PREVIEW: Peterborough vs Stars
In the 2012/13 NIHL2 season Peterborough lead the division for a good four months and one glance at their squad shows why, a fantastic array of young talent, most of which have iced at EPIHL level as well and not looked out of place backed up with some great experienced players and the leadership of Ross Mackintosh who has been head player/coach for some time now.
However, Oxford was easily Peterboroughâ€™s bogey team for the 2012/13 season, as they took on Stars four times in competitive games and found themselves defeated on each occasion. Both Stars and Peterborough took part in last seasons NIHL1 Cup and found the going tough against the NIHL1 teams losing all six games each to them and in the cup fixtures, Stars won 4-3 away in a physical clash in the second weekend of the season before winning 6-5 at home a month later after a late late goal from Joe Edwards gave all the points to the Stars.
In the league, both sides would have to wait until mid-March for the first league encounter. Both games saw fantastic crowds, with nearly 400 in Oxford Ice Rink for the home leg where the Stars prevailed 5-2 and over 450 in Peterborough. From an Oxford point of view, the final game was the best. A scoreless first period was finally broken by a controversial Peterborough goal in the second, but when Jacob Smith got the scoring underway for the Stars, they never looked back and cruised to a 7-1 victory making the league title all but won.
Turning to this weekends clash, Islanders find themselves as the last team to get themselves started which could put them at a disadvantage compared to the Stars who have played four games in total (two pre-season, two league).
Peterboroughâ€™s team details are still not fully confirmed for the next season. However, top scorer James Pentecost will return. Pentecost lead the scoring with 57 points in 23 games and will naturally be a potent attacking force for the hosts and itâ€™s likely that they will be reasonably unchanged from last season.
Stars will likely be unchanged going into the game with no injuries or absences reported at time of writing.
Last five meetings:
31st March 2013 â€“ NIHL2 â€“ Peterborough Islanders 1 â€“ 7 Oxford City Stars
17th March 2013 â€“ NIHL2 â€“ Oxford City Stars 5 â€“ 2 Peterborough Islanders
2nd December 2012 â€“ NIHL Cup â€“ Oxford City Stars 6 â€“ 5 Peterborough Islanders
15th September 2012 â€“ NIHL Cup â€“ Peterborough Islanders 3 â€“ 4 Oxford City Stars
4th March 2012 â€“ ENL2 â€“ Peterborough Islanders 2 â€“ 2 Oxford City Stars