Swindon Wildcats are the next National League visitors to the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay, but player-coach Chris Douglas and his Cardiff Fire players are focused on away days first.
Fire, beaten 5-3 at Bracknell in their last match when Newport-born Steve Fisher scored three, travel to play Solent Devils on Saturday, followed by a trip to take on Basingstoke Buffalo a week later.
Then Fire will face Solent in South Wales on Sunday, November 18 (6pm).
Alex Murray, Solent’s player-coach, racked up 76 points (23 goals/53 assists) in 29 fixtures last season and is one of four players to have made more than 200 appearances for Solent.
— André Norris (@andrenorris97) November 3, 2018
This is Murray’s ninth season with the club and he says: “There is no better place to be.
“I have invested pretty much my whole life to this club, and to see the strides the club has made in the last five years gives me the motivation to ensure the improvements continue for the next five years and beyond.”
Murray wears number 73, while his assistant Richard Facey also plays and is number 29.
Facey contributed 48 goals with 47 assists last season and earned the reputation of being among the best players in NIHL.
“I’m happy to be back at Solent, there was any doubt I wanted to come back,” he says. “I started playing hockey at Gosport ice rink and it feels like it has all come full circle.
“I hope to play out the rest of my career with Solent.”
— David Spalton (@loadmasterdave) November 3, 2018
Those 48 goals made Facey the highest scoring player in the league last season and his tally included nine hat-tricks, eight shorthanded strikes and nine winning goals.
Fire make the trip to Gosport in Hampshire for their only fixture this weekend following a 5-3 defeat at Bracknell Hornets last time out.
Coach Douglas was in goal, while Fire were without Ross Wilkinson after he suffered in a mid-ice incident against Lee Valley Lions.
Wilkinson went to hospital to be checked out and everything is okay, but he was advised to sit out a few matches.
Tamas Elias and Ellis Sheppard gave Fire a 2-0 lead at Hornets, but the home team hit back and emerged 5-3 winners over the 60 minutes.
Welshman Fisher, a former Cardiff Devils junior, scored a hat-trick for Bracknell.
Fire outshot Hornets 37-35, while penalties ran to a total of two hours. Stephen Deacon was thrown out in the last two minutes, but all other penalties were either two minute minors or 10 minutes.
Scorers, Hornets: Steve Fisher 3+0, Dan Hughes 2+0, Luke Jackson 0+1, Ben Ealey-Newman 0+1, Harvey Hind-Pitcher 0+2, Matt Jordan 0+1, Jakub Fojtik 0+1, Jak Tarczycki 0+1.
Fire: Tamas Elias 1+0, Ellis Sheppard 1+0, Jackson Price 1+-, Stephen Deacon 0+1, Joe Morris 0+1, Jordan Powell 0+1, Sam Bryant 0+1.
Period scores (Hornets first): 2-2; 3-1 (5-3); 0-0 (5-3).
Penalties in minutes: Hornets 48, Fire 71.
Shots on goal: Hornets 35, Fire 37.
Referee: Kevin Biggs.
Fire’s next three fixtures
Saturday 10 v Solent Devils away (5pm)
Saturday 17 v Basingstoke Buffalo away (6.15pm)
Sunday 18 v Swindon Wildcats at home (6.15pm)
Saturday 10: Solent Devils v Cardiff Fire (5pm), Invicta v Peterborough Phantom (5.15pm), Guildford v Chelmsford Chieftains (5.30pm), Haringey Huskies v Lee Valley Lions (5.30pm), Slough Jets v Bristol Pitbulls (5.45pm), Swindon Wildcats v Oxford City Stars (6.15pm).
Sunday 11: Romford Raiders Juniors v Lee Valley Lions.
Saturday 17: Bristol Pitbulls v Chelmsford Chieftains (5pm), Guildford v Invicta (5.30pm), Bracknell Hornets v Solent Devils (6pm), Basingstoke Buffalo v Cardiff Fire (6.15pm), Peterborough Phantoms v Romford Raiders (6.15pm).
Sunday 18: Lee Valley Lions v Oxford City Stars (5.30pm), Cardiff Fire v Swindon Wildcats (6pm).
NIHL results last weekend:
Saturday: Lee Valley Lions 3, Bracknell Hornets 21; Oxford City Stars 3, Chelmsford Chieftains 1; Swindon Wildcats 1, Guildford 7.
Sunday: Solent Devils 8, Romford Raiders Junior 5; Bristol Pitbulls 5, Basingstoke Buffalo 7; Slough Jets 14, Invicta 1; Bracknell Hornets 5, Cardiff Fire 3; Peterborough Phantoms 10, Haringey Huskies 5.
English Ice Hockey Association
NIHL South 2 (Wilkinson) 2018-19
|2||Oxford City Stars||8||7||0||0||1||122||53||20||14|
|8||Raiders Junior S2||7||3||1||0||3||261||34||32||8|
|14||Swindon Wildcats 2||7||0||0||0||7||108||9||61||0|
|15||Lee Valley Lions||8||0||0||0||8||153||13||110||0|