2nd of January 2020
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Phantoms & Steeldogs on the Road for the HerdThe first weekend of NIHL National league ice hockey in 2020 will see the Trane Basingstoke Bison, at home to the Peterborough Phantoms, followed by a road trip to Yorkshire to take on the Sheffield Steeldogs.
Saturday’s game against Peterborough at the Silverdome, the 2nd meeting between the teams in the last week, face off time is the usual 6.30pm.
Following the games played on New Years Day, 3rd placed Phantoms now sit 4 pts behind Swindon having played one game more than the Wiltshire team, and 2 pts ahead of the Bison who have a game in hand on them.
Peterborough’s recent form shows home wins against Raiders,Bees, the Bison & an OT win in MK, while incurring losses in Romford and at home to MK.
The game in Basingstoke is the 4th in the 8 game Conference series, with the home team prevailing in each of the previous encounters.
Peterborough’s roster, captained by the popular James Ferrera, hasn't changed significantly this season, although they have recently brought in Josh Tetlow & Joe Hazeldine on tempoary loan deals from the Nottingham Panthers. Gareth O’Flaherty, who was originally signed in November as injury cover, has now agreed to stay for the remainder of the season.
In Sunday’s game the Bison travel to Ice Sheffield to take on the Sheffield Steeldogs, where the face off is at the later time of 6.30pm, not the expected 4.30pm.
Captained by Lewis Bell in his 10th season with the club, Steeldogs occupy 6th spot at present, with 15 wins from 29 games played. Recent form shows home wins against Leeds, Hull and Swindon, equaled out by away losses to Hull, Telford and MKL.
In the series so far, Sheffield have won 4-3 at home and 2-1 in Basingstoke, the latter being an overtime win courtesy of an Alex Graham PP goal and an outstanding net minding performance from Curtis Warburton, who kept out 47 of the 48 shots he faced that night.
Import forward, Vladimir Luka is their leading points scorer with 37 (20+17), while player/coach Ben Morgan is close behind him on 34 (3+31).
Just before Christmas the long serving Ashley Calvert was released, and subsequently joined another former Steeldog Liam Charnock at the Leeds Chiefs.
Yet another 2 tough games in store for Ash and the boys, where of course fans of the Herd can play a vital role by being very loud and very proud in supporting their team.