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PAISLEY PIRATES – PREVIEW

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Paisley Pirates face another difficult match this weekend when they go head to head with Aberdeen Lynx in the second leg of their Scottish Cup Quarter Final at Braehead this Sunday (face off 6.00pm). The Renfrewshire side go into the contest holding a slim 3-2 advantage gained in a penalty filled encounter last Saturday in Aberdeen.

paisley pirates

“It’ll be another testing fixture for us, we seem to be on a diet of them right now,” said coach Ian Turley, “but I suppose it’s much better than taking part in meaningless games with nothing at stake. The first leg was very entertaining, with goals, hard hits, and a few toe to toe encounters which led to several early showers, and I don’t think for a minute that the second leg will be any different. We’ve played the Lynx three times already this year, and the results have been two one goal wins and a draw, so you would suspect Sunday’s game will be along similar lines, with very little to choose between the teams over the three sessions of play..”

“Anybody thinking we’re halfway into the semis already, I’m telling them to forget it-we expect nothing less than 60 minutes of flat out action and once again we will need to play to the top of our form, as the Lynx are capable of beating anyone else in the SNL. They’re challenging at the top of the league and I’m sure they will try throw everything at us right from the off.”

He went on, “I said before last Sunday’s game that Dundee Comets had improved radically since we played them at their place at the start of the season and I think that was plain to see for everyone who was there. They had two ex Elite League players in John Dolan and Adam Walker playing for them and it showed, but again they had a lot of very good players in their ranks like Lewis Gold, and while you’re always disappointed not to win, especially at home, a draw was probably a fair result.”

“With the exception of one game, our players deserve a huge amount of credit for the work they’ve been putting in this season, and particularly since the turn of the year. They’ve been playing through injuries and illness, and the last week in particular has demonstrated that willingness to put themselves on the line for the club. They had a late night training session during the week, then a drive to and from Aberdeen for a very hard game, they got back in the early hours of Sunday morning, then went out and played again on Sunday night in another important game. It’s a tough schedule for anyone to contend with, and add into the bargain that the boys work full time and have family commitments which are things we tend to forget about when the guys are struggling with fatigue. I’m very proud of them because they’ve demonstrated to me their desire to play for this club and I think it’s important that they get the credit they deserve in this respect. Supporters don’t really see the hard work and preparation which goes into getting ready to play one game, never mind two, in a weekend and don’t realise just how much these guys sacrifice to play for the Pirates.”

“This week, however, we have a break from the rigours of league competition so the focus will be entirely on getting past the Lynx and gaining a place in the Scottish Cup semi final, Once again I can only exhort Pirates’ fans and, indeed, any neutrals to get along and watch what promises to be a cracker of a game. At £8, I think I can safely say they’ll get plenty of value for their admission price!”

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Paisley Pirate’s match reports

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PAISLEY PIRATES-UPDATE

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Paisley Pirates coach Ian Turley reflected on a potentially difficult trip to Elgin at the weekend before turning his thoughts to a massive double header, which sees the club head to Aberdeen on Saturday for the first leg of their Scottish Cup Quarter Final tie, before making the long trip home in time to take on the in-form Dundee Comets on vital Scottish National League business only 24 hours later.

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“I thought that it was important that we kept our discipline on Saturday at Elgin,” he commented. “We’re not used to the small ice there and it becomes doubly difficult if you’re taking penalties into the bargain, so I was pleased with the way the guys responded to some of the situations they faced. We were minus a couple of players through injury and work commitments so I thought those who were there did very well to come away with a big win at a venue which hasn’t been our favourite in the last couple of years.”

Turning his attention to this weekend’s fixtures, he highlighted the importance of both fixtures for different reasons. “On Saturday, we’re going to Aberdeen to play the Lynx in front of a sell-out capacity crowd and that will justifiably give them confidence of taking a good lead with them to Braehead the following weekend. For our part, we’re not going there just to make up the numbers, we’re preparing as we always do and going there with the motto that winning is the only option. Both games against Aberdeen have been squeaky tight this season, with only a goal between us over two league games, so it’s likely to be another close run affair, I think.”

“The following night, we’ve got another tough looking match against the Dundee Comets at Braehead Arena (face off 6.00pm), after making the return trip from Aberdeen. They’ve really hit form in recent weeks, they’ve strengthened their side since we played them at their place back in September and they’ve got a goal scorer in John Dolan who has shown he can cut it at Elite League level, which makes them very dangerous indeed, not forgetting, of course, that they’ve plenty of other guys who are a handful as well.”

“For our part, we owe our fans a performance after the disappointment of losing to Edinburgh in front of them two weeks ago, so I’ll be reminding the players this week that we’ve a debt to repay to them. Only the highest level of performance and commitment on both nights will get us through the weekend still in the running for the competitions we’re still involved in, so I’ll be looking for nothing less than 100% in training this week players who are willing to do whatever it takes through the games at the weekend!”

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Paisley Pirates match reports

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PAISLEY PIRATES   4          ABERDEEN LYNX   3 

In front of easily their largest crowd of the season, Pirates recorded a critical 4-3 win over nearest challengers Aberdeen to move clear at the top of the Scottish National League, but once again their supporters had to endure several fraught period during the game.

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The home side were on the powerplay within a minute and with the extra space, Wilson linked up with Miller and Hassan to put them ahead wiles than two minutes on the clock. The importance of the game was clearly felt by the players on both sides as during the period there was a regular flow of penalties called, but with both goalies in good form there was no other disturbance to the scoreboard, Pirates going in at the first break holding a narrow one goal advantage.

The Renfrewshire side came out the blocks quickly in the middle session and had doubled their advantage with only fifty seconds played, as Jordan Ross was up with the forward to score a rare goal, Chalmers in the visitors net getting a hand to the puck, but was unable to stop it going over the line. With chances coming at both ends again it was something of a surprise that it took until the halfway point in the period for another goal to come, as a shot parried by Chalmers was bundled over the line by the onrushing Orr, the goal standing in spite of protests from the visitors. Aberdeen were back in it a few minutes later, though, as Laing pulled one back with a rocket shot from just inside the blue line to give his team some hope at 3-1 going into the final session.

Once again, the final session also began with a goal within two minutes of the restart, but this time it was to put Lynx right back in it , a speculative cross come shot by Dyer deceiving everyone to finish in Meechan’s net an pull the score back to 3-2. Pirates continued to have marginally the better of the play and at the halfway point they scored a great goal as Johnston took the puck forward and waited until Blair was in the perfect position to slot it behind Chalmers to provide a little insurance with the lead doubled once again. However, Pirates’ fans once again had the chance to bite their fingernails as with less than five minutes to go they were playing off a 5 on 3 disadvantage with both Jordan and Thorpe sitting our minor penalties. They safely negotiated the first part but lost a goal with less than 4 minutes left as McIntosh scored to bring it back to a one-goal game again. With the visitors looking to pull their netminder for the extra skater in the last minute, they lost their momentum as Findlay was penalised for Slashing, and Pirates safely kept the puck in their possession to record a crucial win.

 


EDINBURGH CAPITALS   3             PAISLEY PIRATES   3 

Pirates withstood a Capitals fightback to claim a point in Edinburgh and extend their lead at the top of the SNL table.

In a tight opening period, the visitors had more of the play than the hosts, with Mallinson in the home goal regularly called into action, but it wasn’t until the 18th minute that Pirates took the lead with the only goal of the session, Riddell scoring the vital opening marker to send his team in at the break nursing their slender lead.

In the middle session, Edinburgh were first on the board after 25 minutes as Hay netted the first of a double to square the match, but before the halfway point in the game Pirates’ lead was restored as Campbell beat Mallinson to make it 2-1, and with team mate Guy also getting on the scoresheet with less than six minutes of the period remaining, it was looking good for the visitors as the clock ran down. However, with only seconds remaining in the session, the Caps were right back in it as Wallace scored to bring it back to 3-2 at the break.

Pirates were continuing to incur the wrath of referee Graham, who meted out 54 minutes in penalty minutes to the visitors, and once again they lost a powerplay goal at the halfway point in the final session, their third such loss of the night, as Hay netted his second while the home side had the extra player. The visitors continued to push for a winner, but in the final two minutes of play their efforts were thwarted as the home goal was separated from its moorings on no fewer than six occasions, all without penalty, and at the end they had to settle for a draw which puts them a further point ahead of the chasing pack.

Pirates face the Capitals in the return match for more vital league points this Sunday at Braehead Arena, face off at 6.00pm.

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PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

paisley pirates

After a three week layoff, Paisley Pirates are back with a bang this weekend with two matches against difficult looking opposition, taking on Aberdeen Lynx on Saturday night at Braehead (face off at the earlier time of 5pm), before travelling through to Edinburgh the following evening to go head to head to head with the Capitals.

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“It’s going to be a very difficult weekend for us,” said coach Ian Turley, as he looked ahead to the two matches. “It’s very unusual for us to be playing at home on a Saturday, and it’s an earlier than usual face off time into the bargain, and we’ll  be going into the game knowing we’re up against a side unbeaten in the league this season. The Lynx are the big success story of the SNL in recent times, having gone from being whipping boys a few years ago to a team which won the playoffs last season and are currently without a loss to their name in the league this year.”

“I was delighted with our last display when, with hardly a fit player in the ranks, we beat Kirkcaldy and, believe me, it’ll take that kind of effort and commitment against Aberdeen this Saturday. We drew 3-3 with them at their place at the beginning of November and it was a real end to end game, and I can’t see the return being any less of a thriller. We’re hoping to be nearer full strength than we were against the Kestrels in terms of numbers and fitness levels, and it will take the same sort of 60 minutes of full on playing if we want to have any chance of coming away with something.”

He continued, “Our fans were very loud during the last match and we’re asking for the same volume levels on Saturday. With the match being on a Saturday, we suspect there may be some Aberdeen fans who’ll use the opportunity to come through and see the Braehead Arena, so there’s every chance our supporters will have some opposition fans to out shout, something which we don’t always get with our regular game slot being on a Sunday, and maybe, with it being a top of the table clash, we might even get a few fans along from other teams looking for their ice hockey “fix.” In either event, I think it’s going to be an unmissable match, one which deserves a big crowd.”

On the Sunday, Pirates make the short hop along the M8 to take on the Edinburgh Capitals, and coach Turley is again taking nothing for granted. “Edinburgh haven’t had as successful a season as they might have anticipated, considering the strength of their squad, but I think there have been a number of games where players have been taken away to bench for their Elite League squad, and that’s maybe affected some of their results. What I’m absolutely certain about is that they’ll all be available and raring to go against us, just like they’ve been every other time we’ve played them, and with Murrayfield not being a particularly happy hunting ground for us in recent years, it’s traditionally been a hard place for us to go to, so once again we’ll have to go there with our A game if we want to keep gathering points.”

 

Face off in Edinburgh is at 6.00pm.

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PAISLEY PIRATES 8 – KIRKCALDY KESTRELS 5

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In a match billed as a Christmas cracker, the sixty minutes of play certainly lived up to the pre match publicity, as Pirates, minus a number of key players and with several taking to the ice with injuries or illness which might normally have ruled them out of the game, overcame the significant challenge of the Kirkcaldy Kestrels to win a pulsating match 8-5.

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The visitors, knowing that a win was crucial to their lingering hopes of retaining their SNL title, had the better of the opening exchanges as Pirates fought to get to grips with their re-jigged lines, and in the 7th minute the latter’s lethal touch in front of goal was illustrated as David Orr pounced on a Miller pass to beat Little for the opener. Within two minutes the lead was doubled as the roles were reversed, and with Pirates scoring a third through Man of the Match Marc Crute on the powerplay with less than 12 minutes on the clock they looked home bankers, but in spite of having several more gilt edged chances they were unable to add to the 3-0 scoreline before the first break.

With the second period underway the visitors had several chances to get themselves back in the games but it wasn’t until after the midway stage that they got on the scoreboard, and within the space of only two minutes they had pulled level through Robertson, Floyd (on the powerplay), and Smith, but coach Ian Turley sensibly called for a time out to settle his troops down and take the sting out of the visitors’ surge, and his strategy paid off as David Orr netted with under two minutes of the period remaining to send his team in with a narrow 4-3 advantage.

Pirates appeared to have learned from their middle session sag as they came out for the final session with all guns blazing, goals from Crute and Wilson pushing their advantage to 6-3 within 3 minutes of the restart before the Kestrels had found their second wind. However, the visitors came back again, and goals from Anderson and Duncan had reduced the deficit to one before the halfway point, with Pirates’ fans again chewing their fingernails in anticipation of a final fraught 10 minutes.  Once again, they were the ones cheering as first Miller, netting his second, then Crute, completing his hat trick by skating beyond 3 defenders to score the eighth goal, in the space of two minutes, ensured that the points were staying in Paisley, in spite of Kestrels pulling their netminder with as much as four minutes to go in a brave, but vain, attempt to keep the game alive. With the noise level escalating rapidly in the final few minutes, Pirates safely crossed the finishing line to record another important victory.

Pirates may have played a better quality of hockey in some of their games in recent times, but this display was more about the guts of the players in depleted circumstances, standing up to the significant challenge presented by a very good Kirkcaldy side and showing that in adversity they had the ability to come through. For their part, it’s unlikely that any spectator attending the match left the arena feeling they had not had value for their money.

The players have a well earned 3 week break from matches over the festive period, returning to competitive action, in a break from their normal routine, on Saturday 7 January when they take on table toppers Aberdeen Lynx at Braehead Arena (face off 5.00pm).

 

Scorers:          Crute (3+0), Orr & Miller (both 2+2), Wilson (1+2), Guy (0+2), I. Turley, Thorp, Blair & Hassan (all 0+1)

Penalties:        Crute & C Turley (both 4), Guy, I. Turley, Orr, Meechan & Wilson (all 2)

Man of the Match: MARC CRUTE

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PAISLEY PIRATES 9 – DUNDEE TIGERS 2

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Pirates shook off any sluggishness following their five-week layoff to record a comprehensive 9-2 home win against a resilient Tigers side which kept going until the end.

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The home side, minus several key players, were out of the blocks the faster and were ahead in the 5th minute as Crute latched onto a Blair pass to slip a backhanded effort under Balfour for the opening goal. The visitors were having their fair share of possession but found Meechan in excellent form for Pirates and with almost 12 minutes played Pirates were two in front as Bain squeezed the puck home to send his side in after a first period which had seen the home team play off several numerical disadvantages without damage.

Pirates continued to rack up penalties in the middle session as they incurred the displeasure of referee Elliott and on their sixth powerplay of the night Tigers were back in the game as McLeod forced the puck beyond Meechan to halve the deficit. Their relief was short lived, however, as within a minute Miller has fired an unsaveable bullet past Balfour, and only 30 seconds later it was four as player/coach Ian Turley scored a rare marker as he shot under the Tigers netminder in precise fashion to give his side some breathing space at 4-1. The goals continued to come and Blair went through, rounded Balfour, before flicking nonchalantly into the net to add to the total, and with only five seconds of the period to go it was six as Hassan fired home to make it 6-1 at the second interval.

With the match over as a contest, Tigers grabbed a consolation second after two minutes of the final session, but normal service was resumed  as Hassan grabbed his second at the halfway point, with Thorp and Crute, the latter getting his second goal, taking the scoreline to an emphatic 9-2 by the final whistle.

Pirates will be pleased at overcoming another potential banana skin, and minus several important players, and now look forward to the visit of Kirkcaldy next Sunday night at Braehead, in a match which sees league champions Kestrels face current Scottish Cup holders in a match which has all the potential of a Christmas cracker in the final SNL fixture of 2016. Face off is at the usual time of 6.00pm.

Scorers:          Crute (2+2), Hassan (2+0), Thorp (1+3), Bain, Blair & Miller (all 1+1), I. Turley (1+0), Crawford & Orr (both 0+2), Wilson, Johnston & Hamilton (all 0+1)

Penalties:        Bain 4, Johnston, Blair, Jordan. Hassan, McLaughlin, Thorp (all 2)

Man of the Match: Richard Thorp

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PIRATES BACK FOODBANK CAMPAIGN

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Paisley Pirates have given their backing to a festive drive by local organisations to help families in the area experience some Christmas cheer next month, by asking fans to donate items and bring them to the club’s next home game against Dundee Tigers on Sunday 11 December.

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“Our Supporters Club has already been in touch with representatives from the Trussell Trust and Renfrewshire Foodbank to discuss what we can do,” said chairwoman Marie Cadenhead. “They’ll be at our game on 11 December and we’re asking our fans to show their traditional generosity by bringing along food items, selection boxes, indeed any item which might make this Christmas a little easier for local families. I’m sure our fans will respond in numbers to the initiative and I’m hoping that the representatives from the two agencies will need a lot of boxes to carry away the donations from supporters.”

Coach Ian Turley also commented, “We always stress that we are a community club wanting to give something back for all the support we receive, and this is an ideal opportunity for us to show that desire in a very practical way, by hopefully bringing a smile to some faces, for whom Christmas might otherwise be a very difficult time. Like Marie, I’m in no doubt that our fans will respond in quantity and it’s a hugely worthwhile project to be involved in. I can only recommend it wholeheartedly to all our supporters and, indeed, to everyone in the wider community. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a difference and I really hope we can do that, and, by doing so, reinforce the message about the festive period being a time for giving.”

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MILLIE’S MIRACLE FUND RAISER

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A charity ice hockey match organised by a grateful dad has raised an amazing amount for two vital neonatal units, after they helped save his baby daughter’s life.

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Ross Andreucci, a member of the 2013 Paisley Pirates championship winning side and now playing for Kilmarnock Storm in the Scottish National League, is amazed, not to say humbled, by the support he received after he decided to raise money for the Crosshouse and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Neonatal Units when his daughter Millie received 24 hour, round the clock, care after weighing only 180 grams at birth.

“I felt a simple “thank you” to the people who gave Millie all the care she needed during the first few months of her life was insufficient after all they’d done for her.. She was so small, it was months before we got her home, and I had to do something to recognise all that they did for her. I spoke to a few folk I know in the ice hockey world and the response was just overwhelming. So many folk wanted to play, or help out with some of the jobs needing done to make a game of ice hockey take place, it really was a humbling experience to have so many folk wanting to take part in the event. It’s also true to say I’ve got a far greater appreciation now of what it takes to run an ice hockey club now, I was a nervous wreck in the days and weeks leading up to the game, which took place at Ayr Ice Rink on 12 November.”

The match resulted in a 9-6 win for the pink team against their purple opponents, both teams made up of players playing for Scottish National League teams, recreational sides, and even players who came out of retirement just to take part, but the result really wasn’t important as the event raised a staggering £5,443 which will go to both neonatal units and allow them to purchase vital life saving equipment.

Ross went on, “I’ll never be able to properly thank all the folk who helped make the event an overwhelming success, from those who baked and sold cakes on the day, to those who donated items for an auction, the players who turned up to play, and even just the people who turned up to watch the game. We had an attendance which a few clubs would be happy to see at their games, and it just goes to show that the ice hockey community really does turn out in numbers to support one of their own. They made the event the success it was, and I just want them to know I’ll never forget their generosity. I’ve already been asked if I’m running another event next year so the work for that one is already underway. After the success of this year’s inaugural match I’m hoping to make the next one even bigger and better.”

 

 

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Paisley Pirates Christmas Offer

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Paisley Pirates are entering into the Christmas spirit by offering local community groups the chance to come and watch their local ice hockey team for special festive admission prices.

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“We’ve got two very tough games coming up on the two Sundays just before Christmas, as we take on the Dundee Tigers on 11 December, and we’re at home again the following weekend, which is the last match before the temporary halt to fixtures over Christmas and New Year,” said coach Ian Turley. “We’ll be starting both matches at 6.00pm and we think it’s a great opportunity for local organisations to give their members a special Christmas treat without breaking the bank. For group bookings, the cost will work out at considerably less than our normal admission prices, which means massive savings for groups coming along. We think, in these difficult economic times, these rates won’t be beaten, particularly when compared against other forms of entertainment at that time of year. We have to stress that the deal isn’t open to away fans travelling in numbers.”

He continued, “We anticipate that both games will be very difficult ones for the boys and, in turn, therefore, very entertaining, not to mention exciting, for spectators, and we think it’s a great way to encourage local community groups to come along and watch a game, make it a special night out for their members, and give us a wee bit extra encouragement all at the same time. We are forever preaching to folk that we are a local club run by the community, for the community, and in the community, and we believe we should be putting back into it some of the support we get on a regular basis, and this is one of the best ways we can think of to fulfil that desire.”

“We won’t be difficult to deal with in terms of negotiating a price for local group bookings, other than to stress that they must be made and confirmed before the match concerned, as for health & safety reasons we need to know about any large groups coming in advance of their arrival so that we have appropriate stewarding in place. Group leaders should get in touch with us via our website, paisleypirates@gmail.com, and we’ll be delighted to make sure they have a great experience when their organisation comes to watch the Paisley Pirates in action. These deals have become increasingly popular with local groups in previous years, so there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that they’d best not wait too long to make their booking, just in case our ship has sailed without them!”