Elite League preview: ‘Season’s not over’ says Emmerson

Edinburgh Capitals’ Player/Coach Riley Emmerson says his team still have plenty to play for despite losing star forward Ryan Hayes to Sheffield Steelers.

After scoring 25 goals with 28 assists in 41 games for the Capitals, Hayes has joined the Yorkshire club’s Elite League title challenge, but Emmerson still has confidence in the rest of his roster ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Manchester Storm.

“This is something I’ve never seen before, but it’s a business decision,” he said. “Sheffield are really pushing to win things and they’ve just got the leading scorer in the league and I wish Ryan all the best.

“I want to say to our fans our season’s not over. We still have a great group of players here and we’re only four points out of a play-off spot.

“It would be kind of funny if we rallied, made the play-offs and knocked out Sheffield – we have beaten them three out of four games this year.”

Steelers host Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, before travelling to Cardiff Devils the following day and forward Jonathan Phillips is happy to welcome Hayes on board.

He commented: “It was a bit of a shock when I heard about us signing Ryan. If you’re going to bring somebody in at this stage, then it’s good we can bring in someone like Ryan with his kind of skillset and obvious talent.

“In the games we’ve played against Edinburgh this season, he’s often had a big impact on the game and he’s a very dangerous player offensively.”

Phillips said Hayes addition to the squad couldn’t have come at a better time, with Steelers facing games against two of their title rivals.

“We seem to be saying it most weeks lately but this is another massive weekend coming up,” added Phillips.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves by thinking about Cardiff until we’ve got Nottingham out of the way first on Saturday – believe me, that game will be difficult enough.

“Going down to Cardiff’s building has never been easy and now, given the great team they currently have, it’s even tougher to get a result there. Any time you can get both points there is always a big bonus.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Braehead Clan v Manchester Storm
Nottingham Panthers v Belfast Giants

Saturday

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

Sunday

Cardiff Devils v Sheffield Steelers
Coventry Blaze v Dundee Stars
Manchester Storm v Fife Flyers

(Image permission: Dean Woolley)

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