BIH: weekend preview for NIHL North
NIHL North leaders Whitley Warriors host Blackburn Hawks on Sunday, in the first of four games which could go a long way to deciding this seasonâ€™s Moralee D1 champions.
Two wins last weekend saw David Longstaffâ€™s team open up a three-point lead at the top of the table, but the Lancashire outfit have four games in hand.
The two teams meet four times between now and January 10th and forward Shaun Kippin recognises the importance of the series.
â€œWe were very happy last week with four points on the road last weekend,â€ said Kippin. â€œThe next four games will make or break our season as they are all against Blackburn.
â€œThey have a great team and the fact they havenâ€™t been beaten for a long time shows this. Weâ€™re all looking forward to these games, and hope to create a big rivalry over the next month.â€
Teammate Andre Payette is eagerly anticipating facing last yearâ€™s double winners and says heâ€™s ready to do whatever it takes to help his team secure the points.
â€œI havenâ€™t changed my playing style,â€ said Payette. â€œI am looking forward to Sunday as Blackburn have signed a player (Reece Cairney-Witter) just to see me.
â€œAs I have got older I enjoy fighting even more. There arenâ€™t many takers out there, but if anybody wants their go you can be sure I will accommodate them.
â€œWe have a few guys that are prepared to drop the gloves like Cal Watson, Alan Yarrow and Jordan Barnes. We have the toughest team in the league and Iâ€™m not afraid to say that.â€
Telford Tigers NIHL travel to Solway Sharks on Saturday looking to maintain their recent good form.
Tigers made it eight wins from their last 11 games with victory at Sheffield Senators last week, but Head Coach Jason Parry expects a much tougher test this weekend.
He said: â€œSolway have improved recently, and with guys like (Juraj) Senko in the team, they are always going to be a big danger for us. If Cingel ices they will be even more dangerous.
â€œOf course I think they would have liked to play better this season, but theyâ€™re not losing games by a lot. Theyâ€™ve got some good players on their team.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think beating the bottom side 6-3 last week will make a huge difference, but the guys should be up for this game anyway.
â€œThat is why weâ€™re in this division, to play in better games against better teams.â€
Deeside Dragonsâ€™ boss Lol Paul is refusing to underestimate the threat posed by Hull Jets in Saturday nightâ€™s encounter at Chester Road.
The two teams meet just seven days after their previous Laidler D2 game in Humberside, a match Deeside won 8-3.
He said: â€œThe guys are riding high on confidence at the moment, which is crucial if weâ€™re to keep up the pressure on the league leaders. The last thing we need is to lose on Saturday night.
â€œMomentum is so important at this stage of the season, especially with our game in Nottingham coming up the weekend after. I want us to be fully prepared for that match.
â€œWe played well up in Hull, but there were some dangerous signs later on in the game. Iâ€™m confident weâ€™ll put in another good performance, but we canâ€™t rest of our laurels.â€
â€œWhen we finally hit our full potential, I think weâ€™ll take control of the league.â€
NIHL North Moralee D1
Solway Sharks v Telford Tigers NIHL
Billingham Stars v Sheffield Senators
Solihull Barons v Sutton Sting
Whitley Warriors v Blackburn Hawks
NIHL North Laidler D2
Blackburn Eagles v Widnes Wild
Deeside Dragons v Hill Jets
Widnes Wild v Blackburn Eagles
Coventry Blaze v Deeside Dragons
Written by www.britishicehockey.co.uk and used with permission