led scoring with a 2+3 performance, while his brother Connor, Shaun Yardley and Connor Stokes all chipped in with a brace each. For the home team, Jordan Smith also got two, while Adrian Smith finished on 3 points.

    As we suggested in the preview, Cardiff was the place to be this weekend as Swindon Wildcats managed a four-goal comeback to beat the Cardiff NIHL Devils 4-3.

    A goal up after 19 seconds and 3-0 up after just nine minutes, thanks in part to Zak Sullivan's two goals, Swindon replied with four of their own to take a rare win out of South Wales. Last season, Cardiff didn't lose at home until the last game of the season. This year, they've started with a loss.

    Ben Nethersell led scoring with three assists. Former Pitbull, Luke Merrick, played his first game for Cardiff, coincidentally against the team he'd left.

    Finally, Bristol responded to their poor showing against Peterborough with a convincing 9-3 league win at the Basingstoke Buffalo.

    In a fast-paced game, Bristol showed a greater level of quality in front of the net to take a 4-1 lead. After that, Bristol looked comfortable controlling the game.

    In his 100th game for the club, Matt Thornhill was the only Pitbull to score multiple goals with a deuce. Adi Smith, Olly Shone, Jordan Smith and Grant Richardson also scored single counters. But, special mention has to go to Zach Dolphin scoring his first for his new team, just eight days after his brother Josh had done the same, Janne Virtanen scoring against his adopted hometown team in his first game back from injury and Tom Asprey scoring only his second senior goal in eight years of trying.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    Week 4 and while the Bristol Pitbulls are not playing this weekend, there is no shortage of action elsewhere, particularly in the league.

    On Saturday, Invicta Mustangs start their season but a home league game against Slough Jets Live isn't exactly a gentle break into a new campaign. Invicta finished bottom of NIHL2S last season with only three wins to their name and will be desperate to have a strong start to the season to exorcise the demons of last year. But, Slough are already on two wins this season, and their first line combined for nine goals last weekend against Wightlink. It may be a tough opening night for the 'stangs.

    After a weekend off, Haringey Racers host Peterborough Islanders in the league. It's been a troubled start for Racers, losing their first two cup games, including a convincing home defeat to Slough two weeks ago. Racers will not want to start their league campaign in the same manner. But, Islanders will be holding their heads high after their convincing win last weekend at the Bristol Pitbulls. It may be early in the season, but this may give us a strong indication if Racers are suffering a difficult second album season and if Islanders really have recovered from last season's disappointment.

    On Sunday, Cardiff Enl Devils travel to Swindon Wildcats for the return leg of last weekend's league game in South Wales, a game which Swindon won 4-3. Cardiff started strong in that game, being 3-0 up after just nine minutes. They will be deeply disappointed with the collapse that allowed the two points to return back over the Severn Crossing.

    After their late start to the season, Invicta Mustangs make up for lost time by going straight into a double header weekend. On Sunday they make the short trip to play Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team in the league. Warriors haven't played since their opening day defeat to Bristol two weeks ago. However, the bulk of the team have played for Chelmsford's u18 team in two games against the Lee Valley Lions u18 team, beating them with a combined score of 60-1.

    Finally, there is one cup game on Sunday as Wightlink Tigers travel to Basingstoke Buffalo. Buffalo lost their league opener to Bristol last weekend, while Tigers were ripped apart by Slough's first line in their cup opener. Fair to say that this is a game that both teams could do with winning to ensure they aren't entering a losing streak.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    Week 4 League Review

    Game of the weekend was undoubtedly the 6-6 draw in Haringey Racers' home league game against Peterborough Islanders. Racers were desperate to get their first win of the season, while Islanders were looking to capitalise on a strong start against Bristol the previous weekend.

    Islanders built an early 2-0 lead but Racers quickly settled their nerves and took a 5-4 lead into the second break thanks to a 4-1 middle period. But the next two goals were scored by the visitors and with the clock counting down, it looked like Racers were going to lose their second home game in a row. But, hat trick hero Matt Brown stepped up with the game-tying goal with just 12 seconds left on the clock.

    It leaves Racers winless in their first three games of the season, but will at least give them confidence that the first win is within reach. However, conceding three powerplay goals from only six penalties will be a cause for concern. For Islanders, Nathan Pollard followed up his 5-point haul against Bristol with a hat-trick.

    Elsewhere on Saturday, Slough Jets Live continued their strong start to the season with a 13-0 hammering away to Invicta Mustangs in the league.

    Jets showed that they have firepower even without Zoran Kozic who didn't travel. Conor Redmond chipped in with four goals, while Jordan Ricketts also produced a five-point game. Alan Green came in with a hat-trick and must be the leading candidate for the league's top scorer.

    Danny Milton did need to make 23 saves to get the shut-out. Matt Daubney at the other end of the ice was noticeably the busier of the two, still producing 54 saves.

    On Sunday, Cardiff Enl Devils travelled to Swindon Wildcats where they reversed their defeat the previous weekend with a 6-2 win.

    Despite only travelling with 12 skaters, a 3-0 middle period allowed the guests to break the game and create a lead that the 'cats were incapable of pulling back. Swindon's Captain, Loris Taylor, scored Swindon's second goal inside the last minute of the game to keep the score respectable. But, Swindon will not be happy being outshot 41-28 on home ice.

    Invicta's hopes that they could put in a stronger performance than they had last season took a dent at Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team when they lost 13-0 for the second day in a row.

    Jake Sylvester and Lewis Jones both came in with four-point games, with a hat-trick for Oliver Baldock. Chelmsford must be happy with the way that the goals were spread throughout their roster. Mustangs, however, must be concerned that they had 47 shots over the weekend and failed to convert any of them.

    Finally, Basingstoke Buffalo rebounded from their home defeat to Bristol the previous weekend with a 10-2 home win over Wightlink Tigers. Mark Pitts joined Slough's Redmond and Ricketts in the five-point game club, while Gregory Martyn threw in a hat-trick.

    Buffalo only took four minutes in penalties, and are already laying down a strong marker to retain their Fair Play Trophy from last season.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    Week 5 of the 2014-15 NIHL2 season sees only three games.

    Peterborough Islanders host the Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team in Saturday's only game. Islanders will be disappointed to have come within 12 seconds of a 100% start to their season last weekend against the Haringey Racers. But, they are still unbeaten. And, with Nathan Pollard on eight points from two games, they will have confidence that they can take that road form into their first home game of the season.

    Warriors have no shortage of firepower, either. They put 13 past Invicta last weekend and their face cages have been lighting up the u18 league this season, too. Last weekend's hat trick hero, Oliver Baldcock already has 16 points in two games for the Mohawks u18 side. Having split their first two games at home, it's a first road trip this season for the Warriors. They'll be keen to show that they can travel well.

    On Sunday, the Bristol Pitbulls travel to Swindon NIHL Wildcats for a cup game. You know there's something wrong when road games are closer than home games!

    Bristol have split their first two cup games and sit second in their group. Swindon are making their first appearance in the competition after splitting a league series against the Cardiff Enl Devils over the previous two weekends.

    Bristol will be bringing out their new defensive signing, James Warman, for his first game of the season and need to make sure their cup campaign hasn't been derailed by that loss to Peterborough. Swindon's joy at winning in the fortress that is Cardiff was short-lived when they were found to be wanting the following week. The 'cats need to reclaim home ice as their own.

    Finally, Cardiff travel to the island to take on the Wightlink Tigers in the league. Cardiff have a reputation for being poor travellers, but Wightlink have had a horrible start to the season, conceding double figures in both of their cup games so far. But, this is Tigers' first game on their small ice pad. This may be the game where they start their season proper.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    Week 5 NIHL2S review...

    On Saturday, the Peterborough Islanders were stunned to find themselves 2-0 to the Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team with less than five minutes played in their first home game of the season as sixteen year old Oliver Baldock continued his stunning form this season.

    Islanders did fight back, though. Quite literally in a match that saw them assessed 100 minutes in penalties. Four Peterborough players were given 10-minute misconducts, including a second misconduct penalty to Callum Worthington-Evans.

    In amongst the penalties, Islanders were the ones lighting up the red light with five straight goals before Warriors could reply. Nathan Pollard continued his claim as best NIHL2S player over the first month of the season with 2+1. But, there may be concern in The Fens at the lack of goals coming from the other lines.

    Still, Islanders do sit top of Group A in the cup with a 100% record. Warriors are still to waiting for their first cup win and face a challenge if they are to repeat their semi-final appearance of last season.

    On Sunday, Cardiff Enl Devils traveled to the real island to take on a Wightlink Tigers side who had conceded double figures in their first two games. It was much tighter this time, but Tigers still came out on the wrong side of a 5-4 scoreline.

    Three goals from the first eight shots by the Welsh side saw Elliott Powell pulled from the home net and left Tigers chasing the game all night long. To be fair, they very nearly did it with a late rally from 5-2 down.

    Interestingly, Cardiff, a team with a reputation of being unbeatable at home but very poor travellers have completely changed that so far this season. They've lost their only home game but have a 100% record on the road. As a result, Cardiff how sit top of the Western Conference.

    Finally, Swindon Wildcats succeeded where Wightlink failed, by coming from behind to tie their home cup game 5-5 against the Bristol Pitbulls.

    Bristol took an early lead through Jordan Smith but then fell victim to their own indiscipline. Of Swindon's five goals, four were scored on the powerplay.

    Bristol did recover from a 2-1 first period deficit to lead the game 5-3 midway through the third. But, a late delay of the game penalty on Sam Shone for firing the puck out of the defensive zone, incredibly the fourth such penalty on Bristol in the game, gave the hosts a late powerplay opportunity which was converted by Glenn Billing.

    Bristol now sit second in both their cup group and their league conference. But, a warning shot has been fired across the bow of the players by Richie Hargreaves. He's not after second places...
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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    Week 6 roundup...

    There is now only one team left undefeated in NIHL2S. Given how few games have actually been played so far, that bodes well for the competitiveness of the league this year. But, Slough Jets Live may be the one exception to that. A 6-3 road win at Peterborough Islanders was just yet another scalp claimed in their excellent early season form.

    Once again, Islanders found themselves slow out of the blocks at home. The previous weekend, Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team were two goals up within the first five minutes. This week, Slough only needed six minutes to be 3-0 up. And Slough are clearly too strong a team to give a head start to.

    In fairness to Islanders, they did get it back to 4-3 in the third period having outshot their opposition. Jets double their lead with seven minutes still to play and then made the game safe with an empty netter after Lane had been pulled for the extra attacker.

    Groom was thrown out for fighting in the second period, Green for boarding in the third period which will see him banned for their home game against Warriors this weekend. Both Ealey-Newman brothers got a brace for Slough.

    Haringey Racers finally got their first win of the season in a 8-2 home win over Wightlink Tigers in the cup.

    Racers hammered the Tigers' net with a total of 67 shots and were never really in trouble. Indeed, the game was long over as a contest before the flash point in the final minute. Racers were already down to three men on the ice when it all kicked off on the ice. Former Pitbull Ali Band completed his Gordie Howe hat trick, while Tyrell and Rich were sent for an early shower. Tyrell will be suspended this weekend for his team's game away to Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey Team as a result.

    Lee Valley Lions' late start to the season didn't start as they would have hoped with an 11-0 hammering on the road to Chelmsford.
    Oliver Balcock was once again the stop scorer for his team with 2+3, while Sonny Phillips collected the shut-out for the home team.

    Finally, Basingstoke Buffalo built upon their strong performance against Wightlink with a 9-0 hammering of Swindon.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

  10. #10
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    Week 7 NIHL2S review.

    Slough Jets Live maintained their 100% record with their fifth win of the season, this time 4-1 at home against Chelmsford Warriors Ice Hockey Team. Warriors actually outshot their hosts 48-44, but couldn't find a way past Danny Milton in the Slough net until their last shot of the game right on the final buzzer.

    However, four goals is the least amount that Slough have scored so far this season. Missing some of their goal scorers, Warriors will be hopeful that they can beat the early pace-setters before the end of the season.

    Basingstoke Buffalo left Oxford 7-6 winners over the Bristol Pitbulls in a real end-to-end game. Ultimately, it was a disastrous 6-3 second period that cost Bristol the game. Bristol mounted a comeback in the third. But, with Olly Shone going for 2+10 for checking from behind and Jordan Smith thrown out of the game for abuse of an official with 10 minutes left to play, Bristol's comeback was terminated just short of their target.

    After losing their first two games 13-0, Invicta Mustangs came out with a far more competitive 3-0 home defeat to Peterborough Islanders. However, Matthew Passmore in the 'stangs net had to make an incredible 65 saves to keep the scoreline tight. And only one of the goals he conceded didn't come on a Peterborough powerplay.

    But, Invicta have now not scored in their first 180 minutes of hockey this season. Needless to say, that is a run that they will be determined to not extend any further.

    Haringey Racers enjoyed a four point weekend on the road, thanks to two one-goal games.

    On Saturday, Lee Valley Lions twice came from behind to tie the game at five apiece with time running out. But, it would be to Haringey that the two points would ultimately go as the away team got the final goal of the game to win 6-5.

    The next night, they travelled to Chelmsford. This time it was Racers who had to come from behind to take a 4-3 win back home. Sean Martin was thrown out in the third on a 2+2+Game for roughing.

    Finally, Wightlink Tigers continued their losing start to the season with an 8-5 home defeat to Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey Team, despite the Cats travelling with only 13 skaters. Loris Taylor got his name on all but one of their goals with an impressive 4+3.
    "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."
    ---
    "Night Watch", Terry Pratchett

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