Play Off Weekend – The Definitive Preview

It’s been a turbulent week to say the least, however it’s time to forget politics and come together for the best weekend of the hockey year. The Cat’s Whiskers proudly presents the definitive play-off preview, looking at the party on Friday, the games on Saturday and all weather, parking and travel information for the weekend, starting with The Play-Off party at The Windsor Castle pub on Friday night.

PLAY-OFF PARTY

At 7pm on Friday Night The Windsor Castle Pub in Carlton will play host to a Play-Off party for all hockey fans (map). This is a chance for fans of all clubs to get together full details of the events for the night can be found here. I’m sure everyone would like to thank Keefe who has opened his pub up so that we can all have a great start to the weekend. Good on ya mate!

TRANSPORT & PARKING

For those travelling to Nottingham on Saturday, the car parks near the NIC are the NCP at Stoney Street and the Council Car Park at Fletcher Gate. Do not use the street parking meters as the maximum you can park is 2 hours. If you plan on parking all weekend the best offer is at the Metro Car Park which is approximately a 10 minute walk from the NIC, £14.50 for the weekend. If you plan on using the tram there are five park and ride sites around Nottingham, a day ticket costs £2.70 and yo need to leave the tram at the Lace Market stop, which is a five minute walk from the NIC. If you are planning on leaving your car in the park and ride overnight you do so at your own risk. There is CCTV camera’s but to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t advise it! On a final happy note the weather for the weekend is forecast to be nice and sunny. Perfect!

Finally on to the games themselves, which is what we’re all here for!

SHEFFIELD STEELERS v CARDIFF DEVILS 1pm face off

The first game should be very interesting indeed. Champions Sheffield won the league a a canter, but Devils are the form team coming into the tournament. Add into the mix a certain Brad Voth and it has the potential to become explosive. Remember that word potential, then go back in time 12 months. It was also Steelers v Devils in the semi, a dull game where Voth was largely anonymous, the Steelers skated to a 2-1 win. Both teams have mean defences but I really hope we don’t have a defensive game like last year, however each team has to play to their strengths in order to win. I think this could go either way, but a lot will depend on Voth’s influence. If the Steelers can nullify the threat of Voth I expect them to win. However, a bloodbath with both teams nearly destroying each other would be just the ticket!

COVENTRY BLAZE V NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS 5pm face off

Once the Zamboni has swept away the last bit of claret, we get the second semi, and what a cracker it will hopefully be. Games between the Blaze and Panthers tend to be very open affairs, the total score in games between the two sides this season is 25-23 in Panthers favour, an average of 6.85 goals per game. Then you have to remember that these two teams really don’t like each other and once again you have the potential for fireworks. Both teams have much better offence than defence, both teams were the EIHL’s top scorers, so the key to this game will be in the netminding. Michel Robinson has been excellent in the Panthers net since arriving from his disastrous spell in Edinburgh, however his Blaze counterpart JF Perras suffers from the fact that he is not Trevor Koenig and he will feel he has something to prove. Should be a cracker!

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