Paisley Pirates return to action after a few weeks off, and it’s another very important weekend for them as they take on North Ayrshire Wild over two legs, to determine who will qualify for a place in the playoff finals weekend on 8 and 9 April, when the four qualifiers will battle it out for the right to be names playoff champions. Pirates face the Wild at Auchenharvie Ice Rink on Saturday night before returning to Braehead Arena for the second leg less than 24 hours later.
“I said a few weeks ago that every game was a cup final now, and this weekend proves my point. North Ayr have had a difficult season this year, but will see this as the perfect opportunity to round it off in style by beating the new league champions,” said coach Ian Turley. “For us, we’ll be sticking to our well established routine of taking one game at a time. Braehead Arena hasn’t been available to us for a couple of weeks, so it would have been very easy just to rest up and not train, instead of which we secured booked ice elsewhere to ensure that our normal routine remained in place. That’s what we’ve been doing all season, and we aren’t changing it now. Attitude of mind is just as important as fitness when I’m looking at a squad of players, and it matters that they have the right one when they go out on the ice. We’ve never won the playoff weekend; we’ve had a few disappointments over the years in the final stages, sure it would be great to tick that box but we are not even there yet! The second game at Braehead Arena on the Sunday is also our last one on home ice this season, so I’m hoping both that the team puts on a show for the fans, and that the latter turn out in droves as a “Thank you” for winning the league, it would be a nice way to round off matters in front of them.”
“I’m happy that we’ve got the players to do the job of reaching the finals weekend, but it’s who is best over the two legs simple as that. I’m sure that the Wild will be determined to spoil the party for us. A couple of our squad played for them last year, so there will be added spice to the two legs, with not just a finals place at stake, but nearly as important, bragging rights locally. We’ve got big occasion players in our ranks, and every game from here on in is a big one, so I’m looking to everyone on our bench to go out and show me that they deserve the faith that’s been placed in them, not just by me, but by our loyal fans who have been with us every step of the way this season, and who are looking forward to what could be a very busy end to the season.”
Sunday’s match at Braehead faces off at 6.00pm. Pirates now know their Scottish Cup Final opponents, Dundee Comets having beaten local rivals Dundee Tigers 12-4 on aggregate in their semi final over the weekend, and will now face the cup holders in the final on 22 April in Kirkcaldy.