It’s another weekend of NIHL Autumn Cup action for your Peterborough Phantoms with two more tough tests in store against the Sheffield Steeldogs and Leeds Knights.
PHANTOMS TEAM NEWS
Phantoms are expecting to be without forward Morgan Clarke-Pizzo, who is likely to be in the lineup for the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday night.
Jarvis Hunt and Bradley Bowering could return to the Phantoms lineup after missing the last few games, but Nathan Long is still out. There is a race against time for another member of the Phantoms roster, with the decision on his availability for this evening not yet made.
The Steeldogs have enjoyed a strong start to their Autumn Cup campaign with four wins and one loss on their record up to this point.
It was a productive summer for the Steeldogs who have looked to build on their strong showing in the streaming series of 2019/20. They have added a number of players to their roster in the absence of the Hull Pirates from this year’s NIHL National.
Jonathan Kirk, Matt Bissonnette, Lee Bonner and Sam Towner have all signed with the Steeldogs from the Pirates for this season, whilst former Pirates player-coach, Jason Hewitt, penned a two-year deal with the Dogs.
The Pirates cohort join up with a core of regulars in the Steeldogs team. Dmitri Zimozdra, Lewis Bell, Ben Morgan, Tim Smith, Nathan Salem, Charlie Thompson and James Spurr are just a few of the names who have iced in the steel city for the last few years and remain on the Steeldogs roster today.
After a break of a couple of years, Greg Wood got back behind the Steeldogs’ bench as an assistant coach in 2019/20, before leading the team in their streaming series exploits of 20/21 and remains at the helm coming into the new season.
The Knights are the only team in the division who still boast a 100& record with five wins from their opening five games.
The summer leading into their second full season as an organisation was always going to be a big one for the Knights and its a summer they’ve executed decisively and effectively.
Free scoring forwards Kieran Brown, Matty Davies, Cole Shudra and Brandon Whistle have all linked up with the Knights, whilst Ross Kennedy, Jordan Griffin and Ben Solder are among the names bolstering their defensive line.
They’ve also added a couple of younger guys to their roster, with the likes of Archie Hazeldine (brother of former Phantom, Joe), plying his trade at Elland Road this year.
Dave Whistle, father of Knights’ forward Brandon and Belfast Giants’ goalie Jackson, is no stranger to British hockey, having played in Billingham, Romford, Basingstoke, Telford and Bracknell in his playing days. He also has vast experience in coaching in the UK with Bracknell, Belfast, Cardiff, Sheffield and now Leeds.
Since I’ve been at the Phantoms, we’ve always known what we’re in for when we play against Sheffield. They’ve always been a team who will play hard, with physicality and they don’t stop skating to their full capacity for the full 60 minutes of any game.
In the last couple of years they’ve made some good signings and added more firepower to their team, so we know we need to be responsible defensively and clinical when we create chances of our own.
Leeds have really benefitted from the extended break. It’s given them time to appoint a good new coach and also to bring in a lot of new guys who have helped them to improve greatly on their first season in the league.
Statistically they’ve got the best defence and attack in the league so far so we know we have no room for error on Sunday night. We need to make sure we do the simple things right and limit any mistakes in any of the three zones of the ice. If we do this, compete to our maximum for the full 60 minutes and take our chances when they come along, we’ll give ourselves a chance of winning any game.
Good results are important for us this weekend in terms of trying to progress in the cup, so we’ll focus fully on executing our game plan in Saturday’s game and then turn our attention to our road game in Leeds on Sunday night.
Tickets for Saturday’s home game (6pm doors open, 7pm face off) are available HERE! Alternatively, tickets will be available from the Planet Ice Box Office upon arrival at the rink this evening.
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 # TBC. 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 s’ jersey!