Four of Scottish Ice Hockey’s top clubs head to Fife Ice Arena this weekend for what promises to be an exciting SNL Play-off Finals event.
Dundee Comets face-off against Aberdeen Lynx in Saturday’s first semi-final aiming to keep up their pursuit of the treble. The Comets need to win their final league match against Paisley Pirates to claim the SNL title and they are also through to the Scottish Cup Final against the same opponents on 21st April.
The Comets comfortably defeated Dundee Tigers to reach the semi-finals and assistant coach Rab Brown is eager to win the play-off title for the second season in a row.
“We are looking forward to a great weekend of hockey played in true play-off style,” he said. “Our guys are only too aware of the expectations of them and will be doing everything in their power to keep the title in Dundee.
“The team are also aware that if 100 percent is not given the aims of the team will not be met, as all four teams are more than capable of winning. Come Sunday evening one team will be happy and we intend to make sure it’s the Comets.”
Aberdeen progressed to the last four after beating Edinburgh Capitals SNL 9-6 on aggregate last weekend. Lynx lost twice against the Comets during the regular season, but head coach Owen Reynolds believes his side are capable of reaching the final.
“After what’s been a frustrating season there was there definitely a sense of relief at making the play-offs,” said Reynolds. “We had the toughest of the quarter-final draws and realistically either ourselves or the Caps could have progressed.
“We now need to make the most of the opportunity despite being firm underdogs. The Comets are loaded with talent and will be fancying their chances of not just making the final, but being crowned champions, so we know we’ll be up against it.
“From our own point of view we need to make sure we turn up to compete and not just make up the numbers. We know how good we can be on our day, but we’ll have to be organised and focused in what I’m sure will be an intense sixty minutes of hockey.”
Kirkcaldy Kestrels meet Paisley Pirates in the second semi-final aiming to put last season’s play-off disappointment firmly behind them.
The Kestrels lost 3-2 against Paisley after a shoot-out in the semi-finals, but head coach Steven Wishart believes his team can claim the trophy this year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team – they’ve faced a lot of adversity this year and yet are still in the mix at the business end of the season,” he said.
“We head into the Play-off Weekend with league games still outstanding and final seedings still not decided. As disappointing as that is, we’re here in the Final Four Weekend and we’re determined to go out and give our best. The guys have worked hard to be in with a shout of silverware and will give it their all.
“This SNL play-off weekend promises to be packed full of excitement as all four teams are more than capable of lifting the trophy. I hope as many fans turn out to support all the teams competing and I look forward to an exciting weekend of play-off hockey.”
Paisley eventually lost out last year to the Comets in the finals of both the play-offs and Scottish Cup, but they will head into this weekend still in with a chance of winning the treble this season.
Coach Adam Walker guided the Comets to success last year and he’s hoping to repeat the trick with Paisley this time around.
“We’re all looking forward to the weekend ahead,” said Walker. “We have been through a lot of adversity all season and this weekend will be no different.
“Every team is capable of winning so we will need to be at our best both nights if we are to come away as champions. We are ready for it!
Dundee Comets v Aberdeen Lynx (Play-offs)
Kirkcaldy Kestrels v Paisley Pirates (Play-offs)
Dundee Comets/Aberdeen Lynx v Kirkcaldy Kestrels/Paisley Pirates (Play-offs)
(Image permission: Ferguson Photography)