Tigers forward Matty Davies has lit the blue touch paper on a “do or die” play-off clash with Peterborough Phantoms at Telford Ice Rink tonight.
The EPL champions, who lost to Guildford on Wednesday, must beat the Phantoms to keep control of their own destiny in the fight for a top-two group spot.
The winner of each four-team group – and runner-up – will progress to the play-off finals tournament in Coventry next month.
Top scorer Davies, who was instrumental in Telford’s title win this season, believes the Tigers have learned key lessons from that opening midweek defeat.
He said: “It is do or die now and Saturday is a massive, must-win game for us. Everyone in the changing room knows that.
“Anyone who has watched us this season knows we won’t give up. We’ve been very resilient this year and when we’ve been down, we’ve found a way to come back.
“Wednesday was one of those games when we just didn’t do that, but on Saturday we’ll come out with a really fast start and put it on Peterborough.”
Tonight’s opponents have emerged as favourites for a place at the finals, following their 12-0 drubbing of Sheffield Steeldogs on Wednesday evening.
Davies added: “Peterborough will come at us in the same way that Guildford did, but probably more so. They have the best netminder in the league and it will be a tough night.
“But we have played well against them at home all season and we need to have more confidence in ourselves.
“We were gripping the stick too tightly on Wednesday and getting a bit frustrated, myself included, and losing energy because of that.
“We need to play the way we play and no matter what Peterborough do, we need to counteract that with what we do well.”
A key part of Wednesday’s defeat was a Guildford goal in the first period, which saw Telford remain on the back foot for much of the game.
“We need to come out way faster than we did in the last game,” Davies said.
“Peterborough will probably clog it up and they’ve got a good goalie, but we just need to come out harder and do what we do well.
“We’ll show that on Saturday.”
Tonight’s game against Peterborough Phantoms, at Telford Ice Rink, starts at 5.30pm. For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.