We look forward to the weekend ahead as the Phantoms battle the Bees on home ice on Saturday night before a trip to Romford to take on the Raiders on Sunday evening.
PHANTOMS TEAM NEWS
Bradley Bowering will face a late fitness test as we head into the second weekend of competitive fixtures. The 19 year old defenceman sustained an injury in the opening period in Phantoms’ first pre-season game in Milton Keynes and has been out of the lineup for the last three games. If he comes through testing, he could make his return to the lineup this weekend.
Newly appointed captain, Will Weldon, returned to the roster last weekend after missing the pre-season games through injury. Weldon is expected to be ready to go again this weekend with his knock now hopefully behind him.
The Bees had a positive set of results in pre-season, but didn’t manage to translate that into competitive victories last weekend. Doug Shephard’s side lost 7-1 in Leeds on Saturday night before going down 4-1 to the Swindon Wildcats in their home opener in Slough on Sunday evening.
It was an extremely busy summer for the Bees as they saw a number of incomings and outgoings from the club ahead of the 2021/22 season. Danny Milton (Raiders 2), Zack Milton, Aidan Doughty, Brendan Baird (Basingstoke), Deakan Fielder (Telford), Ed Knaggs (MKL) and Roman Malinik (Czech) all opted against returning to the side for the new season.
But they were able to replace their outgoings with a large number of new players. Goalie Curtis Warburton joined up on a two-way with the Sheffield Steelers, whilst defencemen Josh Kelly (Basingstoke) and Edward Bradley (North American Juniors) also signed on the dotted line.
In attack, they brought back forward Dominik Gabaj on a three year deal and also signed Harry Harcup (Slough 2-way), Bayley Harewood (Basingstoke), Juha Lindgren (Slough), Christian Mohr (Slough), Luke Smital (Slough), Mikey Power (North American Juniors) and Niklas Örnmarker (Sweden). 22 year old Örnmarker flew into the Bees lineup after spending the majority of his career Sweden, lighting the lamp several times in pre season. Power linked up with the Bees after posting good numbers in junior hockey in North America.
Canadian Doug Shephard has been around British hockey for many years and has been in charge of the Bees for the last four. Following a long spell with the Basingstoke Bison, he headed to the Bees for the 2018/19 season and has remained at the helm ever since.
Sunday night will see the Phantoms take on the Raiders for the first time since the pandemic as the teams compete for invaluable points in the NIHL National Autumn Cup.
Raiders’ head coach, Sean Easton, has remained loyal to the vast majority of players who produced a positive season for the club in 2019/20. Ross Connolly departed the team for the Telford Tigers, whilst Harry Gulliver stepped up to the Elite League with the Manchester Storm after an impressive showing in the NIHL streaming series.
Easton acted fast to replace his departed men with fresh recruits. Tom Relf joined the Raiders’ defensive core having previously played in Sheffield, whilst Rio Grinnell-Parke left the Milton Keynes Lightning to spend the next year in Romford.
However, Grinnell-Parke and import Lukas Sladkovsky missed the Raiders’ fixtures last weekend and it’s not yet known whether either of them will return to the lineup this weekend. 17 year old forwards TJ Anderson and Harry Corkum deputised for the missing Raiders men.
Sean Easton’s coaching career began back in 2011/12 when he was the Assistant Coach of the Chelmsford Chieftains. Since then, he’s had a number of Head Coach roles in Chelmsford, before moving onto to take the helm at the Raiders in 2017. He’s also had experience with the Great Britain setup, having been the GB18’s Head Coach for a number of years, a role he continues into this season.
The Bees’ philosophy is to have a relentless work ethic and we have to make sure we match their intensity and work rate to have a chance of a positive result against them on Saturday night. They’ve got a lot of new faces on their team this year so it’ll be interesting to see how they shape up. For us it’s important to take the positives from last weekend and continue to implement them into our game more consistently to give us the best possible chance of winning each game.
Raiders are another team we’re playing for the first time this year, they’ve kept the core of their roster the same and we know they go hard at home, they’re hard to beat on their own ice and our compete level has to be 110%. If we match that it’ll come down to details to get the positive result on the road.
We had a good meeting with the guys after last Saturday and we spoke about what we need to change and do better to win games and we saw the outcomes of that meeting in practice on Sunday night’s game. It’s important now that we look at those things we did well and make sure we start to do them on a more regular basis to give ourselves more of a chance of a positive result in each game.
For tickets to the home game against Bees on Sunday (6pm doors open, 7pm face off), click HERE, or purchase your tickets from the Planet Ice Box Office upon arrival at the rink!
If you’d like to attend Sunday’s game in Romford, tickets are available HERE. If you can’t make it to the game, full match updates will be found, as always, on the @GoPhantoms Twitter page.
MATCH NIGHT COMPETITIONS
50/50 tickets are £1 for 1, £2 for 3 and £5 for 10. To be in with a chance of playing Puck It, simply purchase £5 worth of 50/50 tickets to be entered into the draw to participate!
Shirt off your back this week is #72 Glenn Billing. Tickets are £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 of winning Glenny’s jersey!