Paisley Pirates’ boss Ian Turley admits his players were feeling the pressure before going on to secure their first SNL title in four years on Saturday.
The Pirates were unable to find a way past some stern Dundee Tigers resistance in the first period, but Liam Riddell’s goal early in the second session settled their nerves.
Turley’s team never looked in danger afterwards and they went on to record a well-deserved 6-0 victory to secure the championship.
“In the first period it was evident that some of the players were suffering from nerves, so when they came in at the first break at 0-0 we had a bit of a heart-to-heart,” said Turley.
“We changed a couple of things and I felt from there on in we always had the game under control and we won well in the end.
“We’ve been inundated by messages of congratulations not just from fans of the club and those closely associated with it, but also by other clubs and players, which is really nice.
“We’ve also been getting so many messages from people in the local area and it brings home to you what the Pirates mean to the local community, not just from those who maybe don’t get to many games, but who regard us as ‘their’ team.
“Everybody embraces what the club is all about, and I suppose at times like these it comes home to you that the Pirates aren’t purely an amateur ice hockey team, they really are part of the fabric of the area.
“Winning the league is always the big one for me – not that we regard any of the other competitions as any less worthy of winning.
“When you win the league you have been the most consistent winners across a whole season, and not just maybe a few games.
“The boys will enjoy the fruits of their success over the next couple of days, but then it’s back to the serious business again, as we have an away tie at Kilmarnock Storm in the first leg of our Scottish Cup semi-final on Saturday.
“We’re already being asked about the play-off finals and how we feel about them. We still have to win a qualifying round to even get there, so it’ll be the ‘one game at a time’ approach.
“We’ve never won that competition so that will of course be our target, just as it will be for the other seven teams taking part in it.
“There’s a lot of very good ones in there, all of them looking to beat the league champions.
“This league win is my own personal favourite though. While we won the title four years ago I feel the standard of competition has risen every year, so it’s especially pleasing to win a very tight league with little more than a point or two separating the top teams.
“There remains a whole lot to play for this season though, so it’s back to work come training and hopefully we can continue to bring pride to everyone who feels part of this club.”
(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)