Cardiff Devils coach Andrew Lord admits he’s enjoyed the title challenge from Belfast Giants ahead of the weekend double header.
The current champions head to Northern Ireland with a chance of ending the weekend as much as seven points clear, if results go their way.
And he was diplomatic about revealing how pleased he was when he heard the Giants had stumbled in Glasgow on Sunday.
“Having Belfast running us close, I think we’ve actually enjoyed the challenge,” he said. “This rivalry’s been going for a while now and it’s got more neck and neck.
“They’re a great organisation that’s well coached, they have a lot of pride in their camp and some veteran players, like us. We’re both well matched and it makes for an exciting cople of games.
“It’s really going to come down to the wire and it’s where you want to be in being involved in the big tests. It’s always tough when you’re battling and we’re fortunate to be where we are.
“To be honest, I don’t know how delighted I was when I heard Belfast had lost 5-0 in Glasgow on Sunday, but it certainly doesn’t hurt from our point of view.
“I certainly won’t complain, but it’s been a see-saw battle and the ups and downs have been incredible.”
Devils have lost in their only visit to Belfast so far this season and are three points ahead as they look to make it three title wins in a row, something yet to be done in Elite League history.
And Lord revealed how he and his players will deal with the two games, with experience playing a big part if they are to get the points they need.
🗳WHO WILL WIN THE ELITE LEAGUE? 🗳
It's a big week in the race for the Elite League title as @BelfastGiants take on @cardiffdevils in an exciting double header. But going into the last month, who you think will take the crown? Vote now
Please RT and share this poll
— British Ice Hockey 🏒 (@BritIceHockey) February 18, 2019
He added: “We’ve done well in learning how to deal with one game at a time and doing away with scoreboard watching has certainly helped.
“It’s all about keeping focussed on the task in hand and we’ll certainly look to do that again in the two games coming up.
“It’s about covering all bases and making sure our game in finely tuned in all departments. I like our team and our balance and we’re confident and we’ll focus on the process.
“It’s a big one for sure. You’re talking about two big teams going at it and I think it’ll be a good showcase for the league.
“I’m looking forward to it and I know the guys are as well. We’re right where we want to be – right in contention and it’s going to be a massive one.”