Preview | Northern/Southern play-off finals

It’s the final week of the season in the NIHL North and South divisions as the play-offs reach their climax, ahead of what promises to be an action-packed 48 hours.

With the Northern finals taking place at iceSheffield and the Southern finals being hosted at Alexandra Palace, the final four in each division are gearing up to try and end the weekend, and the season, with some silverware.

NIHL North 1 (Moralee)

There were no real shocks in the two-legged quarter-finals last weekend, with the top four seeds in three of the four divisions progressing – Whitely Warriors being the anomaly in the NIHL North 1 (Moralee) and the fifth seed successfully overcame fourth-seeded Deeside Dragons 13-9 across both games.

Whitley’s progression into the semi-finals creates a match-up from the same round last season against the Billingham Stars. Last season, the Warriors defeated Billingham 5-3 before being downed in the final by Solway Sharks in a tight 2-0 loss.

With Solway making the jump to the Planet Ice NIHL National Division this season, Billingham have taken their place at the top of North 1 and easily dispatched the Nottingham Lions 10-1 on aggregate in their quarter-final outing. They have the advantage over their opponents in the semi-finals this season too, defeating them three times in their four regular season games.

On the opposite side of the bracket in the NIHL North 1, Solihull Barons take on Blackburn Hawks.

Both sides have enjoyed successful seasons; the Hawks especially, who won 10 more games and finished four seeds higher in the regular season compared to last year.

However, Blackburn were only victorious 8-4 over two legs against sixth-seeded Hull Jets and drew the first leg 3-3, unlike Solihull who seemingly had no trouble knocking Widnes Wild out for the second season in a row in the quarter-finals.

With each team taking two wins from one other this season, this second semi-final is up in the air.

Fixtures – 

Sat 6th Apr 1:00pm Billingham Stars vs Whitley Warriors PO SF
Sat 6th Apr 8:00pm Solihull Barons vs Blackburn Hawks PO SF

NIHL North 2 (Laidler)

The NIHL North 2 (Laidler) play-offs expanded to eight teams this season, meaning more sides were given a chance come the post-season, however, none of the sides placed 5-8 progressed.

Last season’s play-off winners Telford Tigers NIHL 2 take on newcomers Billingham Buccaneers in the first semi-final.

The Tigers have lost just once all season but have had to work for their victories over the Buccaneers this season, winning 5-1 twice, 4-2 and 2-1.

The only side to inflict defeat on the Tigers this campaign, Coventry NIHL Blaze, take on Sutton Sting.

Finishing fifth last season, Blaze missed out on the play-offs, whereas the Sting will be looking to go one further than last year, when they narrowly missed out on the finals after a 4-3 defeat to Telford.

Sutton will head into the game as the favourites, defeating Coventry three times across the regular season, with the Blaze’s only win coming via a shoot-out in January.

Fixtures – 

Sat 6th Apr 10:00am Telford Tigers NIHL 2 vs Billingham Buccaneers PO SF
Sat 6th Apr 5:00pm Sutton Sting vs Coventry NIHL Blaze PO SF

NIHL South 1 (Britton)

Over at Alexandra Palace, the NIHL South 1 (Britton) semis will see the top-seeded Streatham Redhawks aim to retain their title in a rematch of last year’s final against Solent Devils.

Despite the Devils finishing lower than they did in the regular season compared to last year, they were still the favoured seed against Invicta Dynamos. However, this semi-final will be tough.

The Redhawks defeated MK Thunder 14-0 in a one-legged quarter-final and defeated the Devils four times across the regular season.

Also in the NIHL South 1, two sides that were knocked out in the first round last season meet in the semis, as Slough Jets face off against Chelmsford Chieftains.

Slough avoided a second successive play-off upset as the third seed, coming from behind in the first leg to knock out Romford Buccaneers, whilst the Chieftains dispatched Oxford City Stars 18-3 on aggregate.

Nothing separated either side in the regular season, with both teams finishing with a 20-8-0 record, and the Chieftains taking the head-to-head on goal difference with both sides winning two apiece.

Fixtures – 

Sat 6th Apr 1:30pm Streatham Redhawks vs Solent Devils PO SF
Sat 6th Apr 7:30pm Chelmsford Chieftains vs Slough Jets PO SF

NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson)

In the NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) quarter-finals, we saw a rematch from last year’s final, with Haringey Huskies knocking out last season’s champions, Invicta Mustangs, in a nail-biting shoot-out.

Haringey will take on Peterborough Phantoms NIHL 2 after they were involved in an equally tight 5-4 one-legged quarter-final win against Cardiff Fire.

The Huskies finished only two points ahead of Peterborough during the regular season, although the Phantoms were victorious in both games against their semi-final opponents.

Guildford Phoenix are looking to win the treble this season. With the regular season title and Wilkinson Cup in the trophy cabinet already, they take on Basingstoke Buffalo in the other semi-final.

Basingstoke have improved heavily from last season, winning 10 more games on their way to a play-off berth, but Phoenix have looked unstoppable this season, losing twice all season in league and cup, defeating Basingstoke four times along the way.

It’s sure to be an entertaining final weekend, with four champions waiting to be crowned.

Fixtures – 

Sat 6th Apr 10:30am Guildford Phoenix vs Basingstoke Buffalo PO SF
Sat 6th Apr 4:30pm Haringey Huskies vs Peterborough Phantoms NIHL 2 PO SF

Buy your streaming pass

The England Ice Hockey events team are pleased to confirm that live streaming passes for every fixture from both events are now available to purchase.

Each individual stream costs £12.50 each but the option to purchase our ‘Live Stream League’ package is also available for £30, saving you £7.50 and offering the chance to watch all three fixtures from your chosen league.

For all individual streams, passes are available by visiting

PLEASE NOTE: Purchased streaming passes provide access to a live stream of the game and will not allow you admission into the rink. The code which you will receive is for a single device only. Any attempt to share the code will result in any previously logged in devices being logged out of the stream.

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