SNL preview: Paisley Pirates raring to go against North Ayrshire Wild

Paisley Pirates hit the ice for the first time in a month this weekend as they host North Ayrshire Wild in the Stuart Robertson Cup.

The Pirates played two away games in the competition during September, winning at Kilmarnock Thunder and Solway Stingrays.

Wild have a 100% record after four matches, meaning either they or the Pirates will finish top of the western group.

The two sides play the reverse fixture at North Ayrshire next weekend and Paisley netminder John Russell is looking forward to the challenge.

“The boys are very excited to return to home ice for the first time this season,” he said.

“We’ve had a long summer and haven’t had much ice apart from our training camp this week now that the Braehead ice is back.

“We have been working out together in the gym to keep fit and we are ready for tough opponents this Sunday.

“North Ayrshire are a good side and have signed up a much-changed squad for this season. I fully expect them to be a top of the table team.

“The boys though will just try go out, play to our game plan that our coaches draw up, play hard and the result will take care of itself.

“We are all just happy to finally get going again.”

Murrayfield Racers face a huge test on Sunday as they head south to play Sheffield Steeldogs in the NIHL North Cup.

The Racers have lost their first two games in the competition and meet a Sheffield side who were crowned Moralee D1 champions last season.

Head coach Tony Hand admitted that the Racers face an uphill task this weekend.

“The NIHL North Cup is a probably little bit of a step too far for us this year,” he said. “We know we’ve got improve and we’re up against teams who are a bit more developed than we are.

“It’s an experience that will make us a better club and give our fans the chance to see some really good hockey.

“We know it’s going to be tough – we’re not under any illusions about that, as Sheffield are a very strong team.

“But we’ll go in there, do our best and see what happens.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Dundee Comets v North Ayrshire Wild – SNL

Sunday

Kirkcaldy Kestrels v Dundee Tigers – SRC East
Paisley Pirates v North Ayrshire Wild – SRC West
Sheffield Steeldogs v Murrayfield Racers – NIHL Cup
Solway Stingrays v Dundee Comets – SNL

(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)