Elite League weekend preview

Nottingham PanthersElite League title credentials will be severely tested over the next ten days as they face a run of five games on the road.

Panthers are in action at Belfast Giants on Friday and Saturday before facing a Scottish triple-header next weekend, and Head Coach Corey Neilson admits their training could be reduced for the next few weeks leading into the New Year.

“We’re pretty consistent. We go hard all the time but I give a lot of days off,” he said. “I’m a big believer in resting your body, so every time you get out there you’re fresh.

“You want players to want to learn and be excited about practice. We shorten things up as the season goes on and the guys are in great shape.

“They still have their workouts, but they get rest periods too.”

Giants are fifth in the table, five points behind Panthers having played the same number of games. Last weekend they slipped to a shock defeat at home to Manchester Storm, but Neilson is reading little into the result.

“There are some teams who are substantially better than others. I don’t think anyone would argue that,” he said. “Can lesser teams beat the top teams? Absolutely, so you’ve got to be sharp every night.

“Each arena, each set of referees brings a new set of challenges, so you always have to be smart and play your game.”

Edinburgh Capitals host Cardiff Devils on Friday hoping to bounce back from last week’s amazing 11-9 home defeat against Dundee Stars.

Capitals, who also travel to Braehead Clan on Sunday, blew a three-goal lead in the final period to hand the points to Stars and Player/Coach Riley Emmerson slammed the performance.

“That was embarrassing – I don’t care how many goals were scored,” said Emmerson. “We lost six goals in the final period and my job has been made more difficult as I try to prepare for the match against the Devils.

“When we had the lead, all we had to do was defend, especially at 8-5 up and I felt for Carsen Chubak, our goalie, who we hung out to dry and I include myself in that.

“It was pond hockey out there. There was no defence, just attack, attack, attack. I’m speechless. I’m just as much to blame as anyone else, I was out there for about five of the goals.”

Braehead face Cardiff on Saturday looking to build on last week’s home win against Fife Flyers.

Forward Brendan Brooks is hoping for another solid performance: “We’re at home – this is our home and we cannot let teams come in and take points from us.

“We have to be a tough team to play against here and we if come out like we did against Fife we’re going to get another good result.”

To hear more from Brooks’ interview with Clan TV please click the video above.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Belfast Giants v Nottingham Panthers
Edinburgh Capitals v Cardiff Devils

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)

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