As it stands, the Dublin Wolves sit in 2nd place. They are 1 point behind the Kilkenny City Storm with a game in hand. Tomorrow night they take on the DkIT Ravens and if they were to win, they would go 2 points clear of the Storm. They would be on the right path to laying claim to the IIHL Development Division title. They are expected to run away with it. However, they have to overcome the DkIT Ravens first. The Ravens currently sit in 5th place. The Ravens are part of a group of 5 teams that currently have 9 points and are chasing a playoff spot. That group becomes 6 if you include the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’ who have 6 points and who are still part of that pack that can win a playoff place. The only thing separating this group is goal difference which makes it all the more interesting.
So basically, the Ravens need the win much more than the Wolves do. They need the points much more than the Wolves do in order to heap loads of pressure on their rivals. A win would launch them into 3rd place, 3 points ahead of everyone else in that pack. After tomorrow, they will have played 9 games, half of their season and more than anyone else in the league. This means that 3 points would be even more important as they will need to be in a good position as everyone else starts catching up in games played. Now let’s be honest, if you’ve seen the Dublin Wolves play this season, you will know that they are good. They are very good.
Some of their current players could definitely play in the IIHL and reports are flying around that they are building their club up for next season. Apparently, they intend on entering a team into both the IIHL and the IIHL Development Division. This means they are good, not only that, they play as a team and they dominate other teams. They receive solid goaltending equally from both Damian Keenan and William Arsenault. In front of them, their defence keep the shots at a minimum. Captain David Clark and Beni McAllister are the 1st line defence and they control the play and set their forwards up very nicely with some nice passing. After that, Sean Magill is often accompanied with either Robert Byrne or Chris Darragh, and occasionally Dr. Peter Ting, and they’re all solid defensemen. However, it’s in attack where they excel. They barrage their opponents’ goaltenders with constant shots. They also get a lot of breakaways as a result of having players who have tremendous speed. Their 1st line of Tyler May, Ian MacNevin and Andrew Roman absolutely dominate other teams and score the majority of the team’s goals. After this, Roman Brocko and Aly-Khan Lalani give the team depth and chip in with just as much scoring for the team. They are good!
That doesn’t exactly make good reading for the Ravens. The Ravens are the underdogs going into this. There probably aren’t too many people who expect the Ravens to get a result out of this game but Wednesday night in the Dundalk Ice Dome is student night. It belongs to the college, they bring their fans and they always have a good time. Most importantly, they give their team a lift and they encourage them even when they’re down. They may have suffered a couple of disappointing results over the last few weeks. That 1-0 loss to the Belfast Eagles was definitely a hard one to swallow for the team. They were in that game right to the death and probably even outplayed the Eagles for most of it. However, they couldn’t finish any of their scoring opportunities. Last week against the Whalers, they lost 4-0. The Whalers are a good team and in my opinion the dark horses of the league. They work hard and have out worked most teams in the league. They did the same against the Ravens. That was probably an even harder one to swallow as the Whalers are big rivals.
They may have suffered these results but does anyone remember the game against the Dublin Rams ‘B’? The Ravens were huge underdogs going into that one too. However, they played as a team that evening, worked really hard and they got their reward. They came back from being 2-0 down to win 4-2. Expect the Ravens to fight tomorrow night. Fingers will be crossed that Miceal O’Neill will be okay to play after suffering a head and neck injury last week. They have a fairly solid defence led my coach Paddy Jarratt along with Mark McDonnell, Robert Flanagan and Jason Monahan. They’re solid, clear the zone and are complimented by Niall Kerley and John Carney. Offensively, they are led by Michael Rogan and Stephen Hayes. However, when they play like a team, there are no individuals. Other players step up to the plate such as Chynna Pope, Aidan Morris, Andrew Guest, Captain Stephen Boylan as well as countless others. This will be the key to their success, if they play like a team; they have every chance of surprising everyone.
DkIT Ravens v Dublin Wolves takes place this Wednesday 20th February 2008. Face-off is at 8:30 p.m. The game takes place at the Dundalk Ice Dome and entry is free so come along and enjoy what should be a fantastic game in the IIHL Development Division.