Tonight's game will take place in the Main Arena which does not happen too often, But as there is another ice activity scheduled in the Olympic Rink it is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of this rare occasion.
The Widnes Wild pay their second visit to the National Ice Centre tonight in what will prove to be a big pointer to how the season will pan out for one of the pre-season favourites for promotion.
As it stands honours between the two teams are almost even with the Lions gaining a 2-4 away victory and the Wild returning the favour with a 1-4 victory at the Lions Den.
The Wild have in their player coach Scott McKenzie a real match winner as he has proved time and again with his prolific goal scoring and is supported by a team of real grafters and goal scorers who will battle for every point available. In Greg Ruxton the Wild have a very consistent back stopper who has also played a major part in their success to date. It would be true to say that the Wild’s main stumbling block has been their inability to turn over Deeside Dragons and this has put the Flintshire team with a number of points in the clear of all major opposition, including the Wild.
Widnes have only lost three games to date and need to keep obtaining positive results every time they hit the ice to stay in touch with the leading pack and particularly with the Dragons.
With two games in hand and with only being two points adrift of the second placed Lions this game is a vital step for both teams, but particularly for Widnes as they seek the chance of achieving their goal of at least a second place play off spot in their race for promotion.
The Lions will enter the second half of the season quietly satisfied with their performances to date but seeking to establish a place in the top four to achieve the end of season play offs. For the Nottingham team this has been, once again, a season of transition, as it will always be when development is the major goal and the root of their very existence. The Nottingham system is well established and continues to be a launching pad for those players who might move on to further their hockey skills at English Premier League or even at Elite League level. The Nottingham Lions also provides a stable environment for those players who may further their careers outside of ice hockey but still have that thirst and hunger to play competitive hockey for years to come. It is those players, that decide to stay, that prove vitally important for future player development and provide the real backbone of the Nottingham Lions team, and the support required by the young players of the future.
A good example of player development was set by the Lions in giving Samantha Bolwell a full 60 minutes in goal at Hull and she provided a very creditable performance in her first full game. The game was tied with a 4-4 scoreline.. I feel sure there is much more to come from her and other young members of the Lions over the remaining season and for the seasons to come.
With there being no Panthers game tonight why not get along and support the Nottingham Lions v Widnes Wild. You will be most welcome. Face Off 7.30pm.