Having plundered the expected maximum points haul against basement team Cardiff Fire, the NIHL South title run-in starts now. Coach Koulikov’s standard “way too early yet” mantra must now be confined to the bottom draw with the focus shifting to what are nine huge “Cup Finals” that will deliver the title if we win all nine !
The home fixtures are Bracknell Bees, MK Thunder, London Raiders, Basingstoke Bison and Streatham. The road games are at Basingstoke, Streatham, Bracknell and London.
Some fans are already billing next weekend’s game at Basingstoke as a “title decider” but is it really ? One thing for sure is that it is an absolute must win game for the Bison but a share of the points over the two fixtures with Bison will still leave Phantoms in pole position with the easier run-in.
Bison still have two fixtures to play against form team Swindon Wildcats knowing that in the four match ups so far season, they have failed to beat them in regulation time in every game so those games are going to be hugely significant in deciding the title winners.
When Phantoms 2008/2009 Treble winning coach Colin Patterson was asked how his team had won the league when favourites and main title rivals Guildford Flames had beaten them in five out of the six league fixtures, he just smiled and replied “because we won the games we were supposed to win” and he was right. While Guildford repeatedly switched off and dropped points against lesser teams, Phantoms did not and they made up for the head-to-head deficit by not slipping up in games where they started favourites in.
It is crucial, therefore, that whatever happens on Saturday, Phantoms treat every one of their remaining fixtures as the most important games of the season and, as fans, we need to do likewise.
Nobody wants to be in this league and, at times, it has been painful to watch but winning the league title would not only go some way towards rescuing this season but it would be a genuine achievement and one to be proud of.
The turnout for the recent Autumn Cup semi-final was awful and very sad to see. Yes the finger of blame can be pointed in all directions BUT at the end of the day this is OUR team and now has to be the time to put all issues aside, get behind the boys and make a real difference in what should be a nerve-wracking but exciting run-in.
Nine cup finals, five in Bretton ….. let’s do it !
#believe #team #ninecupfinals #bethere