Cardiff Devils’ Player/Coach Andrew Lord has backed his team to win their final three games and claim the Elite League title.
Devils face a difficult road game at Belfast Giants on Wednesday knowing two points would see them return to the top of the table with just two games to go.
Two weekend victories against the Giants – the second of which included Jake Morissette’s wonder goal (see above) – have left Lord believing his team has what it takes to pip Sheffield Steelers to the crown.
“We know Belfast will be gunning for us, but we’ll go there and try to get an advantage,” said Lord.
“There are bumps and bruises, of course, but if we weren’t banged up a little at this stage of the season we wouldn’t be in this position.
“We’re fully confident as a group. We have the character and guts to battle through to the end.”
Coventry Blaze Head Coach Chuck Weber is hoping for a strong finish to the regular season now his team have secured their place in the end-of-season play-offs.
Blaze travel to Nottingham Panthers on Wednesday looking to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat against the Steelers, but Weber says he was happy with his team’s performance in the final two periods.
“I was worried about our start with Sheffield having been battle-tested by Nottingham the night before and us not having played since last Wednesday,” he said.
“We got down 3-0 and we were chasing the game. We pulled it back to 4-3 before another penalty – it was 6-1 against – saw us lose momentum. But I thought our second and third periods were solid.
“I was not down after the game and I told the boys our hard work over the last month put us in a position to make the play-offs. Now we want to continue playing good hockey.
“We go into the arena in Nottingham striving to be back there in the Final Four and Wednesday is another chance in that building to get some more experience on that ice surface.
“They are a top quality team, they are a deep team and you have to be at your best to beat them. Special teams are going to be important and we must capitalise on our chances.
“It is important for us to go into the play-offs playing good hockey, to keep doing the little things right, to keep playing with structure and with enthusiasm. That is key for us.”
Having won the Challenge Cup against the Devils, the Panthers’ title hopes were ended on Saturday after a 4-2 home defeat at home to the Steelers.
Evan Mosey admitted losing to their biggest rivals was deflating, but he remained confident the team would return to form in time for the play-offs.
“I think everybody in the locker room is really dedicated to this team and the cause and will give 100% to that,” he said.
“It’s a really good rivalry between us and Coventry. Those games are always very, very hard to play in and very exciting so it will be a really good game.”
(Image permission: Adrian Rapps)