Ice Hounds Eager to Bark

RAF Bluewings Cancel on Cardiff Ice Hounds for a Second Time
The Cardiff Ice Hounds took to the ice this weekend, but not to face the RAF Bluewings as scheduled in their Southern Rec Hockey Conference fixture, but instead to face the Cardiff University Redhawks.
The Redhawks had kindly agreed to step in to play the Ice Hounds, following cancellation of the weekend’s fixture by the RAF Bluewings, citing that they could not ice a squad, due to ‘service commitments’. The news came as a bitter blow on Wednesday night to the Ice Hounds, who had already been subject of a Bluewings cancellation, when the Hounds were due to travel to Oxford, to face the RAF back on 10th April. The cancellation of the both fixtures (Oxford and Cardiff) will mean that the Ice Hounds have not played in a Southern Rec Hockey Conference match since March, when they hosted Solihull Vipers and won 10-5.
The lengthy absence of Southern Conference hockey has proved to be a challenge to both the players and coaches alike within the Ice Hounds, as they have tried to tailor training, without a recent benchmark of match performance. It is for this reason that the Hounds were grateful that the Redhawks could step in for a challenge match, with ENL Cardiff Devil, Sam Hayman icing for the university side, challenging the Hounds’ defence continually throughout the night, in the match which ended up in favour of the Ice Hounds, with a final score of 8-5.
In fact, the tenacity of the Redhawks squad served as a wakeup call for the Cardiff Ice Hounds, who are now fully aware of the work they need to do in training, if they’re to keep the pressure on close rivals, the Army Air Corps Ice Hawks and keep challenging for the Southern Rec Hockey Conference (West) title and hopefully go into the West playoffs in first place. But to gain a first place finish, the Ice Hounds are 100% dependant on heavily outscoring the opposition in their three remaining fixtures, as it’s likely that both them and the Ice Hawks will finish the group stage on equal points and therefore the two teams goal differences will be crucial.
Scoring the goals shouldn’t be a problem for the Ice Hounds, who have consistently had five or more of their players in the Top 20 Scorers for the Conference all season, including rookies Gavin Burns and Andrew Davies. But if the RAF are unable to commit to playing a rearranged fixture, to replace Saturday night’s cancelled match, the Ice Hounds have to settle for winning the game via forfeit , receiving a 5-0 score line, effectively putting pay to the Hounds chances of finishing at the top of their group.
A forfeit match will also come as a bitter pill to swallow for the Solihull Vipers. The Vipers have honoured every fixture in their inaugural season in the Southern Rec Hockey Conference, but will suffer if the forfeit score line limits the goal difference of the RAF Bluewings, giving them the edge going into the last playoff spot, over the Vipers.
The Ice Hounds now have two weeks to regain their focus and iron out any issues, before they are due to travel to Oxford, to play their away fixture against the RAF Bluewing (rescheduled from March) in a match where the Hounds will no doubt take out some of the frustrations of being cancelled twice by the Bluewings. The Ice Hounds will then return to Cardiff on the 11th June and finish their group stages matches (providing a decision has been made on the cancellation of Saturday’s match has been arrived at) in a local derby match up against the Cardiff Eagles.
Face off on the 11th June is at 7pm and entry to the match is free.
For more information on the Cardiff Ice Hounds:

Andrew Davies in action for the Cardiff Ice Hounds


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