Peterborough Petes’ Liam Kirk wants to see his team get an early marker over their play-off opponents Oshawa Generals.
The regular season has ended in the OHL with the puck set to drop on the post season this weekend, with Petes preparing for a series against their biggest rivals.
But Kirk isn’t reading too much into the recent record between the two teams, with Generals winning five of the last six meetings.
“Our record against the Generals isn’t good, but play-off hockey is so much different,” Kirk said. “Maybe not so much how we play, but the intensity levels are higher so it’s important we give ourselves the best possible chance to win.
“Oshawa have the home ice advantage so it’s important for us to go there and try and knock their confidence, but boost ours at the same time.
“It’s been a long season this year, playing 68 games, but we’ve had a big play-off push and we know who we’re playing.
“The Generals and us is a big rivalry in the OHL so we’re looking forward to getting things going and hopefully picking up four wins as soon as we can.
“We finished strongly and it was important for us to get as much momentum as possible. We were still pushing and we had to keep winning and battling hard and that’s stood us up well.”
Generals finished third in the Eastern Conference and while the Petes can boast a record of seven wins from their last 10, Oshawa are 6-1 from their last seven going into the series.
One familiar name to Elite League fans and Glasgow Clan fans in particular is Nathan McIver, who played in Scotland during the 2015-16 season and is now an assistant coach at the Generals.
But as GB’s NHL hopeful Kirk prepares for this first North American play-off series, he admits he’s adjusted to life well with the Petes with 26 goals and 21 assists to his name, including netting his first hat-trick against North Bay Battalion recently.
He added: “Possibly playing in a seven-game series for me is different so you just have to stay focussed, whether you go up three or down three, keeping the concentrating levels is important.
“The more I’ve played, the more I’ve adjusted to life in the OHL and the North American style of hockey and I’ve become a lot more comfortable with it as the season’s gone on.
“Adapting to it took a little time after I first arrived, but I’m enjoying it a lot and I’ve had a great time this season.
“I didn’t make any plans or goals when I first came here. It was all about adjusting and helping to contribute to the team with any possible success.
“But it was nice to get the hat-trick against North Bay a couple of weeks ago, but they all came from good plays and passes from my team-mates. I was just pleased to be in the right place at the right time.”
PETERBOROUGH PETES’ PLAY-OFF SCHEDULE (UK TIMES):
Game 1, Fri., March 22 at Oshawa – 11.35pm
Game 2, Sun., March 24 at Oshawa – 10.05pm
Game 3, Tues., March 26 at Peterborough – 11.05pm
Game 4, Thurs., March 28 at Peterborough – 11.05pm
*Game 5, Sat., March 30 at Oshawa – 11.05pm
*Game 6, Sun., March 31 at Peterborough – 11.05pm
*Game 7, Tues., April 2 at Oshawa – 11.05pm