• BUIHA Problems - The mid season report

    Posted on Wed 31st December, 2014

    Well its the 31st of December 2014 and as a new year draws near lets have a look at each of the BUIHA's divisions.  There is still a lot of hockey to be played, but I think we are starting to see who will be there or thereabouts come the end of the 2014-15 season.


    In the North the Mavericks have built themselves a comfortable 5 point cushion (subject to the Manchester v Sheffield result being added).  The Mavericks have a healthy goal difference and as was the case last year look extremely strong the back end, having condeded only 8 goals in five matches.  Behind them are Sheffield and Edinburgh with five points each.  Arguably Sheffield have had the easier ride thus far having played the last placed Ice Hogs twice, but Edinburgh are seemingly not as ruthless as they were last year only managing a narrow defeat of Hull at home.  The key weekend could be the Super Bowl weekend as Edinburgh and Sheffield face each other in a home and home.  If one team can take 4 points in that weekend then they put themselves in with a good chance of catching the Mavericks with a split of the points then it is going to be a mountain to climb especially as the Mavericks own a victory over each team.  I cannot look past the Mavericks this season and I think we see them in the playoffs come April time.   I think Sheffield may have the beating of Edinburgh for second spot.  Manchester and Northumbria will be fourth and fifth of that I have no doubt, but the match left between them could be the key to their positions.  Both have shown they can pick up points elsewhere, but I give Manchester the edge given they picked up a point in Whitley when the teams met for the first time this season.  Hull may finally be granted their wish of entering Division 2 Checking (please for the love of god nobody drop out), but they are showing some toughness and putting up tough challenges in a lot of games and in particular at home.  


    In the South division, which is now 50% Blue the picture is much less clear.  The Dragons are undefeated and look set to mount an assault on the conference title and they have even knocked off arguably their closest rivals the Oxford Blues.  Cambridge are currently in second, but that won't hold, as they Oxford Blues look likely to knock them off that spot with their game in hand.  The key match up in the South will be between the Oxford Blues and Dragons on 21st February 2015.  I do not see either team being defeated before then and if London take as much as a point in that match I think they will sew up the conference.  I am getting quite excited with the prospects of a vicious London v Nottingham final already (don't let me down Kalle and co).  I think Cambridge will be secure in third spot, but there will be a real battle to stay up below (if Southampton get involved that is).  The Oxford University Blues (formerly Vikings) look to be holding their own and having knocked off the Panthers I think they will be mid table boys, which is not bad for their first season.  The battle to avoid the sixth spot will feature Southampton and the Panthers and a lot will depend on the Spitfires getting out there and battling.  They have three defeats this season and two of them were due to not being able to field a team.  Southampton need to get sorted pre April, which in past seasons has seemed beyond them.  I think we will see the Spitfires crash land this season.  



    Erm, well it appears that in the North that we have an obvious favourite in the St. Andrews Typhoons.  They have played four games and only allowed the Newcastle Wildcats the honour of scoring on them.  They will undoubtedbly win the North this season and go on to Division 1, though it is likely they will be like Edinburgh and not have a complete season in particular the Wednesday slot they have in Dundee.  The Bears B team are currently level on points with the Typhoons, but that will not last.  The Bears B will be unlikey to hold on to the number two spot this season and only seem to be there due to some lucky scheduling.  I would anticipate that the Birmingham Lions will occupy that spot when all is said and done who look strong despite a drubbing from the Typhoons at home.  I think there will be a real battle between the Bears B and the Wildcats for third and fourth.  Ultimately the Wildcats will need to reverse they 6-1 loss they suffered at the Bears B's hands when they played them in Ice Sheffield.  I think Wildcats have what it takes to do it and will finish a respectable third place.  Bears B will be fourth, which leaves the last two spots to look at and oh how the mighty have fallen.  Bradford Sabres seem to have been the unluckiest team ever in recent years always being pipped to the Division 2 playoff by a couple of points, but this season they have been getting their butts whipped comprehensively on a fairly consistent basis.  The only team saving the Sabres from them basement is the Mavericks B and it looks like the Mavericks teams will book end the North checking division, as their B team look like they will not rally out of the hole they are in.  

    The south division is the hottest division in hockey right now.  You just can't predict how it will go.  At the start of the year you'd have favoured either the Redhawks or the cocky Yetis (you have to be cocky to let a player wear 99).  However, even with the Redhawks in pole position there is no clear cut favourite moving forward.  The Cardiff boys remain favourites with 5 points out of a possible 8 thus far, but they are only 3 points above the bottom dwelling Yetis.  Kent are in the number 2 spot and tied with Cardiff on points, but they have played an extra game and have three draws.  Imperial have four points in four games and with Cardiff are one of two teams with more than one victory in the division.  The key match to me will be Imperial v Cardiff on the 1st of February.  If Imperial can take the points we could see them limp into the playoff finals this year.  The run in this conference will be fascinating.  Hang on to your hats folks.  I am going to favour Imperial for the victory in the division with Cardiff in the number two spot followed by Kent, Southampton and UCL, but that is all guess work. 


    There has been a lot of action in the North.  The Kings B look likely to romp it again.  They have played 3 games and have 6 points and a plus 48 goal difference.  Basically this division looks set to be the battle for the number two spot, though stranger things have happened.  Sheffield Bears C and Manchester Metro B look set to wrestle over the number two spot with the Birmingham Lions nipping at their heels.  Hull appear to be propping up this Division with the Wildcats B finishing in the third spot.  There hasn't really been an even spread of action thus far, so we will see how it goes.  The first BUIHA action 2015 will kick off with Newcastle B v Northumbria B and unless the new year brings a tremendous change of form I predict a rather one sided affair in the Kings B favour.  

    In the South the Oxford Womens are looking good with 3 wins in 3 lead by their scoring machine Jennifer Lawrence (I have already all the puns I have on this).  If the Oxford Womens team can keep up the pace they will have a shot at the playoff final.  They have notched up wins with the teams sitting in the two and three spots in the standings below them (Panthers C and Spitfires C respectively).  Incidently it looks like fourth placed Imperial Devils B have the best shot at catching the Oxford team with a game in hand, however they will have to beat the Oxford girls when they meet them on 31st January 2015.  If Oxford can with there next two matches it's unlikely they'll be caught.  


    Another non-checking division and, shock horror, another Northumbria team dominating the North.  They are top of the conference with 3 wins out of 3 and a massive goal difference.  Also undefeated in the conference are the Bradford Sabres with 2 wins in 2 and early form suggests that these two will be battling for the playoff spot and that makes for a huge home and home between the two on Valentine's weekend - I don't think any love notes will be exchanged between these two teams.  Below the two power houses are Sheffield D, Newcastle Womens and Birmingham C who are each winless according to the standings based on the updates there today.  It's two hard to predict the outcome in this division, but I do anticipate the latter three teams being stuck in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.  

    In the South the Kents Knights B hold top spot with 4 points out of 4 games, however also on 4 points are the Panthers C.  The diffence is that Panthers C are 2 in 2 and look favourites at this early stage to take the conference.  Non-checking new boys the London Dragons B have 2 points out of three games in third spot and Cambridge Womens are down in the bottom, but have only played one match.  There is not a lot to add to commentary on this division other than to say that there is a  fair amount of hockey to be played to see who the winner is.  


    That concludes the mid season report.  Enjoy the rest of your season folks.