Paisley Pirates may have a rare weekend free from on-ice action over Easter, but the behind the scenes activity continues for the club, as they prepare for a hectic schedule of end of season matches, which sees Renfrewshire’s local ice hockey team face rivals in hugely significant fixtures, with everything to play for as the 2015/16 year draws to a spectacular close.
“It’s certainly a rarity for us to have a weekend off,” commented coach Ian Turley as he looked back to last weekend before anticipating the matches to come. “We played very well to beat Dundee Tigers 7-0 at their place on Sunday, which puts us in a very strong position with regard to qualifying for the finals weekend in Fife on 9/10 April. However, for as long as I’ve been in charge, we’ve treated every match the same way, and we’ll be doing no different for the second leg at home against the Tigers on Sunday week, on 3 April, when we line up against them to decide who goes through to the last four. The boys will enjoy a weekend off but then it’s back to business.”
He went on, “Certainly, we start with a good advantage, one which, to be fair, I didn’t think we’d have before the deciding leg at Braehead, but ice hockey is a strange game and folk will remember our last league game at home against the Tigers was a belter, with it taking a shorthanded goal in the last few minutes to let us squeeze through 6-5. Were we to assume we are already through, we’d be dropping the standards we set at this club regarding treating the opposition with respect, and preparing for every game as professionally as we can, so that ain’t going to happen! We might not be playing for money every week, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare as thoroughly as we can, so there will be no change to our usual preparations for that game. Sure, we’ve got at least one big game to look forward to in the shape of the Scottish Cup final on 16 April, and coincidentally the Tigers go in against Edinburgh Capitals this weekend to decide who we meet, but first things first!”
“We played very well against the Tigers in Dundee at the weekend, so the challenge for us is to keep that level of intensity in our play, score goals at one end, and keep them out at the other. The game on 3 April will be our last at Braehead Arena for the season, so we’re hoping to put on a show for our supporters who’ve as usual been great with us all season, and maybe even give them some confidence with regard to subsequent fixtures.”