After victory in last year’s edition and in this year’s warmup The Battle of Notts, the Green and Gold look to keep this train rolling in the 2019 matchup. Before 2018, UoN had not won since 2015, so this could very much set a trend.
This is always an event with a different feel to the rest of Varsity as the rest of the time the two sides compete together with the Nottingham Mavericks. Therefore, you get a bit more of a friendly feel until the puck drops. Once that happens, it is all left on the ice. The play gets scrappy and ill-tempered at times, but the result in this year’s Battle of Notts sets the tone very well. It finished a convincing 6-2 win for the Green and Gold and hopefully sets the tone for the Varsity match to come.
“UoN have the stronger forward group”
Based on the season so far, and last year’s contest, there are reasons for positivity for UoN for sure. In last year’s star Ruskin Springer Hughes along with Luke Watson, Josh Gordon and Steve Lancashire, they have the stronger forward group. Behind them there are quality defenders Alex Karaluks and Robin Mullen to give them that all important support. However, NTU seem to have the stronger defensive personnel overall, and that is matched with star forward Truels Lone.
The X-factor in this match should be the difference in goaltending. On paper, Trent have the better goalie in Holly Steeples, based on an 83% save rate this year. However, the probable UoN goalie has played relatively little. These minutes have been good, but in the Varsity cauldron it could go either way.
“It will be a high scoring game”
We spoke to Ruskin Springer-Hughes and Harry Dixon Pilcher who told us “we’ve had a good season so far, they’ve got some few dangerous players but we have better players”. They also stressed the importance of support from the Green and Gold in the crowd: “knowing how crazy it will be if you score gives you that bit more drive”. They predict it will be a high scoring game and we’ll take the spoils once more.
This faceoff is always a highlight of the series for a reason. The crowds and the physicality raise the emotional stakes for both sides, which in turn boosts the atmosphere. With the two sides usually playing as one and this being one of the primary events, the bragging rights are most definitely on the line. The winners will be able to remind the losers over and over at practices all year, whilst for the supporters this will be one of their main Varsity memories.
The event is already sold out, so if you have a ticket make sure you sing loud and proud and push the Green and Gold that extra mile to confirm the change in the tradition of this coveted fixture.