February 27, 2019

The NIHL Cup Finals in the south and north begin on Thursday as Basingstoke, Peterborough, Sheffield and Telford compete for the silverware over the next couple of weeks.

Peterborough Phantoms are already cup winners this year, lifting the Autumn Cup earlier in the season after an aggregate win over Sheffield Steeldogs.  The Phantoms are on the road tomorrow (Thursday) in their first leg tie at Basingstoke Bison. (7.45pm at PI Basingstoke).

Twenty four hours later Ice Sheffield plays host to the Steeldogs vs Telford Tigers first leg in the North Final (7.30pm) as the Dogs look to lift some silverware at the second attempt this season.

The North Final concludes on Saturday at Telford Ice Rink as the Tigers take their turn to host (7pm) and the North Cup will be awarded some time before 10pm with overtime and penalty shots on standby should they be needed.

Finally the second leg of the South Final is on Wednesday March 13th at PI Peterborough as Bison travel to the Phantoms (7.45pm).

All four finalists battled through the initial group stages to their two-legged semi finals.

In the South, Basingstoke Bison edged Swindon Wildcats 9-8 on aggregate with a 4-3 win on the road in the opening leg proving decisive.  Peterborough Phantoms won 6-3 in the home leg and successfully defended that at Bracknell Bees, winning 3-2 at the Hive to secure their berth in the Final.

The North semi finals saw Telford Tigers win 5-2 at Solway Sharks in the opening leg, but the Sharks took a shock win at Telford in the second leg, albeit only a single goal so Tigers took the aggregate win.

The second semi final went down to the wire as Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs clashed in a White Rose battle.  Hull jumped out to 3-0 lead early in the second period, only for Sheffield to pull back at 3-3.  Hull’s player-coach Jason Hewitt gave his side a psychological edge with a goal at 59.01 to take a one-goal lead to the second leg.

Hull had the perfect start in second leg as Sonny Karlsson netted in the first minute to open a two-goal aggregate lead.  Sheffield tied it on aggregate by the second break, only for Hull to retake the lead through ex-Dog Lubomir Korhon.  Ashley Calvert’s powerplay marker at 56.39 sent the tie into overtime and when five extra minutes couldn’t separate the teams, Nathan Salem’s nerveless penalty shot was the difference maker and Dogs were in the Final.


Thursday February 28 – Basingstoke v Peterborough: click here

Friday March 1 – Sheffield v Telford: click here

Saturday March 2 – Telford v Sheffield: click here

Wednesday March 13 – Peterborough v Basingstoke: click here

Graphic: David Strover