Dundee Comets host Murrayfield Racers on Saturday aiming to take a big step towards retaining the Scottish National League title.
The Comets head into the game level on 19 points with Kirkcaldy Kestrels, with the Racers two points adrift of the top two.
Murrayfield recorded a superb 8-2 victory in the reverse fixture back in December and Comets’ forward Ross Johnston is eager to banish the memories of that performance on home ice.
“The game against the Racers is probably the biggest of the season – it really is a must win for us,” he said.
“The Racers are a good team with a lot of experience and talent, but we want to make up for a poor third period against them earlier in the season that cost us that game.
“It will be a tight game and a great advert for how Scottish ice hockey is improving.
“In terms of the title race, there’s a group of four teams all with a chance of winning the league this year and we really want to defend it.
“We’ll be taking things one game at a time starting against Murrayfield and it will most likely come down to the last weekend.”
Paisley Pirates visit Aberdeen Lynx on Saturday aiming to build some momentum for the end-of-season play-offs.
The Pirates are currently fourth in the table, just two points off top spot having played a game more than the Comets.
A defeat at home to Murrayfield at the end of January put a big dent in Paisley’s title hopes and netminder John Russell admitted that dropped points against their rivals has been their undoing this season.
“I’m looking forward to playing away at Aberdeen this weekend – they always have a good competitive team and are especially hard to beat on home ice along with the great support they get,” he said.
“With that alone it always feels like a big occasion up there and the reason you want to play at this level. We’ll be going into this game as underdogs, but it will be another good gauge for us to see where we stand come play-off time.
“As far as the title race goes, we’ve dropped too many points in the big games to realistically win it. I believe it’s a two-horse race between the Racers and Comets.
“It’s what I thought at the start of the season with the players the two teams have like John Dolan, Sam McCluskey, Callum Boyd and Martin Cingel with all their Elite League experience.
“As far as the Pirates go, we’ll just play and battle hard for the remainder of the season and hopefully with a bit of luck we can do well in the play-offs.”
Aberdeen Lynx v Paisley Pirates – SNL
Dundee Comets v Murrayfield Racers – SNL
North Ayrshire Wild v Kilmarnock Thunder – SNL
Murrayfield Racers v Kirkcaldy Kestrels – SNL
(Image permission: Derek Black)