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PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

paisley pirates

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.

paisley pirates

“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.

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PAISLEY PIRATES-UPDATE

Paisley Pirates coach Ian Turley looked back on another memorable weekend for the club which not only saw them qualify for the Scottish Cup Final after a 26-3 aggregate win over a weakened Kilmarnock Storm, but incorporated a number of other events which he was very happy about.

86 year old fan Tommy Laverty shaking hands with Man of the Match last Sunday, Chris Wilson

“We went out and did the job we had to do on Sunday night. Killie appeared to be a few players short of the squad that played against us the week before, but my job, and that of the team, was to go out and make sure there were no surprises in the outcome, which was a place in the Scottish Cup Final, and there wasn’t. I appreciate that it wasn’t much of a spectacle for the big crowd we had in, but we demand that the team goes out and does the best it can every game, and that’s what it did, that’s what we’ve tried to do every game this season, and that’s why we’re champions!”

league winning Paisley Pirates with Tommy

He went on, “There were so many other things going on over the weekend that, for me, just illustrates why this club is special, and isn’t just an ice hockey team. On Friday night, at the Lord Provost’s Annual Community Awards event, club secretary Jackie Turley won the Sporting Achievement category, which doesn’t just recognise what we’ve done on the ice the past year, but shows that the Paisley Pirates ARE recognised as being an important element in all the parts that go into a local community. That is, and always will be, very important to us.”

“On the Sunday, we were crowned as national champions and were presented with the trophy, and winners’ medals, by the Depute Lord Provost, Councillor John Caldwell, and again, that’s hugely significant to us, that we continue to receive recognition for our achievements from the local council, who have always been very supportive of us in various ways. You could feel our supporters literally bursting with pride as the team came up one by one to receive their gongs, and moments like that are so precious, not just for the players, but for the supporters who are watching THEIR team being honoured.”

“Also on the Sunday night, we had a very special moment during the Man of the Match presentations, as it was carried out by Tommy Laverty, an 86 years young Pirates fan who has supported the club from the very start, indeed, he was there at East Lane when it all started for us back in 1946. We felt that given the special circumstances of Sunday night, it was very important to us to reinforce the special relationship between the Pirates and the town of Paisley, which goes all the way back to just after the end of World War Two, and, especially in our 70th year, what could possibly have been more fitting than to have someone who was there at the very start to help us celebrate?”

“Finally, and this wasn’t planned, we had an incident during the second period when one of the Kilmarnock team was hit in the head by a shot, and after several minutes’ treatment on the ice, was stretchered off and was taken to hospital. Our First Aid team were on the ice within seconds, Arena staff were on hand also, and he received appropriate care and attention until the ambulance arrived, at which time he was quickly transported to hospital. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t as bad as it looked at first, but we’ve received fulsome praise from both his parents, and others who saw the incident since, praising us for the very professional way we dealt with the incident, how well they perceive the club is run, and praising our fans for the respectful way they responded to what appeared a very serious situation.”

“The main thing is that the players is pretty much ok, but all of the above just demonstrates how much respect and recognition this club carries both locally and further afield, and that will always be important to us, namely, that we have the respect and recognition of our peers to be the very best we can be at all times and in everything we do both on and off the ice.. That, for me, separates this club from the pack, and as long as I have anything to do with it, that’s the way it will continue to be!”

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PAISLEY PIRATES 15 KILMARNOCK STORM 1

paisley pirates

Pirates duly progressed to the Scottish Cup Final after a mammoth 15-1 rout of the Storm, recording an aggregate 26-3 aggregate win.

paisley pirates

They were quickly into their stride and were ahead after five minutes as skipper Mark Hassan slotted home on the powerplay, and within two minutes the lead was doubled as Tom Johnston got on the scoresheet with a shot which beat netminder Gray in the visiting goal. By the halfway point it was 3-0 as Chris Wilson scored his first of the night, again on the powerplay, and while former Pirate Allan Maitland pulled one back for the visitors in the 13th minute, the flow of play towards the Storm continued and after another former Pirate, Myles Watson, had been thrown out for Butt Ending, Wilson scored his second, and his team’s fourth, with yet another powerplay goal to send his team in with a very comfortable 4-1 advantage, and with the writing very much on the wall for the visitors.

In the middle session, Pirates went into overdrive and with less than five minutes played in it Chris Turley scored the goal of the game, waltzing through the entire Storm side to score a beauty and take the lead to four on the night, and thirteen in the tie. Marc Crute was in on the act four minutes later to take the score to 6-1. Chris Wilson duly collected his hat trick goal just after the halfway point in the game, with Stuart Miller taking it to eight after 32 minutes. A nasty looking injury to Storm’s Mort saw the game halted after 35 minutes as the visitor appeared to take a direct hit to the head from the puck, and after extended treatment on the ice he was stretchered off and taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. The extended break in play did not, however, affect Pirates’ dominance as they beat Blackwell, who had replaced Gray in the visiting goal by this time, three times in the remaining minutes through a Chris Wilson double, taking his personal tally to five, and a rare Warren Crawford effort, making the score 11-1 after 40 minutes.

Pirates appeared to drop a gear in the third session and with a number of players benefiting from extended ice time, it wasn’t until the 48th minute that Crawford netted his second, but they finished with a flourish with three final goals in the last ten minutes, Bain making it unlucky 13 for Kilmarnock, Crute getting his second a few minutes later, and Campbell rounded off the evening with the final goal in the last two minutes.

The league champions will now have a break of a few weeks until the dates of their playoff games with as yet unnamed opponents are confirmed, and on this form will be looking to the prospect of appearances in the Scottish Cup Final on 22 April against the winners of the Dundee derby, with Tigers and Comets clashing in the other semi final, and the prospect of a possible appearance in the playoff finals weekend to look forward to as top seeds in the preliminary stages.

Following their win, Pirates were presented with the SNL Champions trophy and their individual medals by Deputy Lord Provost of Renfrewshire Council, John Caldwell.

Scorers: Wilson (5+0), Crute (2+1), Crawford (2+0), Hassan, Miller & Johnston (all 1+2), Campbell & Turley (both 1+1), Bain (1+0), Orr (0+4), Blair, Riddell & Jordan (both 0+2), McLaughlin, Thorp & Spiers (all 0+1)

Man of the Match: Chris Wilson

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PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates coach Ian Turley is looking forward to the second leg of his team’s Scottish Cup semi-final this Sunday for a whole host of reasons, after seeing his side beat Kilmarnock Storm in the first leg last Saturday, but he certainly isn’t taking anything for granted, and he’s warning everyone at the club not to assume the club is already in the final.

paisley pirates

“I accept that there will be those who believe the job is already done and that we’re in the final towards the end of April, but I’m not one of them!” he said with conviction. “We’ve got to where we’ve reached this year by the same approach, namely, take one game at a time, treat your opponents with the utmost respect, and take nothing for granted, so I’ll certainly not be changing the mantra now, and I’ll quickly remind anybody who thinks otherwise.

He continued, “Storm have a lot of guys who played for us at Braehead in previous seasons, so they will welcome coming back to the wide open spaces here. I actually think they have players who will enjoy the extra space they will find at our home ice, so they will certainly need to be watched very carefully. I know this might be seen as an over cautious approach by some, but we need to be certain that we continue to employ the same practices as we’ve done so far, we’re playing for a cup final place, and when we play the way we can and show the right attitude I never have any doubts about our ability to win games, and that will be the way we go about Sunday’s game. It’s all about maintaining good habits and setting out to win every single game we play. It’s irrelevant what competition we play in, our only objective is to win and take one game at a time, if we continue to do that then everything else takes care of itself.

“It’s a great chance for our supporters to welcome back the guys who, in my opinion, deserve all the praise that’s been heaped on them after winning the Scottish National League, and are now playing for a place in the Scottish Cup Final. Not many supporters can say they have the opportunity to see that all on one night, but on Sunday our fans do, and I really hope they turn out in force to cheer the guys onto the ice just before 6.00pm on Sunday night and then keep the noise level up at full for the rest of the game. It’s been a month since we last played at home when we beat then title challenges Aberdeen Lynx to reach the semis, so I’m looking for them to contribute to the whole team ethic approach, which they’re very much part of, and help see us through to the final. We’re in a position which every other team wishes was theirs, so let’s go for one penultimate push on Sunday and help get us there!”

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KILMARNOCK STORM 2 PAISLEY PIRATES 11

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates are a significant step closer to reaching the Scottish Cup Final for a second successive season after recording an 11-2 away win at Kilmarnock in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

paisley pirates

The visitors were on the offensive almost from the first whistle as Storm’s Maitland took an early penalty, but they had to wait until the seventh minute before they went ahead on the powerplay, and what a goal it was, as Campbell waltzed past the entire Storm team on the ice from his own defensive zone before knocking a back hander beyond Blackwell for the opener. The same player was first to a rebound before the halfway point to double the lead, but while both sides had chances, with Maitland proving to be troublesome to the visiting defence, the respective goals remained intact for the remainder of the session, sending Pirates in with a handy 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The visitors were further ahead after only four minutes of the middle period as Guy fired home his side’s third of the evening, and with Orr netting only three minutes later Pirates were already looking good for a win on the night. Storm did get one back as former Pirate Graeme Lester netted after a scramble in front of netminder Meechan, but within forty seconds his team’s deficit was back at four as Orr grabbed his second to ensure that Pirates were looking more than comfortable at 5-1 by the end of the session, with Blackwell in the home goal producing a string of superlative saves in the latter stages to just about keep a light flickering for Kilmarnock.

Storm came out for the final twenty minutes looking for a quick score to rekindle their hopes, but in fact two goals within seven seconds for Pirates before the 44th minutes put paid to any faint hopes remaining, with Campbell completing his hat trick, then Guy netted his second.to take the score to seven. With Meechan looking solid in the visitors’ goal Pirates continued to press, with the diminutive Haydn Bain scoring with a low drive only three minutes later, and before the hallway point in the session Martyn Guy duly completed his own treble, and his side’s 9th. The teams continued to exchange penalties until with under four minutes left the visitors hit their hosts with another quickfire double in twelve seconds as Orr netted for his hat trick, the third treble of the night, before skipper Mark Hassan fired past the unsighted Blackwell for number eleven. Robertson did pull a late goal back for Storm but by this time it was certainly much too little, too late.

The two teams now meet in the second leg next Sunday at Braehead Arena (face off 6.00pm) and while Pirates clearly have a massive advantage, coach Ian Turley will be reminding everyone in the camp that the job is only half done.

Scorers: Orr (3+2), Campbell & Guy (both 3+0), Hassan (1+1), Bain (1+0), Miller, Jordan & Turley (all 0+2)

Man of the Match: David Orr

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PAISLEY PIRATES-UPDATE

paisley pirates

Following on from Paisley Pirates’ memorable League winning performance at Dundee last Saturday, beating the local Tigers 6-0 to clinch the SNL title for only the third time over a 24 year period, the club has continued to receive congratulatory messages not just from the local community, but from icons associated with the club since its inception in 1946.

paisley pirates

Secretary Jackie Turley explained, “We often receive queries about or from former players now staying abroad, particularly from Canada, usually looking for information about someone they played with, but this week, since we beat the Tigers, in amongst the hundreds of congratulatory messages we’ve received, two we’ve received via one of our volunteers have given us particular pleasure.”

“One was from Bill Brennan, who along with his brother Ally were absolute icons in Paisley when the sport, and the Pirates, were at their peak in the period just after the Second World War right through until the early 60’a. Bill sent us a message saying it was nice to see the Pirates still leading the field, which meant a lot, as Bill was without doubt a major player in the sport over a long period of time.”

“Similarly, in the last day or so, the same volunteer received a lovely message from Mike Bettens, Pirates’ captain for a number of seasons after the Pirates returned to the Lagoon in th 1992/93 season, saying how much the news of our League title had brought back so many memories of some great times playing for the club. Mike was the captain of the team in that year when they won the League title in their return to the sport after an absence of some 25 years, and is still remembered by an awful lot of ice hockey fans in this area.”

“We are always reminding people just how iconic a club this is, and we like to think that these messages, from two absolute giants of the sport in this area, illustrates that fact. Bill played for and coached the club more than 50 years ago but still follows them, while Mike Bettens was one of the team’s first major stars when the sport returned to Paisley nearly 25 years ago and clearly retains his love of the club. That’s something to be proud of, and we certainly are!”

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Paisley Pirates are the new SNL champions

paisley pirates

DUNDEE TIGERS   0             PAISLEY PIRATES   6

Paisley Pirates are the new SNL champions after overwhelming Dundee Tigers 6-0 in their final league game to win the title. While Aberdeen could equal Pirates’ points total if they were to win all of their remaining games, Pirates have a better head to head against the Lynx, and thus the title comes back to Paisley after a four-year break.

paisley pirates

In a very nervy opening period, neither team was able to create much in front of the net, Tigers finding Graeme Meechan and the rest of the defence equal to the task of keeping them out, while Pirates appeared to be fully aware of what was at stake and played at an unusual tempo, with passes going astray and the lines failing to show their usual fluency going forward, as a result of which several chances went a begging. Balfour in the home goal had a relatively straightforward opening period, and thus neither side were able to grab the vital opening counter after 20 minutes.

In the middle period, play continued along similar lines until the 26th minute when Tigers’ McLeod had to leave the ice after taking a puck to the face, and the stoppage while the ice was cleaned appeared to invigorate the visitors, as they were ahead within seconds, Hadyn Bain skating down the left wing and passing to Liam Riddell who wasted no time in firing home to give his team the vital opener. The release of tension in the visitors’ ranks was palpable and with half a minute the lead was doubled as Blair took a pass from Johnston and fairly rattled it into the roof of the net, much to the delight of the large travelling Pirates’ support. The free flowing movement which had been noticeably absent earlier in the game had by this time returned to Pirates’ play and while their momentum was temporarily slowed as Crute took a minor for Elbows at the halfway point, parity in numbers brought a third goal for them as Wilson fed Orr who put the puck beyond Balfour without hesitation. The visitors were rampant now and it was no surprise when, with just over a minute remaining in a fine session for the visitors, Orr returned the compliment by passing to Wilson who picked his spot to make it 4-0 at the second interval.

With the game now virtually out of sight Pirates were on the powerplay in 43 minutes and Wilson and Orr combined to give Jordan space to fire a bullet home and make it five. The visitors were in complete control and even when Blair took a triple minor in the 49th minute, giving the hosts a 6 minute powerplay, the latter were unable to take advantage, and, indeed, Pirates scored shorthanded in the 52nd minute as Connor Spiers rifled a shot home from the blue line for 6-0, his first goal for the club. When Hassan took a minor for tripping, Pirates played a full two minutes with 3 skaters against five, and while there were a few near misses they comfortably held out and, indeed, once back to full strength may have added to their total, but with the clock counting down, and the fans singing from the stands, it was time for the celebrations to begin.

Scorers: Wilson (1+3), Orr (1+2), Riddell, Blair, Jordan & Spiers (all 1+0), Bain, Johnston, Miller & Thorp (all 0+1)

Man of the Match: David Orr

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Paisley ranked in Europe’s top 42 hockey towns

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KILMARNOCK STORM 4 – PAISLEY PIRATES 11

paisley pirates

Pirates recorded another critical win, collecting the two points they wanted in the process, beating their Scottish Cup semi final opponents 11-4 in a match which the visitors had under control against hosts containing a number of former Pirates within their ranks.

paisley pirates

The visitors were flying from the start and were ahead in under a minute when Guy, playing in an unfamiliar right wing role, smashed in a shot which Blackwell was unable to stop for the opening goal. In spite of having the bulk of the play, however, they were unable to add their total until ten minutes later when Campbell was first to a rebound to prod the puck beyond the Storm to double the advantage. Pirates continued to push forward and scored a third powerplay marker with four minutes remaining, Jordan getting a clear view of the goal with the numerical advantage to fire home an unsaveable effort to make it 3-0 at the first interval.

Kilmarnock were on the powerplay within minutes of the restart but they were unable to take advantage and were caught on the break as Wilson went clear to pick his spot for number four while shorthanded. Within two minutes Pirates were out of sight as Miller netted for his first of a straight hat trick, netting his second and his team’s 6th two minutes later, before Kilmarnock gave themselves a glimmer as first Cowan on the powerplay, then Murdoch, pulled two goals back for the hosts. The Pirates hit man duly completed his treble from the restart to send his side into the second break comfortably 7-2 ahead.

With the destination of the league points no longer in doubt, the visitors came out for the final session and increased their advantage within three minutes as Johnston fired home. However, they appeared to take their foot off the gas a little as the home side enjoyed a period of pressure, with two former Pirates in the shape of Cowan netting his second, then Graeme Lester scoring with a trademark slapshot on the powerplay with nine minutes remaining, to give the score an air of respectability at 8-4. However, this double counter from the hosts had the effect of shaking Pirates out of their lethargy, as Johnston scored another shorthanded goal within seconds, then Campbell netted within a minute to bring up double figures. Crute made it eleven with three minutes left, but almost immediately was ejected on a match penalty. Pirates comfortably played out the remaining time without incident to record a welcome 11-4 victory, and now go to Dundee next Saturday for their most important game of the season so far, their final match in the current league campaign.

Scorers: Miller (3+1), Campbell (2+1), Johnston (2+0), Wilson (1+3), Guy, Jordan & Crute     (all 1+0), Thorp, Bain, McGlaughlan &Turley (all 0+1)

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Paisley Pirates match report

paisley pirates

PAISLEY PIRATES   6          ABERDEEN LYNX   2 (agg 9-4)

Pirates progressed comfortably to the semifinal of the Scottish Cup after dispatching Aberdeen 6-2 on the night, and will play Kilmarnock over two legs for the right to proceed to the Cup Final.

paisley pirates

The home side opened brightly and were ahead after five minutes as Wilson took a pass from Orr to fire high into the net, and give his side the early boost they were looking for. Within two minutes their advantage had been doubled, as Riddell was put through by Campbell and he, too, wasted no time in blasting past Chalmers to put his team two ahead on the night, and three ahead on aggregate, with less than eight minutes on the clock. The balance of the flow of play continued to be towards Chalmers, and before the halfway point in the period Pirates were 3-0 ahead as Campbell this time took a pass from Wilson to go round the Lynx goalie and net in comfort. Aberdeen wasted little time in retaliating within a minute and pulled a goal back as Pirates gave the puck away in their own defensive zone and paid heavily for it as Laing fed Leyden who beat Meechan to put a better look on the scoreline. Pirates continued to look the more likely to add to their lead, and when Lynx broke forward they found the Pirates goalie in excellent form, leaving the score at 3-1 Pirates on the night, 6-3 ahead on aggregate, as the period ended.

Pirates came out flying in the second session and effectively killed the tie within three minutes as first Campbell, then Riddell, both completed their doubles to take the score to five. The home side did concede a second in the 25th minute through Hogan, but while they had to sustain periods of pressure from the visitors, especially when they were under penalty, they appeared to be doing so with some ease, and with chances going begging at the other end, it was something of a surprise that the period finished with no further scoring, leaving Pirates 5-2 in front on the night and a comfortable four goals ahead over the two legs.

In the final session, Pirates appeared happy to absorb pressure from the visitors, while continuing to look dangerous when they did break forward. Once again Meechan and the defence were equal to the task, although they did ride their luck a little as Lynx did hit the metalwork on two separate occasions. However, with the clock running down, Pirates still had time to record a 6th goal as Chris Wilson took a pass from Crute to score a wraparound goal and thus become the third Pirate on the night to net a double, finishing the scoring with a very comfortable 9-4 look to it over the two legs.

Coach Ian Turley will be very pleased with his team’s showing after a few wobbles at home in recent matches, and the side now makes the short journey to Kilmarnock on Saturday aiming to go for another two crucial league points.

 

Scorers:          Campbell & Wilson (both 2+1), Riddell (2+0), Thorp (0+2), Orr, Jordan & Crute (all 0+1)

Penalties:        Wilson (4), Ross, Turley & Riddell (all 2)

Man of the Match: Graeme Meechan