Fife Falcons are heading to iceSheffield to defend their British title after securing their fifth Scottish U20 League title in a row over the weekend.
The Falcons’ 3-2 road victory over Solway Sharks was enough to claim top spot and book a place in the Ice Hockey UK Final against English champions Coventry Blaze.
Coach Steven Lynch said: “Winning the Scottish under 20 league for the fifth season in a row is a great achievement for the club.
“The Falcons lost a large number of last season’s British Championship winning team through age eligibility, players moving on to other clubs, players moving up to the Elite League team or by leaving the game altogether.
“After losing our first game of the season we had concerns as to whether we could compete at the level we did last year, but the team have battled, dug deep and performed better with each game.
“We produced what I felt was our best performance of the season in Solway against a good team, which is gratifying for a coach and makes the league title a little bit sweeter.
“Now we look forward to the opportunity to have a go at retaining our British title in Sheffield in May. The players take great pride in being the reigning British Champions and will not relinquish that title without a fight.”
Fife’s meeting with Coventry will be the first time the IHUK U20 Final has been part of the English Ice Hockey Association’s National Finals Weekend.
The event features the best teams from across England at U11, U13, U15 and U18 levels. Sides have secured their place at Sheffield from the top divisions of each junior league in the north and south.
Fife coach Scott Plews admitted he is delighted to have the opportunity to defend the British title in Sheffield.
“Winning the U20 league for the fifth year in a row was a great feeling, especially being involved with it from the very start,” said Plews.
“I lost the first British championship in overtime to Sheffield, then won it last year versus Coventry. The only reason I continued coaching this year was to retain the trophies we won, especially the British Championship.
“Coventry are a very good side and look to have kept a good nucleus from last year’s runners-up side. I know Sean (Alderson) will have learned from last year, as I did in my first year. He will want revenge this year for sure.
“He knows we have a less talented squad than last year, but I can honestly say that myself and Steven will have the most well-drilled, confident, positive and hardest working team in the country come May.
“Win or lose it will be a good showcase of young talent that we should all be proud to be part of.”
(Image permission: Andy Lee)