North Ayrshire Wild player/coach Scott Cowan is pleased with the progress made by his team, but he believes they can improve even more as the season progresses.
Wild booked their place in the final of the Stuart Robertson Cup during the first half of the campaign, finishing above Paisley Pirates in the western group. They are currently sixth in the SNL and Cowan insists they are capable of climbing even higher in 2019.
“Wild are currently having a better season than last campaign, and for a new group of players brought together this season we are still continuing to develop,” he said.
“We have shown in spells against bigger teams that we can compete against them, but just not consistently and for sixty minutes.
“Results have been mixed, partly due to the team not adapting to the new rules and losing discipline and composure against the tougher opponents such as Dundee Comets and Murrayfield Racers.
“When the team does turns up to play hockey, they can do so with some style, so working on systems, discipline and playing for the full sixty minutes with more consistency will be our focus for the second half of the season.”
North Ayrshire return to the ice this weekend with a home game in the league against Kirkcaldy Kestrels. The visitors are currently three places ahead of Wild in the standings and Cowan has challenged his players to kick-off the New Year by showing they can force their way into the top half of the table.
“Realistically we are aiming for fourth in the league,” he added. “This weekend we start the second half of the season with a tough test against Kirkcaldy.
“They are a team we beat during pre-season, but they are well coached and having played all the way through the break will no doubt be the sharper team.
“We will certainly be looking to start the New Year with a solid performance and build on it going forward this year.
“Hopefully we can build some momentum for the final against Murrayfield later in the season. The guys are really excited about it and anything can happen over the two games.”
Aberdeen Lynx v Kilmarnock Thunder – SC
Blackburn Hawks v Murrayfield Racers – NIHL Cup
North Ayrshire Wild v Kirkcaldy Kestrels – SNL
Dundee Comets v Solway Stingrays – SNL
Murrayfield Racers v Paisley Pirates – SNL
(Image permission: Stuart Gardiner)