Elite League preview: Finnerty says Clan have turned the corner

Braehead Clan Head Coach Ryan Finnerty believes his team are starting to turn the corner after a difficult start to the season.

Clan secured their long-awaited first win of the campaign at Manchester Storm last Saturday, before being edged out by Belfast Giants in a Sunday shoot-out.

They host Dundee Stars in the Elite Challenge Cup on Friday ahead of Saturday’s league clash at Sheffield Steelers, and Finnerty is looking forward to the weekend.

“Marc (LeFebvre) has built a good team there and they’ve got off to a good start – but we feel we’re starting to turn the corner here,” said Finnerty.

“They’ve had some good results, playing well and move fast so we have to make sure we’re ready to go against them.

“Any time you get a win, you get a sense of relief and the guys stop squeezing the stick as much and enjoy playing the game.

“But we need to start winning in front of our fans and give them that self belief back because I think we lost it.

“There’s a lot of new faces and it’s probably taken more time to come together than I anticipated, but at the same time, we have a good group – it’s getting everybody on the same page.

“It’s difficult when you’re on a slide and there’s a ton of negativity around the team and rightly so. But the team’s more upbeat, however we’re nowhere near where we want to be.

“Every team goes through that sort of form at some stage in the season and hopefully that was ours, but we’re starting to climb the ladder.”

Nottingham Panthers host Manchester Storm in the league on Saturday, before travelling to face Cardiff Devils in the cup the following day.

New signing Brian McGrattan made his eagerly awaited debut last weekend and says he hasn’t come to Britain for an easy ride.

“I don’t coast – if I was going to coast I just wouldn’t come here,” he told the Nottingham Post.

“It’s not in me to do that. When I’ve been sent down in the NHL I’ve never coasted. I’m committed to coming here to play and I’ll do that to the best of my ability.

“I play because I love the game. I’m coming to a top organisation – it’s a team that has a winning culture and I want to provide what I can for the team to win.

“I think we have a chance to do really well. I’m getting used to all the cups and leagues and I want to win them all.

“The guys have been really welcoming. When you have a good group you tend to find a winning team.”

Fife Flyers face Coventry Blaze in the league on Saturday followed by Sunday’s cup clash at Edinburgh Capitals aiming to halt a run of four consecutive defeats.

Defender Philippe Paquet returned to the team last weekend after recovering from injury, but he believes the Flyers are still searching for their identity having had a big turnover of players during the summer.

“We’re still unsure of ourselves in certain parts of the game,” he told Fife Today.

“I think it’s going to come – all of the guys in there are leaders, and have played many years professionally.

“Once we find that team identity and we’re all pulling together in the same direction then it’s a good squad that we have.

“All we have to do with the forwards we have this year is give them the puck.

“We maybe have to work on the defensive zone, and on working defensively with the forwards, but I think our group this year is a step up from last year.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Braehead Clan v Dundee Stars (Cup)

Saturday

Belfast Giants v Cardiff Devils
Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals (Cup)
Fife Flyers v Coventry Blaze
Nottingham Panthers v Manchester Storm
Sheffield Steelers v Braehead Clan

Sunday

Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers (Cup)
Coventry Blaze v Dundee Stars
Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers (Cup)
Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers (Cup)

(Image permission: Carol Ann Jardine)

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