This weekend in Dundalk is all about Ice Hockey and there will be some nice treats on offer. Saturday evening, the Belfast Giants take Weekend Roundupon the Newcastle Vipers in the Elite League Playoffs. Following that, the IIHL Development Division takes centre stage. The Latvian Hawks ‘B’ take on the Kilkenny City Storm in what should be a thrilling encounter. Sunday afternoon, everyone gets to see Team Ireland ready for their much anticipated trip to Romania. They face an IIHL Select team in a warm-up game. Later that night, it’s back to the IIHL Development Division with a double header. First up, the Whalers will face the Latvian Hawks ‘B’. Immediately following that, the Dublin Wolves will play the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’.
The Belfast Giants finished 4th in the Elite League this season in what was a mixed season for the team. They opened their season with 2 warm-up games against Huddinge Hockey of Sweden. They lost the first game and then tied them in the second. They then opened their league campaign with a 2-1 victory over the Edinburgh Capitals. However, they then went on to lose 6 straight and win only 7 in their first 21 games. They were adrift at the bottom of the league and all hopes of winning the league were abandoned. They then went on a rampage as they won a record setting 16 straight games and started rocketing up the standings. They were challenging for the title again, however, they ran out of games and time and had to settle for 4th place. They now face the Newcastle Vipers on Saturday evening in the playoffs at the Dundalk Ice Dome. The place will be packed to the rafters and the Dome will be rocking. Face-off is at 7:30 p.m.
Weekend Roundup Following that game with a scheduled face-off for 10:30 p.m. is the IIHL Development Division. The Latvian Hawks ‘B’ take on the Kilkenny City Storm in what is a huge game for both teams. The Hawks ‘B’ are looking to move into a playoff position as a win would bring them in 3rd place ahead of both the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’ and Whalers who both play on Sunday. They played an excellent game last week against the Dublin Rams ‘B’ and walked away 5-3 winners. The Storm on the other hand, are looking to consolidate their playoff position with their 8th win of the season. They will also move into 1st place ahead of the Dublin Wolves with a win. This will be an excellent game and definitely worth sticking around for if in attendance for the Giants’ game.
Sunday afternoon will see Team Ireland in action for the first time this year as they play an IIHL Select team at 4:30 p.m. Team Ireland travel to Romania early in April for the 2008 IIHF Division II World Championship and in order to prepare themselves for this they will play against an IIHL Select team on Sunday and next Thursday, they will play a Latvian Hawks Select team. The team which was recently released on www.iiha.org contains some of the old guard and some new names. All of whom will certainly be looking to impress the coaching staff and make a name for themselves this coming Sunday. Expect a thrilling contest and a great atmosphere in Dundalk.
Later that evening, there will be a double header for the IIHL Development Division with 2 games that can greatly affect the standings. At 9:30 p.m. the Whalers will play host to the Latvian Hawks ‘B’, who are playing their 2nd gameWeekend Roundup in as many days. Currently these 2 teams are 4th and 5th respectively and the result will affect the standings one way or another. The Whalers are coming off a 5-1 win against the Dublin Rams ‘B’ and a 5-3 win against the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’ and are looking in great shape right now. They also sit in a great position in 4th as they have a few games in hand on their rivals. A win would take them into 3rd ahead of the Bulls ‘B’ who play straight after them. For the Hawks ‘B’, a win would bring them level on points with the Bulls ‘B’ and Whalers. So this is an important game for everyone, including the teams playing after them.
Immediately following that game, the Dublin Wolves face the Dundalk Bulls ‘B’. Face-off is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. but will depend on the game beforehand. The last time these 2 games played each other, the result was 7-6 to the Wolves. That was a fantastic game also as the action was end to end and close right to the final buzzer. Expect the same this time around. Despite recently losing to the Whalers, the Bulls ‘B’ are some what rejuvenated from their early season woes and will look to topple the league leaders. The Wolves are moving along nicely and are the only team not to be defeated in regulation. They will either be looking to regain top spot or improve on their position depending on how things go on Saturday night. Weekend Roundup
An absolutely action packed weekend and you can’t help but be spoiled for choice this weekend at the Dundalk Ice Dome. All of Ireland’s best players are in action. Obviously, Team Ireland is playing Sunday in a game that features the players that will represent their country in Romania as well as the best players in the IIHL. Then there’s the only professional team in Ireland, the Belfast Giants, in action on Saturday night. As well as that, on both nights the future stars of Irish Ice Hockey play as the top 5 teams in the IIHL Development Division all compete this weekend. A fantastic weekend of hockey awaits everyone.
Saturday @ 7:30 p.m. Belfast Giants v Newcastle Vipers
Saturday @ 10:30 p.m. Latvian Hawks ‘B’ v Kilkenny City Storm
Sunday @ 4:30 p.m. Team Ireland v IIHL Select
Sunday @ 9:30 p.m. Whalers v Latvian Hawks ‘B’
Sunday @ 10:30 p.m. Dublin Wolves v Dundalk Bulls ‘B’