The weekend is upon us once again, and this week, the Phantoms take on the Raiders in Romford on Saturday (5:15pm), before welcoming Telford to Peterborough on Sunday (5:30pm).
PHANTOMS TEAM NEWS
Phantoms will be without forward Corey McEwen, who is recovering from an injury. McEwen skated during the week and is stepping up his recovery. If all goes to plan and there are no further complications, he will be back in the line-up for the Phantoms’ double header against the Hull Pirates on the 25th and 26th October.
Joe Gretton and Kieran Raynor will travel to Romford on Saturday as part of the Phantoms 1 side. They are expected to ice for Phantoms 2 on Sunday as they travel to take on Streatham.
The Raiders followed up their impressive four point weekend of two weeks ago with two losses last weekend. They beat both Hull and Swindon but lost out to Basingstoke and Leeds last week. They currently have the most penalty minutes in the league and became the first team in the league to pass the 200 penalty minute mark.
After missing a number of Raiders’ opening games through injury, import Marek Malinsky is now available and in the line-up.
Jack Flynn is also likely to play for the Raiders; the 21-year-old forward has 32 penalty minutes in 8 games. He has had one of the more unconventional hockey careers to date, having played 31 times for the Pretoria Capitals in five spells with the South African side.
Blaho Novak and Lukas Sladkovsky have both enjoyed productive starts to the season in Raiders colours, with Novak currently sitting on eight goals and three assists for 11 points in eight games.
Raiders have one former Phantom in their ranks. Mason Webster re-signed with the Raiders for another year and is likely to feature against the Phantoms on Saturday.
33-year-old Sean Easton is into his third year as the Head Coach of the Raiders. He has been coaching in some capacity since the 2011/12 season, with most of his coaching experience coming with the various Chelmsford teams.
He played all but two of his playing days in Chelmsford. He spent two seasons with Streatham, but the rest of his career was played for the Chieftains and Warriors.
He is also the Head Coach of the Great Britain Under 18 side. He picked Phantoms defenceman Bradley Bowering for the squad, and Bowering went on to be named GB’s best player in last year’s World Championships.
Tom Watkins’ Telford Tigers side currently sit at the top of the NIHL National table. They come into this weekend on the back of six consecutive victories and haven’t lost since opening day. They welcome the Sheffield Steeldogs to Telford on Saturday night, before their trip to Peterborough.
The Tigers squad has a blend of youth and experience. In Jason Silverthorn, Rick Plant and Jonathan Weaver, they have three players who are over 40 years old, but also have five players in their side who are aged 18 or under.
Former Coventry Blaze forward, Dominik Florian, has enjoyed a good start to the season. He currently sits on six goals and five assists for 11 points in 7 games. Meanwhile, veteran forward Scott McKenzie has five goals and give assists.
Andy McKinney and Daniel Mitchell bring an edge to the Tigers side. Both have dropped their gloves on more than one occasion already this season. Phantoms fans will recognise the name of McKinney, mainly from his days with the Guildford Flames and Manchester Phoenix. Mitchell, meanwhile, is an 18-year-old who broke into the Tigers side in the 2017/18 season.
Tom Watkins has added young forward Brandon Whistle to his roster. Last year was his first year in British hockey, where he featured 52 times for the Sheffield Steelers in the Elite League. He is the brother of Nottingham Panthers goalie, Jackson Whistle.
This season is Tom Watkins’ tenth as the coach of the Telford Tigers. The 41-year-old former Great Britain International originally took over as player coach in 2010/11 and has been the Head Coach ever since.
Watkins played most of his career with either the Coventry Blaze in the Elite League, or the Tigers. He played four times for the Peterborough Pirates in the 1999/2000 season. His younger brother, Jack Watkins, plays for him at Telford.
London is a tough place to go. They’re an aggressive team who like to play an aggressive style. When they’re on top, they’re really hard to play against and they proved this by beating Swindon and Hull two weeks ago. We have to match their intensity to make sure we don’t get overrun. But we also still have to play our game. They have good depth in their forward lines, so we’ll have to defend well as a unit, and we need good goaltending.
Telford are a team who are playing with confidence right now, being top of the table. They’ve gone 6 and 0 in their last 6 games and they’re playing well. They’re a very hard-working team. I know Tom Watkins and worked with him in the GB set up, he’s very professional and demanding. Seeing some highlights, it’s clear they have tactics in place in all three zones. I think it will be a great game to be involved in!
In the last two or three weeks, the rink has been really loud, and the fans have been really supportive during the game. We all know how effective it is when the fans are on their feet, shouting and cheering. It passes on through the line-up and feels like it gives us an extra man advantage. If the fans can keep that going, it’ll be huge, especially in a high-profile game like Sunday. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday, cheering us on and being loud from start to finish!
To book your place on the team bus for Saturday’s trip to face the Raiders, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re unable to attend the match, full updates can be found on our Twitter account @GoPhantoms.
Tickets to Sunday’s game against Telford are available HERE, or from the Planet Ice Box Office upon arrival to the rink on Sunday evening.
MATCH NIGHT COMPETITIONS
50/50 tickets will be on sale, as ever, from our match night ticket sellers. Tickets are priced at £1 for 1, £2 for 3 and £5 for 10.
This week’s ‘shirt off your back’ is captain #17 James Ferrara’s white jersey. Tickets are priced at £1 for 1, £2 for 3 and £5 for 10.
Be sure to see one of our match night ticket sellers to be in with a chance to win!