Solway Sharks SNL face a weekend double-header on home ice aiming to boost their prospects of qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs.
Having made a strong start to the campaign, Sharks have struggled to ice a full-strength side. They now sit eighth in the table, just a point ahead of Saturday’s opponents Moray Typhoons.
Player/Coach Jamie Kerr remains confident his team can finish the season strongly.
“Some of our key experienced guys have missed a lot of games over the last two months and along with some of our top prospects making the step to our senior NIHL team, we have lost some major quality,” said Kerr.
“Despite this, when what we have left are all available we’re still able to compete with anyone. Our recent inconsistent results highlight this.
“When our remaining key guys are available we grind out positive performances and points – when we’re down to the bones we’ve struggled.
“This weekend we have two home games and I’m hopeful we can piece together at least two quality lines to ask some major questions of both Moray on Saturday and Paisley on Sunday evening.
“With Moray beating Paisley last week, any breathing space we had in the play-off race has gone.
“We travelled there a few weeks ago and I was very impressed how far that team has come in recent seasons, so we know on Saturday we must be ready to go for 60 minutes.
“I have massive respect for Paisley and they’ve been flying up until last weekend. They will have a hunger to get rolling again and they’ll be well prepared for us.
“We generally give them problems but like Saturday night, the boys will need to be mentally and physically ready to go hard to give ourselves a chance of taking anything away from them.”
Last week’s defeat for Paisley ended a run of seven straight victories which had catapulted them into the title race. Pirates’ boss Ian Turley says he’s looking for an immediate response from his team.
“To say I was disappointed with the result on Saturday is certainly an understatement,” he said.
“Sure, we were a couple of guys short for various reasons, but we knew what to expect going there.
“I certainly struggled to understand some of the calls and maybe we let frustration get to us in that respect, but we learned the hard way that it does you no good at all.
“Other teams have gone there and have overcome the same challenges we had at the weekend, so we have to do the same, and keep doing it.”
“We won’t get any favours on Sunday at Dumfries either. We only beat them 4-3 with two late goals at Braehead back in October, so they clearly know how to cause us problems.
“I still have every faith in the group of players that we have here, but maybe a few players are not yet playing to their full potential. When I know the entire squad is playing to that level I will be completely satisfied.”
Aberdeen Lynx v North Ayrshire Wild
Dundee Comets v Edinburgh Capitals SNL
Kilmarnock Storm v Dundee Tigers
Solway Sharks SNL v Moray Typhoons
Solway Sharks SNL v Paisley Pirates