Braehead Clan basked in the glow of winning their second consecutive Gardiner Conference title following Sunday’s 6-3 win over Edinburgh Capitals.
The victory meant Clan snatched the crown from under Fife Flyers’ noses as the fans, who travelled to Murrayfield in their droves, were able to celebrate the feat.
Head coach Ryan Finnerty, goalie Chris Holt and captain Matt Keith were pleased as the club got over the line after picking up their seventh straight victory.
Finnerty admits the second game in Edinburgh was a real test for his team, but says his belief in his group never wavered.
He said: “It was a lot tougher than it was expected to be and Edinburgh deserve a huge amount of credit for that.
“We’ve had that seventh game attitude for a while now and the pressure was no different here than it was a couple of weeks ago. If we lost a game, we lost the Conference.
“For us, it was to go and find a way and we did. I’ve always believed in this group and we finally delivered the Conference.
“In a way, I’m glad it’s over and now the real fight begins in the play-off with Fife Flyers our opponents in the quarter-final.”
Netminder Holt was named as Clan’s man of the match in the victory and insisted that winning the Conference was a huge achievement for the club.
He said: “It’s a big deal to win the Conference. I don’t care what anybody says – it’s not easy to win your Conference, especially in a competitive league that got more difficult as games went on.
“It’s taken seven wins in a row to get it and there’s a lot to be proud of in the locker room.
“While February didn’t go as planned, we knew once we had everybody back, we’d be in good shape to finish well and we did.
“But the game was a little too close for a long time. Edinburgh gave us one of the toughest games we’ve had against them and their goalie had a hell of a game.”
Keith says he was blown away by the travelling support that made their way along the M8 and paid tribute to them for their huge contribution to the team’s success.
He said: “It’s incredible to see how many fans came to the game and it goes to show how much they care week after week. They’re loud and involved and no doubt, they gave us a huge boost.
“They’ve taken the effort to drive here to support us and it’s definitely something that put us over the top in retaining the Conference title.
“We won it last year and we wanted to keep it. After the ups and downs of this season, it meant a lot and I know it means the same to the fans.
“Now we face Fife in the play-offs and they’re a very good, well coached team with great fans, like ours and it’s always a heated game playing against them. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
(Image permission: Carol Ann Jardine)