North Ayrshire Wild go head-to-head with Murrayfield Racers this weekend in the first-ever final of the Stuart Robertson Cup.
Wild will host the first leg on Saturday, with Murrayfield staging the reverse fixture the following day.
North Ayrshire finished top of the western group ahead of Paisley Pirates on goal difference in the opening stage of the competition.
They have met the Racers four times in league and cup matches this season and are yet to record a victory, but club chairman Scott Campbell believes the team are capable of upsetting the odds.
“We go into this game as underdogs and are happy to be in that position,” he said. “North Ayrshire Wild are a small-town team populated almost exclusively with local players.
“We have no imports and have a load of guys who have been with the club since they were 10 or 11-years-old.
“We are looking forward to playing the league champions again – as our local rivals the Pirates have shown very recently, they are not invincible.
“We are good in our own rink, as the smaller dimensions suit our style of play, so we hope to be able to spring a surprise on them to take to the second leg in Murrayfield on Sunday.
“We know who their danger players are, and if we can stay five-on-five, and keep our discipline, anything can happen. Our boys are all really fired up for this and desperate for the puck to drop.”
The Racers qualified for the final after finishing top of the eastern section, one point ahead of Dundee Comets.
The Edinburgh-based side are chasing their second trophy of the season having already clinched the Scottish National League title in their first season back on the ice.
They head into the weekend as favourites to lift the cup, but club chairman Willie Dunn insists the Racers will not be taking their opponents lightly.
“We are really looking forward to the weekend – the format for this new cup has worked well, although the long wait for the final has been frustrating.
“North Ayrshire have done very well to get to the final and we know we are in for a very tough weekend. To win the cup we will have to be at our best as we know they will work very hard.
“We’re looking forward to a large crowd at Murrayfield on Sunday and hope they can cheer us on to victory. Stuart Robertson was a stalwart of the Scottish hockey scene for many years and at one point owned the Edinburgh Racers.
“I think it is fitting that the cup will be presented at Murrayfield for the first time and I hope it will have our name on it, but as we all know ice hockey doesn’t always work like that.”
North Ayrshire Wild v Murrayfield Racers – SRC
Murrayfield Racers v North Ayrshire Wild -SRC
(Image permission: Ian Coyle)