EPL preview: Russell says Lightning won’t sit back

MK Lightning boss Pete Russell says his team won’t sit back as they bid to see off Peterborough Phantoms and claim the EPL Cup.

Phantoms’ 2-1 victory in last weekend’s first leg means Lightning must win in regulation time in Saturday’s reverse fixture and then secure victory either via overtime or penalty shots.

“There’s no plan A, B or anything like that – we just have to win,” Russell told the BBC. “There’ll be no sitting back, I can promise you that – it’ll be pretty gung-ho.

“Maybe we didn’t take all our chances last Sunday and we’re all disappointed with the outcome. But it’s only one leg gone – we have to make sure those new rules work in our favour, get the win then win again in overtime.

“We have a real chance to win on Saturday – the guys are desperate to do it for our supporters. We know Phantoms will bring a lot of people – so we just have to find a way to win and we are going to give it everything we can.”

Peterborough Head Coach Slava Koulikov has urged his team to forget about the possibility of overtime and go all-out to win in regulation.

This year’s revised cup rules means aggregate scores don’t count and Koulikov wants his team to finish the job in style this weekend.

“The guys well and truly deserved the result – we went down, but we fought for sixty minutes to turn the game round,” he told Peterborough Today.

“We out-worked, out-fought and out-shot the best team in the league on paper. We had guys putting their bodies on the line from start to finish and I must give huge credit to every single player.

“There were some big saves from our netminder, some really smart work from the ‘D’ guys and some great play from the forwards.

“We’ve produced some amazing performances last year and the year before, but last Sunday was certainly the biggest of this season.

“I think we deserved a few more goals, but we hit our target of winning the game and getting the two points.

“We have to remember we are only halfway through the job at most. We switched off from hockey for a couple of days to recharge our batteries physically and mentally – now we’re ready to go into the battle again.

“We have to play to the same level as a minimum in the second leg, if not more. MK now know what to expect and I’m sure they will try to raise their game.

“We’re playing to win. We are not thinking about overtime – that is a lifeline only.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Bracknell Bees v Hull Pirates
Guildford Flames v Sheffield Steeldogs
MK Lightning v Peterborough Phantoms (Cup)
Swindon Wildcats v Basingstoke Bison

Sunday

Basingstoke Bison v Swindon Wildcats
Hull Pirates v Sheffield Steeldogs
Peterborough Phantoms v Guildford Flames
Telford Tigers v MK Lightning

(Image permission: Tony Sargent)

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