Dundee Comets go head-to-head with Aberdeen Lynx this weekend aiming to kick-off the defence of their Scottish National League play-off title in style.
The Comets visit Aberdeen in the first leg of their quarter-final on Saturday, before returning to home ice the following day for the reverse fixture.
The two sides have met four times in league and cup competitions this season, with the Comets winning all four games.
The 2017/18 treble-winners ended the current league campaign in fourth place and player/coach John Dolan is eager to see his side bounce back in the play-offs.
“Our league finish was not where we planned it to be – it was very disappointing not to be able to retain the title,” he said.
“We had injuries to defenders at key times when playing some of the top teams which didn’t help us.
“We’re now looking forward to play-offs. We’ve played well against Aberdeen this year but they will be tough opponents, especially up there with their home support.
“However, we’re confident we will get the win to progress to the Final Four Weekend.”
Aberdeen head into this weekend’s games confident that they can overcome their higher-ranked opponents.
The two sides, who will also meet in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup over the next few weeks, faced each other in the league a couple of weeks ago.
The Comets ran out 7-1 winners on home ice, but Lynx boss Owen Reynolds believes his team are capable of causing an upset this weekend.
“Some might argue that it’s given the Comets an advantage ahead of our play-off and Scottish Cup games against them, but from our point of view it’s given us a fresh look at how they play and where they’re most dangerous,” he told Aberdeen Evening Express.
“We also marginally out-shot them so we know we’ll have scoring opportunities, but tightening up defensively will be the priority.
“With progression at stake, I doubt motivation will be too much of an issue. I don’t think we’ll mind carrying the underdog tag into these games, as the Comets possess one of the most impressive and deepest squads in the league.
“But it’s knock-out hockey now where anything can happen, so I’m sure we’ll be up to the challenge.”
Aberdeen Lynx v Dundee Comets – Play-off QF
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Dundee Comets v Aberdeen Lynx – Play-off QF
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(Image permission: Derek Black)