5th of December 2019
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Steeldogs & Raiders for the Herd this WeekendDecember’s first weekend of NIHL National league hockey sees the Trane Basingstoke Bison at home on Saturday to the Sheffield Steeldogs, face off 6.30pm, and away to Raiders IHC on Sunday, face off for this game is 5.15pm.
The Steeldogs making the first of their two scheduled visits to the Silverdome in what is a critical game for the Herd as they look to progress to the semi-finals of the National Cup competition. Steeldogs currently sit in 6th place having won 10 out of 20 games, including a 4-3 win against the Bison in Ice Sheffield at the start of October.
Player/Coach Ben Morgan, has assembled a well balanced roster, with an average age of 24.43 it has a good blend of youth and experience. By comparison, the Bison’s average age is 24.21.
Nathan Salem and Kieran Brown are the Dogs joint leading points scorers, both on 33, Salem is 15+18, while Brown is 9+24. Incidentally, 18 year old Brown is one of three in the Steeldogs roster who are on 2 way contracts with the Sheffield Steelers, the others being Alex Graham age 16 and Jordan Griffin age 17.
With just 298 penalty minutes, Sheffield are the 2nd least penalised team in our league.
Defender, Reece Cochrane leads the way with a meagre 38 minutes accrued from 18 games.
Sheffield’s imports, Vladimir Luka and Jan Danecek are from the Czech Rep, both are playing in the UK for the first time in their careers, Luka has registered 22 pts (12+10) and Danecek has 14 (10+4).
For fans of the Bison, this will be a somewhat new look Steeldogs team compared to those of the last few seasons.
On Sunday the Herd for the 2nd time in 3 weekends make the trip to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure centre in Romford, where they will take on 8th placed London Raiders, face off is 5.15pm.
After last Saturday’s 6-3 win on home ice the Bison now lead the series 3-1, the teams have 3 scheduled fixtures still to play following this game, with games in Basingstoke on the 28th December and 1st February, plus a trip to Romford on the 9th February.
Young British forward Jake Sylvester, leads the Raiders points scoring with 22 (13+9) followed by Blahoslav Novak on 18 (11+7).
Raiders total of 466 penalty minutes is the 3rd highest in the league, leading the way in that department are Mason Webster with 74 and Jack Flynn close behind with 69.
Despite a disappointing season so far, Raiders have picked up some notable victories along the way, including wins in both Hull and Telford.
As the last two games have proved, there is very little between the teams, in which case another action packed thriller is on the cards.