Following the action packed League 1 Cup final day yesterday, in which Longford Hawks were crowned 2015/16 champions, this Sunday we see the turn of the Elite League teams. Like last week, we are going to preview the two semi-finals.
Semi Final 1 - Bangor Chiefs vs Kilkenny Storm
The Chiefs finished the regular season in 5th place just missing out on the playoffs, but they have a chance to finish their season on a high this weekend. The young Chiefs side have improved and grown throughout the season, especially on their defensive work and have vastly reduced chances against as the season progressed. Andrew Creane in the Chiefs net has been on form in recent game days giving his team every chance to pick up results. Top scorer Ross Jordan will be looking to continue his fine efforts this weekend but Chiefs have a number of attacking options with Dale Campbell combining well with Ross most of the year and Luke Campbell finishing the season particualarly strongly after picking up some great chemistry with Darren Snel. But expect any of the Chiefs squad to step-up and be the difference maker. The Chiefs are a terrific skating team and will push the Storm all the way.
Kilkenny finished the regular season very strongly jumping from 5th to 3rd on the final day. The key to Storm's success so far this season has been their well structured play coupled with hard work throughout the line up. Richie Barry has been on terrific form since day 1 this season and will look to give Storm chances of success again this weekend. Like the Chiefs, Storm too have a well spread line up and have a number of players capable of being the difference maker, with Tomas Zitnasky leading the way for the Storm this season. The speed of Harry Maharaj and experience of Paul Cummins will be every bit as vital for the Storm to have success.
The Storm have won both meetings so far this season, but both have been tight and highly exciting encounters. This game really could go either way, so expect a close game and possibly even overtime being required.
Semi Final 2 - Perkele Pelicans vs Longford Hawks
The Pelicans have so far been unbeaten this season possessing the best offensive and defensive numbers. They've been led by the high scoring Matej Radusovsky who has found the net 58 times this season, but his brother Michal is just as important to the Pelicans manning the net. There is also plenty of scoring behind Matej, through any one of the Pelicans, most notably Roman Kicincy and Vadim Alexandrovich. The Pelicans also keep it very tight in their own zone and make life difficult for any opposition.
The Hawks finished 2nd in the league this season with key player Janis Sumanis leading the way in net, and will have to be at his best if the Hawks are to have success against the Pelicans. Hawks like the other 3 teams have a number of offensive weapons with Alex Daley leading the way so far this season, but the Latvian trio of Janis Kipars, Raimonds Karpinskis and Aigars Brencis are more than capable of finding the net. Then add Fede Arroyo and Vytas Lukosevicius into the mix, this is the side the Pelicans can not take lightly and will push them all the way.
The Pelicans will be expected to take this tie following on from their 11-1 victory two weeks ago. However, the Hawks will not go down without a fight and are capable of a victory. This too has the potential of being a fast and exciting game.
Sunday 15th May
Longford Inline Rink
11:00 - SF1 - Bangor Chiefs vs Kilkenny Storm
12:00 - SF2 - Perkele Pelicans vs Longford Hawks
13:30 - 3rd Place - Loser of SF1 vs Loser of SF2
14:30 - Winner of SF1 vs Winner of SF2