This weekend sees the penultimate series of games in the Elite Ice Hockey League, and with standings so close at the top and the bottom of the table it is sure to be a vital weekend for a number of sides.
Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants – 12/3/16 and 13/2/16
The Cardiff Devils finally open their new rink following the move from their temporary home, the big blue tent, into the brand new Ice Arena Wales. It will be a vital game for both sides as they are in the title race with Cardiff sitting second and Belfast in fourth place.
The Devils come into the game with four league defeats on the bounce and also a loss in overtime in the Challenge Cup final. However, their last win did come against Belfast in the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
The Giants had been on a resurgence bringing themselves back into the title race after winning six out of seven league games since the Olympic break in February. However their one loss in that run of games came last weekend after the Braehead Clan defeated the Giants 2-1 in Belfast.
In the previous three visits that the Giants have made to Cardiff this season, the Devils have come out on top on all three occasions so they will be hoping this continues this weekend. The Giants will look to take advantage of the bigger ice pad in Cardiff as they try to overtake the Devils in the league standings.
Edinburgh Capitals v Dundee Stars 12/3/16 and Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals 13/3/16
Both of these Gardiner Conference game sees two sides out of form meet at both the Murrayfield Ice Rink and the Dundee Ice Arena over the weekend. The Capitals come into this tie on a 16 game loss streak. The Dundee Stars will be looking to edge closer to securing their Play Off spot with a win in the Scottish Capital, but will need to put an end to their three game winless run if they are to do so.
In the four games that have taken place between the sides in Murrayfield this season the Capitals have won one with the Stars coming out on top in the other three.
In the Dundee Ice Arena the results were the same with the Stars winning three of the four games and the Capitals coming away with the one win.
Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers 12/3/16
This game sees two sides who are both still in the title race clash at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham. The Panthers will come into the game with a mixture of fortunes after winning the Challenge Cup on Sunday but then lost away to the Coventry Blaze in midweek.
The Steelers however are sitting at the top of the league after beating Fife convincingly last weekend and will be hoping to extend their lead at the top of the standings.
In the games at the National Ice Centre the Panthers have come out on top winning three out of five games, including the second leg of the Challenge Cup Semi-final.
Braehead Clan v Manchester Storm 12/3/16 and Manchester Storm v Braehad Clan 13/3/16
The Braehead Clan go into this weekend having revived their hopes of taking the Elite League title. On the other hand the Manchester Storm still have slim hopes of securing the last Play Off spot.
The Clan head into this game in fine form, winning their last three including an impressive victory over the Belfast Giants at the SSE Arena. On the other hand the Storm lost to fellow Gardiner Conference rivals the Fife Flyers putting a dent into their chances of making the Play Offs.
The Clan have the upper hand in the games played at the Braehead Arena with the Scottish side winning two of the three games.
It is exactly the same story in the Silver Blades Ice Rink Altringham as the Clan have skated away with two victories over the Storms single win.
Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze 13/3/16
This game sees the Coventry Blaze head into Sheffield looking to continue with their impressive form of late as they are currently on a five game winning streak.
A win here would almost certainly secure the Blaze a Play Off spot as they look to retain the championship they won last year, by beating the Sheffield Steelers in the Play Off final.
In the four games that have taken place in Sheffield, the series is tied two apiece. Both sides will be hoping to come out on top in the last regular season game between the sides.
Fife Flyers v Nottingham Panthers 13/3/16
Fife head into their only game of the weekend with confidence after a convincing 8-2 win away to the Manchester Storm. With their Play Off place all but secured, the Flyers will be hoping to put a dent in any hopes the Panthers have of winning the league title.
The sides have only met once so far in the Fife Ice Arena with the home side winning the game 5-2.
This is going to be a huge weekend of Ice Hockey all around the Elite League with key games taking place over both nights. We could be one step closer to finding out who will be lifting the Monteith Bowl at the end of the season when this weekend is over.