Unbeaten city side set for National League title

The Islanders in action.

The Islanders in action.

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A Peterborough ice hockey team can capture title glory this Saturday.

Islanders will expect to wrap up the National Ice Hockey League South Division Two (East) crown when they entertain Lee Valley Lions at Planet Ice (5pm).

Stevie Johnson’s side have won all 14 previous games and could seal the title with five matches to spare.

“The boys have done superbly this season,” said Johnson. “We’ve been runners-up in the league the last two years and managed to kick on this season.

“All the boys pay to play so they’ve earned their success. Ice-hire and travelling expenses all come out of their own pockets, so there is a huge amount of dedication involved.

“Hopefully we can keep the winning run going and get the title sewn up on Saturday – and it would be great to see a good crowd in the building with Phantoms being away.

“We’ve got six games to go, but we want to finish the job as soon as possible. Put it this way, if we don’t win the league from this position, I’ll be looking for another job!”

Islanders could complete an honours treble as they are through to the finals of the cup after winning their group, and have also qualified for the play-offs. They will face opposition from the West section in both of those competitions.

It looks like being a successful end to an era with Islanders having a change of identity following the current season.

They will take on the Phantoms name going forward as part of owners Dave and Jo Lane’s plans to bring all of Peterborough hockey under one banner.

n Phantoms supremo Dave Lane has backed the major changes planned for the second tier of the sport.

Lane attended a meeting of existing club owners last weekend at which a series of new rulings were set.

Seven of the nine remaining EPL teams have committed to competing next season in a division which will be re-titled as the Premier Ice Hockey League – the other two clubs, Milton Keynes and Guildford, both intend to climb into the Elite League.

There will be an immediate drop in imports from five to three and, from the 2019/20 season, only British-trained netminders will be permitted.

Lane, who owns Phantoms along with wife, Jo, said: “It was pleasing to see a group of owners aligned in their thinking and for the ethos of our league going forward.

“The changes will offer excellent opportunites for British players to grow and for clubs to create sustainable infrastructures, which is the most important thing in stability for the sport at this level.

“The quality of the league has grown in recent years and we see no reason why this won’t continue.

“Our club is well placed – with its structure and excellent development paths - to continue to be strongly competitive in the coming years.”

It is hoped the league will also expand in numbers with other clubs joining the seven who have already vowed to compete.