The Nottingham Lions face one of their toughest away encounters of the season this Sunday, as they travel to face local-rivals Solihull Barons at Solihull Ice Arena. (6pm face off).
The Barons know that if Deeside win at Hull on Saturday evening, then nothing less than a victory will suffice if they are to maintain their challenge for the all-important second place play-off spot and with the likes of Richard Slater, Jake Larkin and former Coventry Blaze forward Joe Henry banging in the goals for them this season, Nottingham should underestimate their hosts at their peril.
Despite only playing for pride and local bragging rights, having already been crowned NIHL Division 2 North champions earlier in the month, the Lions will still be looking to collect the two points and make it seven wins in a row after a fantastic recent run of results, which has seen them score sixty-nine goals in just six games, whilst conceding only five.
However, when the two teams met at the Hobs Moat Road rink back in December, goals were in short-supply for both teams as Matt Bradbury’s men came away with a narrow 2-1 win. All the goals came in the first period, as Jake Larkin put the Barons ahead inside the first three minutes but strikes from Gareth O’Flaherty and Luke Branin meant the Lions came away with the spoils.
January’s return game at the National Ice Centre saw Nottingham storm to an 8-3 victory. A first period hat-trick from Joe Wightman and a goal against his former club, on his Lions debut from Stuart Parker, helped secure another massive win for the home side in their quest for promotion.
Nottingham should be largely unchanged from the line-up that demolished a short-benched Fylde Flyers side at the NIC last Sunday. Although it remains unclear whether ex-Panther Simon Hunt will travel, whilst defenseman Elliot Perrin looks likely to return after missing out on last weekend’s goal-fest.
If you are planning to make the short journey south to roar on the champions, in what is sure to be a great game played in a fantastic atmosphere – admission is £6 for adults, £3 concessions and a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) costs £16.
Do not despair if you can’t make the game – our official twitter feed will keep you right up to date with all the action as it happens on the night, so make sure you give us a follow!