Match Preview - Swindon Wildcats host Sheffield Steeldogs
By Lauryn Fuller
For the first instalment of this Spring Series, Swindon Wildcats host the Sheffield Steeldogs at the Link centre. Both these teams played in the Streaming series back at the end of 2020, so should be well acquainted with each other.
During the Streaming series they played two fixtures against each other, with the Steeldogs wining both fixtures. At home the Steeldogs dominated the Wildcats, with the score at the end of the Third period seeing the Steeldogs wining 5-1.
In the second of these fixtures the Steeldogs made the journey down to Swindon, hoping to add to their tally of wins over the Wildcats. This game proved to be much closer than last time out. However, the final score at the final whistle saw the Steeldogs just edge the home team 7-5 to take the series over the Wildcats.
In the 2019/20 NIHL National League, before it was abandoned due to Covid, these two teams met four times in the shortened season. The Wildcats edged the series winning 3 of the fixtures and the Steeldogs only taking one victory.
Since the Announcement of the Spring Series, both teams have been announcing new additions to the team’s rosters.
Swindon Wildcats -
- Floyd Taylor, Loris Taylor, Stevie Whitfield and Ben Nethersell are four players that opted out of the series back in November, who will taking to the Ice again for the Wildcats.
- Elites League players have also been added to the roster, Josh Batch (Cardiff Devils) has signed for the remainder of the 2020/21 season. Extra additions, Matthew Myers and Ben Davies, will be Icing for the Wildcats. With Myers having played for the Cardiff Devils last season and Davies coming from the Guildford flames.
- Another EIHL player that will be joining the team for this series is Jordan Kelsall from the Nottingham Panthers. He is a player that will be familiar to the Wildcats fan’s having played for the club in multiple different seasons over the years.
- One player that they will be without centre Chris Jones, who has opted out of the series.
Sheffield Steeldogs -
- The Steeldogs add Jonathan Phillips, who has played for the Sheffield Steelers since 2006, and Lian Kirk, who has spent the last two years in Canada at the Peterborough Pete’s.
- They welcome back four players to the Steeldogs ranks, some of whom played during the Streaming Series. Nathan Salem, who is a returning Steeldogs player that will be hitting the Ice in the coming weeks. Hull Pirates (NIHL) players Jonathan Kirk and Jason Hewitt will also be taking to the Ice again for the Steeldogs. Ben Lake is another new addition, having played at the Belfast Giants and Coventry Blaze.
The second game of opening weekend will be the reverse of this fixture, with Swindon making the journey up to Sheffield. Two teams that will be eager to get off to a flying start. The second fixture taking place so soon will allow either team to get one over on the other and keep the context fiery.