PREVIEW: Wildcats vs Wightlink Raiders

Another chance for young Brits to shine

Having traded places with the Telford Tigers midweek following an impressive 4-0 road trip victory, the Wildcats get a night off from English Premier Ice Hockey League this Saturday evening, as the Wightlink Raiders make the trip to Wiltshire for an English Challenge Cup game, face off 6pm. 


The Wildcats will enter the tie in fifth place in the cup table knowing that victory will draw them level on points with the second placed Guildford Flames and provide another moral boost ahead of Sunday evenings tough league encounter against the Peterborough Phantoms.


The Raiders for their part have played six games so far this season and having won two of their opening three league fixtures, are sitting fifth in the NIHL South Division 1 with victories over MK Thunder [3-2] and Invicta Dynamos [8-7] but straight defeats against EPIHL opposition in the British Challenge Cup [7-1 vs MK Lightning and 7-0 vs Guildford Flames] have given player-coach Jeremy Cornish, plenty to think about ahead of the weekend in terms of balancing tactics against the need to give his players exposure against opposition from a higher league and the experience that can bring.


Victory against the Solent Devils in the NIHL Cup [8-4] has also been recorded so English Challenge Cup results aside, Cornish will be more than happy with the way his side are progressing this season and while he is enjoying the competition against EPIHL sides, his main target remains on aiming for honours in the NIHL.


“This weekend we have two difficult games,” he told his clubs official website this week.


“We are away to Swindon on Saturday and Sunday we visit the Hornets in Bracknell.


“Our focus is on the league, so Sunday is what we are working towards this weekend.  These EPIHL games have given our guys some valuable experience against some very good opposition and I like that fact that it shows our younger players what it take to play at that level.


This week in training will be the same as the last couple, we will continue to develop our skills and also work on our team play.  If we want to challenge for league honours, we need to make sure we don’t let the opposition get in the way. This has been an exciting start to the season and I think that will continue.”

Despite their overall goal being league success, Raiders forward Ryan Webb was quick to point out that the games against the EPHIL sides is something the players very much look forwards to.


“I'm really disappointed I won't be icing this weekend due to an injury,” he told ahead of the clash.


“This type of challenge is what hockey is all about.


“We have a very strong team this year and we hope to put in a good performance against a very talented strengthened Swindon team. 


“This game is a great chance for our players to prove their ability and gives us a chance to compete with our higher league opponents. 


“I'm sure it will be a great game to watch although I will find it hard watching rather than playing!”


Concluding, visitors forward Stevie Balmer echoed his team-mates comments adding;  "I'm looking forwards to playing against Swindon as they are another top class team for us to play against.


"It's a good opportunity for us to play fast and smarter hockey and for our young guys to see what it takes to play at the next level."



WILDCATS FROM:  Netminders -  Michael CRISP and Stevie LYLE.  Defence -  Alex SYMONDS, Callum BUGLASS, Ben NETHERSELL, Oliver STONE, Kyle SMITH, Kenton SMITH, Shane MOORE and Steve WHITFIELD.  Forwards -  Aaron NELL, Floyd TAYLOR, Toms RUTKIS, Luc JOHNSON, Adam FINLINSON, Michael STRATFORD, Glenn BILLING [pictured], Henri SANDVIK, Jan KOSTAL ©, Lee RICHARDSON, Ollie BETTERIDGE, Tomasz MALASINSKI and Adam HARDING.


RAIDERS FROM:  Netminders – Christian COLE and Shannon LONG.  Defenders - Niall BOUND, Carl GRAHAM, Simon HOBBIS, Damon LARTER ©and Bobby STREETLY.  Forwards – Stephen BALMER, Alex BARKER, Jaroslav CESKY, Jeremy CORNISH, Aaron EDWARDS, Richard FACEY, Owen GRIFFITHS, Richard NEMBHARD, Craig TRIBE, Corey WATKINS and Ryan WEBB.



Tickets are available at the door on the night by visiting the Link Centre Box Office and are priced as follows:



Adult - £12.50 or £13 on game day.  Concession - £9.50 or £10 on game day.  Child - £FREE.



Adult - £12 or £12.50 on game day.  Concession - £9 or £9.50 on game day.  Child - £FREE.


Various Family Tickets are also available, please click here for full details.


Concessions apply to OAP’s and Students.  ID required upon entry.


Every transaction has a 75p booking fee for payments online, on the phone or in person at the Wildcats & Link Centre Box office. The transaction fee applies to all forms of payment.


The Wildcats Box Office is open Monday to Friday between 9am & 5pm, Saturday between 10am & 3pm.  Call 01793 886 857.


Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Link Centre from 1pm on Friday on 01793 445 566.



Don’t forget that you can get involved during the pre-game build up and during the intervals by Tweeting your comments and shout-outs to either #bleedred or @WildChats and we’ll post the best ones on the big screen for all to see!


We’ll also have issue 4 of The Lair, our official Game Day magazine on sale for just £2 per copy as well as tickets for our fabulous 50/50 draw, Chuck-A-Puck and the chance to win the Shirt Off The Players Back so remember to pick up a ticket and YOU could go home as one of our winners!



Sunday evening will see the Wildcats make the journey to Cambridgeshire with the third placed Peterborough Phantoms providing the opposition.


Face off at Planet Ice Peterborough is at 5:30pm and if you can’t join the team then don’t forget that you log on to get minute by minute text update via Link Sports WILDCATS LIVE or the Advertisers ICE HOCKEY LIVE. 


PHANTOMS FROM:  Netminders – AUZINS, Samuel JAMES and Daniel LANE.  Defenders - Edgars APELIS, James HUTCHINSON, Cameron McGIFFIN, Thomas NORTON, Gregory PICK, Nathan POLLARD and Scott ROBSON.  Forwards - Milan BARANYK, Edgars BEBRIS, Jason BUCKMAN, James FERRARA, Luke FERRARA, Slava KOULIKOV, Alan LACK, Marc LEVERS, Darius PLISKAUSKAS, Conor POLLARD and William WELDON.



The NIHL Wildcats are in action on Sunday [October 5th] here at the Swindon Ice Arena when the Bristol Pitbulls are our visitors. 


Face off is at 7:30pm and if you can’t make the trip to watch the Wildcats game at Peterborough, we would very much like to see you at the game!


Supporters who present their tickets from Saturday’s game against the Wightlink Raiders will get 50% off the price of entry to the game, see our game preview online tomorrow [Saturday] for full details.



We’re seeking an official Game Day sponsor for our next home fixture against the Peterborough Phantoms [on Saturday, October 11th] and would welcome the opportunity to help promote your company or organisation at the game.


To find out more, please contact Wildcats Marketing Manager Sally Price on 01793 886 857.