WEEKEND PREVIEW: Kestrels watch again as rivals play

North Ayrshire Wild travel to Edinburgh Capitals in Sunday's big game that could have repercussions on their title hopes (Photo by Barry Somerville)

North Ayrshire Wild travel to Edinburgh Capitals in Sunday’s big game that could have repercussions on their title hopes (Photo by Barry Somerville)

KIRKCALDY KESTRELS face another nervous weekend as the SNL title race continues to intensify, but again they have to play the waiting game as they sit things out.

So far, they’re the only team to reach the play-offs, but that should change by Sunday night and while they’ll still be top of the table, their lead could be greatly reduced.

North Ayrshire Wild, Paisley Pirates and to a lesser extent, Edinburgh Capitals are within striking distance of them now and all three are in action this weekend.

Plus the last semi final place will be decided in this season’s Scottish Cup as we get ready for another fascinating weekend in the SNL.

SCOTTISH CUP: ABERDEEN LYNX vs KILMARNOCK STORM
Saturday, 7.15pm, Lynx Ice Arena

A TIE with Paisley Pirates awaits the winners of the last second round match as Aberdeen Lynx look to arrest their worrying slump in form of late.

Kilmarnock Storm go to the North East looking to upset the odds and if they do it, it would surely be the shock of the season, especially when you consider they’ve conceded double figures in five of their last seven.

Their season has been disappointing and if they can get something from this game, it may generate a late burst in form, but that bottom place looks all but assured.

But this is the cup and anything can happen and after beating Storm 7-0 in the league in December – where Barry Carnegie and Mark Laing both scored twice – Lynx will be heavy favourites.

That’s despite losing their last three and winning only one in their last five – that win over Killie – and after pulling in a sell out crowd in their narrow 3-2 loss to Dundee Comets, they’ll want that again.

SNL: DUNDEE TIGERS vs SOLWAY SHARKS
Saturday, 7.30pm, Dundee Ice Arena

DUNDEE TIGERS and Solway Sharks may be well out off things in terms of the league title race this season, but it won’t stop them from looking to pull themselves up the table.

Both sides had wildly contrasting results last week as Dundee Tigers romped to a 7-1 win over Moray Typhoons to move them level on points with the Sharks, smarting after a 14-1 loss to North Ayrshire Wild.

Sharks have been low in numbers of late, which has contributed to some of the poor results they’ve had recently, but will look at a previous success as means of motivation.

Jamie Kerr’s side beat the Tigers on Tayside back at the start of the season in their opening league match, but they haven’t been able to kick on from there.

Tigers though have two wins in three and have shown flashes of what they’re capable of although they’ve struggled to emulate the form they’ve shown in the cups.

It may be the lesser of the four games this weekend, but it won’t make it any less interesting for both sides as they look for the spark that could kick them on.

SNL: MORAY TYPHOONS vs PAISLEY PIRATES
Saturday, 6pm, Elgin Leisure Centre

IAN TURLEY takes his men the long journey north with Paisley’s title hopes firmly in their hands – and you wouldn’t bet against them keeping that going.

Six straight wins has elevated into the middle of the title race and on current form, it would be hard to see them give them up against second bottom Moray Typhoons.

However Pirates’ away form this season isn’t anywhere near as strong as their home form – with only one league win in four – but they will be favourites for this one.

Typhoons are without a win in their last five and have won only three games in 13 across all competitions all season so that sort of form does lean towards Pirates.

But there’s no doubt Paisley are the form team and their 10-1 mauling of Moray before Christmas could still be in the minds of the players.

But it’s another chance to chase down the out of action Kirkcaldy Kestrels and an opportunity to take advantage with title rivals Edinburgh and North Ayrshire going head to head on Sunday.

SNL: EDINBURGH CAPITALS vs NORTH AYRSHIRE WILD
Sunday, 5.30pm, Murrayfield

WITH these two very heavily involved in the race for the SNL Championship, it’s fair to assume this will be the game of the weekend in a league four-pointer.

For Edinburgh, it’s a case of finding out about what’s gone wrong as they start the weekend in the somewhat unfamiliar position of fourth, looking up at the Wild, who are nestled nicely in second place.

After a barn-storming start to the season where Capitals picked up 12 points from 12 in their opening six games, they’ve only taken a further four from their next six matches.

That’s a massive difference compared to North Ayrshire Wild, who come in on a tidal wave of nine wins in 11 in the league and one loss in eight.

Wild have already beaten the 2014 champions, beating them 5-4 in a tough match that needed a late winner from Ryan Sarginson to claim both the points at a time when North Ayrshire were finding their form.

A win for Wild will take them to within a point of Kestrels and deal a shattering blow to Capitals’ hopes of maintaining a push for the crown.

But a Caps’ victory will barge them back into contention as the weeks count down until the winners are crowned at the end of the season.

Interesting times indeed.

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Edinburgh Capitals were the victors in Sunday's big game over North Ayrshire Wild (Photo by Barry Somerville)

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