The Phantoms return to league action with a trip to Basingstoke on Saturday night, before the Swindon Wildcats visit Planet Ice Peterborough on Sunday.
PHANTOMS TEAM NEWS
Nathan Long will definitely miss the weekend. He is still out with the injury he sustained in Bracknell a couple of weeks ago.
Joe Hazeldine picked up a knock last weekend but returned to the line-up for the second leg of the National Cup Final. He was due to have a couple of tests to ensure he came through Wednesday’s unscathed before a final decision is made about his availability this weekend.
Basingstoke sit a point behind the Phantoms before Saturday’s clash between the two sides. Ash Tait’s team have been on a good run of form and are in contention for third place in the league.
Bison look to be almost at full strength as we move towards the playoffs. Josh Kelly was their only senior absentee last weekend as they won one out of two games against the Swindon Wildcats.
Alex Mettam has been getting the start between the pipes for the Bison more often than not this season and would be expected to continue this weekend.
The Bison have won five of their last six games and head into the weekend in good form. They’re a point behind the Phantoms, making it an important game for both sides in the battle for third place.
Bison Last 5
W – 5-3 v Milton Keynes Lightning (A)
W – 6-3 v Sheffield Steeldogs (H)
W – 8-4 v Leeds Chiefs (A)
L – 4-3 v Swindon Wildcats (A)
OTW – 4-3 v Swindon Wildcats (A)
Second place isn’t quite out of the Phantoms’ reach ahead of the weekend, but anything other than two wins for Slava’s side would make the position Swindon’s to lose. The Cats take on the Leeds Chiefs at the Link Centre before their Sunday visit to Peterborough.
Max Birbraer could be the only player who may not ice for the Cats on Sunday. The forward has been on a game by game contract with the Cats this season and most of his appearances have been on home ice.
Tyler Perre backed up Renny Marr last weekend, with Michael Crisp not icing for the Wildcats. Marr will get the start against the Phantoms, but Crisp could come back into contention for the backup slot.
The Wildcats have one win in their last five games – last Friday night against the Basingstoke Bison. Two of their recent losses have been in overtime, one of which was against the Phantoms.
Wildcats’ last 5
L – 3-2 v Telford Tigers (H)
OTL – 4-3 v Peterborough Phantoms (A)
L – 5-4 v Milton Keynes Lightning (H)
W – 4-3 v Basingstoke Bison (A)
OTL – 4-3 v Basingstoke Bison (H)
There’s only a point gap between nus and it’s the last game of the series with Basingstoke. We know how tough it is to play there and they’re doing a really good job at the minute. They don’t concede a lot and they’re difficult to break down. A win in this game would win us the series so, it’s a tough task, but our goal is to win the game and win the series.
We speak a lot about discipline. There are some penalties you have to take and some you don’t have to take. We have to make sure we only take the ones we have to take, then deal with defending the powerplay. But overall, the games could be won or lost in any way. So, we’ve got to match their work ethic because they’re probably the hardest working team in the league.
It’s a tough weekend, full stop. We’ll return home for Sunday’s game and it’ll be another really exciting one. All three games at home against Swindon have been really exciting and we’ve managed to come out on top in all three of them. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be an exciting game for the fans.
They’re very dangerous, they’ve probably got one of the top two offensive threats in the league and we have to manage that right and take away their time and space. If we minimise their time on the puck then we should have success, but we can’t let them have any chances on top of what they just create naturally.
If you’d like to travel on the team bus to Basingstoke, please email email@example.com.
If you can’t attend the game, full match updates will be on our Twitter account, @GoPhantoms.
Tickets to Sunday’s match against the Swindon Wildcats can be found HERE! You can also purchase your tickets from the Planet Ice Box Office upon arrival at the rink on Sunday evening. Doors will open at 4:30pm, with face off at 5:30pm.
MATCH NIGHT COMPETITIONS
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This week’s ‘shirt off your back’ is #. Tickets are £1 for 1, £2 for 3 and £5 for 10. Be sure to see one of our ticket sellers to be in with a chance to win!