This weekend could be crucial in the fight the Bees face in order to secure their spot in the playoffs. The TSI World Bees make the trip to the Link Centre on Saturday evening to take over the Swindon Wildcats after falling short to them in the previous weekend after a 2-0 shutout at the Slough Ice Arena, and then on Sunday evening the Bees welcome the Bristol Pitbulls to the Slough Ice Arena for the last time this season.

Swindon Wildcats 

The Swindon Wildcats currently in 3rd position within the league standings after 43 games as they have been able to secure 62 points from 30 wins, 11 loses and 2 games that have gone to overtime. The Wildcats have already secured their place in the playoffs and have 3 games in a row due to beating the Telford Tigers last Saturday and then the TSI World Bees last Sunday in Slough.

The power play that the Wildcats have put out in their 43 games completed has been 29% effective as they have successfully used 49 out of 168 man advantage chances, while their penalty kill is 78% effective as they have managed to successfully kill 126 out of the 162 they have found themselves short-handed in games. There have been 9 short-handed goals scored by Swindon this season, which have been scored by Tomasz Malaskinski, Aaron Nell, Glenn Billing, Gael Lubwele and Russell Cowley. But on the other side, there have been 7 short-handed goals scored against the Wildcats this season by teams across the league. 

There have been a total of 1,342 shots on goal against the Swindon Wildcats in the games they have completed so far and are currently facing an average of 31 shots on goal against their netminder per game. The Wildcats have been able to have 1,514 shots on goal on opposing netminders across the league and are averaging 35 shots on goal each game. Swindon have had 149 goals scored against them while also being able to score 199 goals this season.

Going into Saturday’s fixture, the Bees will need to watch out for players like Tomasz Malasinski and Chris Jones. Last weekend we saw that Tomasz Malasinski and Edgars Bebris have a great partnership and when they were on the ice together it was a dynamic that was able to create chances for the Wildcats and resulted in the first goal for Swindon. Tomasz Malasinski has been able to collect 83 points from 34 goals and 49 assists with 10 of his goals being from power play opportunities. Chris Jones is also a big contributor to the Wildcats’ success in games against the Bees like we saw last weekend, he has been able to collect 47 points from 18 goals and 29 assists.

Bristol Pitbulls 

Bristol are sat in bottom of the league standings after completing 44 games and being able to collect 22 points from winning 9 games, losing 31 games and had 4 games that went to overtime. The Pitbulls are going into this weekend on a 2 game loss streak after losing to the Leeds Knights and Peterborough Phantoms. 

Entering this weekend the Pitbulls made the announcement that Forward Brennan Feasey had made the decision to part ways with the club due to a great job opportunity in North America, but this leaves teams wondering who will take Brennan’s place? Bristol still have Kyle Pow and Max Birbraer prepared to fill in the gap that Brennan Feasey has left behind but it leaves Bristol with options as to which players occupy that role for the rest of the season. They both play very different roles within the roster as Kyle Pow is a defenceman and has done a very good job in blocking players out of games, especially against the Bees as we saw in New Years after he was constantly keeping a close eye on Dominik Gabaj. But when it comes down to points collected, Kyle Pow in his 10 games completed has not managed to pick any points up during games but has managed to collect 20 penalty minutes in his 10 games. But on the other side, Max Birbraer is a Forward and has made big impacts on plays and we have seen this from games against the Pitbulls where he has given them the extra edge offensively. So far this season, Max Birbraer has been able to collect 17 points in 20 games (double the amount of Kyle Pow) through scoring 9 goals and 8 assists, with 1 of his goals being a game winning goal for the Pitbulls and through all of this he has only picked up 10 penalty minutes in the 20 games he has iced this season. If the Pitbulls are going for a more of an offensive push in order to try to secure some more points in the last stages of the season, we can only assume that it is most likely they play will Max Birbraer to try fill the offensive gap inn the roster due to Brennan’s decision to leave, however if they want to go down a more of a defensive gameplay and want to keep shutting down key players at the front of the gameplay we can also only assume that they will most likely fill the space with Kyle Pow. 

The power play for the Pitbulls this season has been 25% effective after the have been able to successfully use 42 out of 169 man advantage chances they have had this season and defenseman Tanner Butler has been able to make the most of these opportunities after he has been able to score 6 power play goals while also picking up 12 assists on the power play and will be somebody that the Bees will need to keep close eye on during Bristol power play chances. Their penalty kill has been 71% effective as they have stopped the opposing team from taking advantage of the Pitbulls  being short-handed 143 times out of 202. Being short-handed has not stopped Bristol from scoring as they have had 5 short-handed goals that have been scored by former Pitbulls Brennan Feasey and Nic Coric as well as Adam Harding and Tanner Butler. Nonetheless there have been 8 short-handed goals scored against Pitbulls this season.

There have been 1,701 shots on goal against the netminders at Bristol this season with the netminders facing around 39 shots on goal per game whilst the Pitbulls have also managed to have 1,422 shots on goal over this season on netminders in the league and have an average on 32 shots on goal per game. There have been 138 goals scored by Bristol this season but teams across the league have been able to score against the Pitbulls 250 times. 

Going into Sunday’s fixture, the Bees will need to watch out for Bayley Harewood, who missed the previous fixture between the two sides, as well as Tanner Butler. Last time the two sides met was at Planet Ice Bristol and Bayley Harewood was unable to participate due to a suspension and was a big loss for the Pitbulls going into that game. With the departure of Brennan Feasey, that leaves Bayley Harewood as the current top point scorer at Bristol as he has collected 47 points in 40 games from 14 goals and 33 assists. This leaves a big pressure on Bayley Harewood to perform and try to fill in some of Brennan Feasey’s absence going into the final weeks of this season. Tanner Butler is a huge part of the Pitbulls’ success when they find themselves on the power play and we can see this through his stats that sit with him scoring 6 power play goals and 12 assists whilst on the power play. Keeping a close eye on him will be vital in stopping Bristol from trying to take advantage of their man advantages during the game.