Another weekend comes upon us with 2 games of some significance again. The Saturday fixture away at Basingstoke looks a crucial fixture as we aim to climb up the table from 5th to challenge for the top few places. This coupled with the return of the Leeds Chiefs makes it a weekend featuring a tough away fixture and a local derby. What more could we want?
The Leeds Chiefs are no strangers to us this season and although they prop the league table up with only 5 wins so far this season they will play a tough and physical game. They have experienced much misfortune in their debut season but have stuck together and shown they are capable of grinding out wins in the most unexpected of scenarios.
It is clear to see the Chiefs deficiencies when you look at the league table and at their roster. They have a small group of players, many with limited experience of professional hockey. This coupled with the lowest tally of goals scored in the league paints a grim picture for them. Digging deeper we see that even with experienced players in the squad such as Luke Boothroyd, Steve Buncombe and Richard Bentham they are struggling to create enough and stop enough getting through to net minder Sam Gospel. His 89.02% save percentage will be a concern to him but given the fact he has faced well over 1000 shots so far this season it appears he may have a valid reason for this.
At the other end their line is being spearheaded by young Brit Adam Barnes who currently sits with 38 points from 28 games. From what we’ve seen of him he looks a very talented player but often takes silly penalties which result in the Leeds team missing their most offensive output for 2 minutes or longer. Steven Moore who was so prolific in the NIHL for Solway looks to have found this step up a challenge and currently has just 15 points in 29 games. It is worth noting that no Leeds player other than Barnes has more than a point a game this season.
Despite what I’ve written above the Hull team know this will be no walk in the park. Local derbies are never dull and Leeds, despite what the stats may say, are a tough outfit to play. We must simply hope that our D is too strong for their offensive efforts and that what is probably the best offensive line up in the league have too much for the D of Leeds.
By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media