Braehead Clan put their Elite League title bid on the backburner as they head to Nottingham to take on the Panthers in the first leg of their Challenge Cup quarter-final at the National Ice Centre tonight.
Clan go into the game in excellent form, winning seven of their last eight games, but forward Thomas Nesbitt (above) thinks it won’t be too much of a factor going into the crunch tie.
He said: “The Challenge Cup is just as big as any trophy and this is one we’ve set out as a goal to win. It doesn’t matter who we’re facing, we want to win it.
“Nottingham are a really good team and will provide a big test for us, but we’re a confident group going into it.
“I don’t know if our current run affects us too much going to Nottingham, because we haven’t seen them in a bit, but being high in confidence can never be a bad thing.
“I’m not sure if playing the second leg at home suits us. I think we’ve been a decent team either in our own rink or on the road for stretches, so we’re comfortable in either instance.
“We won the Aladdin Cup down there back the start of the season, but I know that’s not considered as important a trophy as the Challenge Cup.
“We’ve always felt we could do this, but it’s only recently where we’ve started to prove it can be done and the results are reflecting that.”
Sheffield Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson has warned his side against complacency ahead of their second leg clash against Fife Flyers.
Steelers lead 4-2 after last week’s first leg in Kirkcaldy, but Thompson is taking nothing for granted.
“I have far too much respect for the Fife Flyers to think this series is over,” he said. “We might have a two-goal advantage, but we’ll approach this second leg as if it’s a brand new game – you can’t protect a lead for 60 minutes.
“Fife are a skilled hockey club and they have proud coaches and players – they will be coming down here preparing for a real battle and we will do likewise.”
The remaining Wednesday match-up sees Manchester Storm host Belfast Giants in their first-leg game in Altrincham.
(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)