With the League 1 Cup finals day taking place this Sunday 8th May in Longford, we preview all the quarterfinal matchups.
QF1 - Longford Hawks vs West Coast Pirates
The Longford Hawks are fresh off an unbeaten regular season and have to be one of the favourites going in to the weekend. The Hawks will be hoping that this season top scorer, Ivars Abramovs brings his A game this weekend. They will also rely on their secondary scoring including Robert Puvak and Rolands Stavausis can produce to help get them through a difficult quarter final match up.
The Pirates also have a relatively deep lineup with Vaclac Hornak being the most dangerous over the course of the season, but Michal Holub and Ales Figura both more than capable of causing problems for the Hawks. Young Vincent Hornak in the Pirates net will have his work cut out for him, the way the Hawks have played so far this season.
Expect a really intense encounter and the side that gets their defensive work right to come out on top.
QF2 - Cork Wolfpack vs East Coast Blaze
Cork who's season has been built on defense first and having one of the lowest goals against in League 1 this season, will be looking to make life difficult for ECB. Cork also has some game changers who have come up with a number of big goals this season in Andreas Miller and young Odhran Bancroft. Cork also have solid goaltending in both David Botta and Eric Daly.
ECB are also built on strong goaltending, in the way of Cathal Mulvenna with Tony McCarley also being a strong netminder. ECB will be hoping the experience of some of their older players will get them through this tough match up and will be looking for big games from Eamonn Denny, Daniel Macklin and Jonny Spence.
This game looks like it will be a low scoring affair with both teams having some of the lowest goals against and best netminding in League 1 and the game could come down to a piece of offensive magic.
QF3 - Northern Cyclones vs Dublin Wolves
The young Cyclones team led by League 1's top scorer, David Sally and his side kick Matthew Groves will be looking for their young gun forwards to shine through once again against a more experienced Wolves side. The Cyclones also possess some solid defensive players in James Glover and Richard Gault who will be every bit as important this weekend. Cyclones too possess two solid goalies in Brian Morrow and Jake Savage, and whoever plays will have to be at the top of their game.
The Dublin Wolves possess some of the highest skilled players in League 1, and the trio of Dan Matveyeff, Ross Killen and Roman Brocko will certainly cause the Cyclones problems. The Wolves depth and defensive players complement them well and should not be overlooked by the Cyclones. Avril, in the Wolves net will have to be on form to keep the Cyclones talisman of the scoresheet.
The Wolves and Cyclones exchanged some epic battles last season in the former NIIHA Silver league and expect this Sunday's matchup to be no different. This could he a high scoring game and will most certainly be end to end.
QF4 - Clare Waves vs Waterford Vikings
The Clare Waves like the Hawks are unbeaten this season and will look to carry that momentum into this game. Leading scorer Tomas Pastorek will have to be at the top of his game to ensure the Waves progress. While their depth players including Marek Centko and Matthew Legutky will be looking to keep up with their fine work this season. Lucia in the Waves net will also be looking to keep up her fine form and which put her among the best GAA in all of League 1 this season.
The Vikings will be no push over for the Waves, and having penty of scoring depth including Stanislav Skopera, Roman Krchnak and Jiri Slavicek. They are also very defensive aware and will make it difficult for the Waves. Marek Kosar in the Vikings net is a very capable goalie, and could be the key in the vikings are to be successful.
This game looks to be a very cagey encounter, and could well go right to the wire.
All the quarterfinal matchups look to like they will be tight games which will make for a good day of hockey.
Good luck to all teams and the full day's schedule is below.
10:00 - QF1 - Longford Hawks B vs West Coast Pirates
11:00 - QF2 - Cork Wolfpack vs ECB
12:00 - QF3 - Northern Cyclones vs Dublin Wolves
13:00 - QF4 - Clare Waves vs Waterford Vikings
14:00 - SF1 - Winner of QF1 vs Winner of QF2
15:00 - SF2 - Winner of QF3 vs Winner of QF4
16:30 - Final - Winner of SF1 vs Winner of SF2