The SNL Cup takes centre stage on Sunday, with Aberdeen Lynx taking on Paisley Pirates for a place in the final.
The teams fought out two close games during the regular season – Lynx winning 5-4 on home ice while Pirates took the reverse fixture 6-4.
Lynx have struggled for consistency this term, but victories in their final three league games has raised hopes they can beat the Pirates.
Head Coach Barry Carnegie said: “The season has followed a typical Lynx roller-coaster pattern and we find ourselves coming off the back of three big wins to have a crack at a Scottish Cup semi-final.
“Sunday’s game will be vastly different from the last two games we’ve seen here at home. Paisley are a well-drilled, hard-working team and coach Ian Turley will have his guys up and ready for the battle.
“That being said, our destiny is in our own hands. We have the team ready and prepared for the challenge of getting our team to their first national cup final.
“With the Lynx faithful roaring us on I know we can perform on this stage and give ourselves the best chance possible of progressing.”
Pirates head into the game on the back of a 6-5 victory at home to Dundee Tigers to claim second place in the league, but it was their failure to perform consistently on the road that ultimately cost them the title.
Turley is expecting a tough game: “Yes, it’s another hard one for us but we’ve really not had it any other way this year in the competition,” he said.
“We won at North Ayrshire Wild and Kirkcaldy Kestrels to reach this stage and now we face another difficult tie against the Lynx, who beat us on home ice in our league match.
“It’s a one-off game, so we have to try and do it the hard way in front of a probable capacity crowd cheering on their own team.
“We showed loads of determination and grit to come back from two goals down against Tigers last weekend, and we have to do exactly the same this Sunday if we hope to progress to the final, hopefully without the two-goal start we gave to the Tigers.
“We’ve certainly not had any favours from this competition this year, and if we do get through I don’t think anyone can possibly say we haven’t earned it.
“We’ll have to leave very early on the Sunday morning to get to Aberdeen in ample time to prepare for the match, so we feel a bit hard done by in terms of how everything has panned out this year in the cup.
“I’m just working on the principle that we seem to function best in times of adversity, so we’ll definitely be going for it when we hit the ice on Sunday.”
(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)