SHEFFIELD, UK – A total of ten games are scheduled for the final weekend of the regular season but all eyes will be firmly focused on the matches taking place north of the boarder.
Only three playoff places are left to be fought for and with all of the bottom five teams in with a shot of extending their season by at least a couple of weeks it’s those games that will matter.
Nottingham, Belfast, Sheffield and Coventry have already been confirmed as playoff bound, Cardiff would need a collapse seen only in the middle order of the England Cricket teams batting order to miss the post-season so it’s left to Braehead, Fife, Edinburgh, Dundee and Hull to battle it out for the last few places.
The Fife Flyers hold the slim advantage of leading the chasing pack by two points but they only have one game left to play. That game takes place on Saturday with Braehead providing the opposition and a win for the host Flyers would see them clinch their playoff place. As for the Clan, they have two games to play, including the road trip to Fife; Braehead will start their weekend quest on Friday with the visit of Dundee.
Sandwich in between Fife and Braehead in the league is Edinburgh, their good run of form has been dented in recent weeks and seen them dragged back into the chasing pack. Now level on points with Braehead and Dundee, they have to contend with a road trip to the Stars on Saturday before the two teams complete a wacky races style trip back to the Scottish Capital to complete their season the following night.
The final team in the mix is Hull, however trailing the rest by three points before a puck is dropped on the weekend means they need a massive helping hand from numerous teams if they are to make the post-season. Their final two games though couldn’t be tougher as they travel to Sheffield on Saturday, and the awaiting Steelers, before a final day home game against Coventry.
Other games on the cards see Nottingham and Cardiff finish their season with a home and away game against each other, in Nottingham on Friday before both make the long trip back to Cardiff ready for a Sunday finale. As well as Hull on Saturday night Sheffield welcome Belfast for their final games of the season the following evening, Belfast’s penultimate game sees them go to Coventry.
So, after many months of trying, the season comes down to just a few games to see who gets an invite to the playoff party. The smart money says Fife, Edinburgh and Braehead will qualify but one thing is for sure in sports anything can happen and often does, ice hockey is no different so prepare yourself for a weekend of nerves, bitten nails, and fast maths as the teams fight to be in the right place at the right time when the music stops and the final horn sounds.