Varsity Ice Hockey always has an extra bit of spice to it. Not only is it the most popular event for the fans, but during the regular season the two sets of players play alongside each other for the Nottingham Mavericks.
It has been a tough season for the Mavericks so far. While their home form has been excellent, winning all their games, they haven’t been nearly as good on their travels. Centre Luke Watson, who will be representing UoN, told us “we would’ve won the league with better away form this year”.
Looking at the Varsity fixture itself, it has always been a tense affair. In the modern format a total of ten games have taken place, with Trent edging UoN by six wins to four. In three of the last four years UoN have had the edge in consecutive 4-3 victories, but last year Trent beat UoN comfortably winning 9-5. This year however we expect a return to that tightly contested pattern, and there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful of a point for the Green and Gold.
With Ice Hockey being one of the showcase events, the crowd will play a big role on the day. We have seen in previous years that this has been a big factor. Big tackles and plays can really hype up the fans around the Motorpoint Arena and for me this is really the most exciting spectacle of the series.
Sometimes however, the crowd can go too far. We saw this last year when fights broke out in the stadium, hopefully we don’t see these scenes again. While Varsity events always have an extra edge, it is even more the case for Ice Hockey as this is the only time where players can represent their respective universities.
“It will be important to get the crown on side, as this will give us an extra boast”
Speaking to final year and centre Luke, he emphasised the importance of the crowd. He said that “it will be important to get the crown on side, as this will give us an extra boost,” but is confident that his team will have enough to win the game.
As the last event of this semester, Ice Hockey will set the tone for the remainder of the Varsity series, so it is important that UoN get off to a strong start. It is strange that it is not the first event as it normally tends to be, but it is still early on. Luke emphasised the importance of this and getting the Green and Gold army off to a good start.
While Luke seems confident of a UoN win, I am not as sure. It will all depend on which team turns up on the day, but also on how energised the fans are for this game. I’ll go with my gut and predict a narrow UoN victory. It will be a tense affair and one that should definitely not be missed!
Images courtesy of University of Nottingham Sport and Twitter.com