After a 4 point weekend, the TSI World Bees return back to league action this weekend by taking on the Bristol Pitbulls on Saturday evening at Planet Ice Bristol and then on Sunday return to the Slough Ice Arena to take on last season league champions for their home fixture of the weekend.
Over the season the Bristol Pitbulls have had a real shift in their roster in terms of many of their stand out players deciding to make the move to another team for this season. With these players leaving they have been forced into filling in these gaps where these players filled major roles and in filling in these roles they have had the addition of ex-Bees Matt Smital, Juha Lindgren as well as Dan Bradley, who came from the Pitbulls last season. They have also had additions from Fife through Reece Cochrane, who played for the Flyers last season, and Ralfs Circenis from the Peterborough Phantoms.
Last weekend the Pitbulls faced the Leeds Knights in a double header where the Knights walked away with a 4 point weekend like the Bees. Players that the Bees will need to be aware of during their game against the Pitbulls on Saturday will be Ed Bradley, who is also an ex-Bee, and Owen Sobchak who will return back to the ice after missing the games against Leeds due to a suspension that was given for 2 games. These 2 players will play a vital role in the Pitbulls lineup on Saturday in their different areas on the ice with Ed Bradley pushing able to shut down chances from the opposing team very simply but Owen Sobchak will keep pushing the Bristol Pitbulls into the Bees defensive zone and through the ice pad to keep trying to create chances for the Pitbulls to come out of the game with 2 points to get them off the zero point mark within the league. The Bristol Pitbulls currently find themselves going into their fixtures this weekend 11th in the league. The Pitbulls provide a stream for this game if you cannot make it.
Last season the Knights were without a doubt the team to beat and many teams found themselves unable to secure 2 points in games against Leeds but like the Bees were able to put up a good fight in their games against the Knights. The Knights managed to win the league last season and only lost a total 10 games out of 56 games in the season, and 5 of those were overtime losses.
Over the Summer, Leeds have seen the departure of some of their important players from their 2022/23 season lineup like Cole Shudra, who was originally signed with the Knights but got the call up from Sheffield Steelers to play full time. On the other side, other players have chosen to make the move to other teams like Carter Hamil who made the move to the Milton Keynes Lightning where he will play alongside his brother Cameron Hamil.
Even though the Knights have seen a lot of departures over the Summer, it has given them the chance to build a young core to their team and bring in a new calibre of players into their roster for this season to develop the future of the team in Leeds. We can see this through the additions of Finley Bradon and Gregor Mills. Louis Colvin in defence for Leeds will be someone to keep an eye on throughout this season as it will be interesting to watch his development within the league. As last season he iced for the Invicta Dynamos and now having to jump into the National league, like Finley Bradon and Gregor Mills, it will be worth keeping an eye out to see how he finds his way into the Knights lineup.
Ones to watch in the Bees game against the Leeds Knights will be of course Kieran Brown and Mac Howlett. Both of these players last season made a big impact within the team last season. Kieran Brown last season alone managed a total of 121 points over the course of 56 games and scored a total of 57 goals for the Knights. However, Mac Howlett will be a massive part of creating opportunities for the Knights as well over the weekend and will be a key player that the Bees defence will need to shut down in order to minimise the Knights’ scoring chances. Defensively, Noah McMullin may have a new influence on the Knights’ defence that we have not seen them like before, that could give them the extra boost in their game with the Bees this weekend.
Tickets are available on the Bees website for Sunday’s game, we look forward to seeing you all down Slough Ice Arena loud and proud!