March 10, 2018
The league titles in NIHL 1 in both north and south will go to the wire this weekend, with Moralee and Britton division honours up for grabs.
In the north, the fixture setters got it spot on with Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs playing a home and home series this weekend starting tonight in Sheffield. Pirates hold the edge with 60pts to Steeldogs 59pts and one win of any type this weekend is enough for the Pirates as they would hold the series tiebreaker. The Dogs need two wins to take the crown.
Hull won the last meeting between the sides just two weeks ago, 6-3 at Sheffield, but the Dogs will look to recapture the form of the National Cup which saw them win twice in successive nights over the Pirates to reach the Cup Final.
Steeldogs have reported that tonight’s game is likely to be a sellout so asking fans without tickets already booked not to travel. Face off tonight is 7.45pm at Ice Sheffield, with the return at Hull Arena on Sunday at 5.30pm.
Teams in the NIHL South are just as likely to need a calculator this weekend as skates and sticks as the Britton division could be decided on goal difference or goals scored.
Basingstoke Bison and Peterborough Phantoms are the two sides fighting for the silverware and they literally could not be closer.
Phantoms are on 54 points with one game remaining, while Bison are on 52 points with two games this weekend. Should the teams win their respective games they will be level on 56 points.
The head to head record in the league are identical – two wins each, 11 goals scored, 11 goals conceded. The next tie break is overall goal difference – Peterborough lead 88-82 on the mark. If they were level on goal difference it would go to overall goals scored – Peterborough 153, Basingstoke 140.
Tonight Peterborough host Streatham in their final league game (7pm) while Basingstoke take on Invicta in Hampshire (6.30pm). On Sunday the Bison are away to bottom side Cardiff Fire (6pm) while Peterborough players and staff will be anxiously watching social media and webcasts to find out their fate.
Aside from the championship action there is still the matter of playoff seedings to be decided in both divisions, so follow @NIHLhockey on Twitter for a summary of the action as it happens, use the hashtag #oneNIHL if you’re posting updates from games and wherever you’re watching this weekend enjoy the hockey, and good luck to all sides!