Quick start is the aim against Phantoms

Quick start is the aim against Phantoms

Tigers coach Tom Watkins wants a flying start against Peterborough in the play-offs tomorrow night, after giving his men an extra day off following Wednesday’s win over Guildford.

A grueling 3-2 success in Surrey saw the EPL champions return to Telford at 3am on Thursday morning, due to an 8pm face-off time and a string of tailbacks and diversions on the M40.

The players then had an extra day off from training before returning to the ice at midday on Friday, in preparation for Saturday’s trip to face the Phantoms at Bretton Road.

Watkins said: “For us to go down to Guildford in midweek and win with that pressure on our backs was immense. We did a good job.

“After the game, the guys were a tired bunch and nobody got back until three in the morning, so they had a day off yesterday.

“They then had a good skate at lunchtime on Friday, got their legs back under them and I expect them to be raring to go on Saturday.”

This weekend will decide the final line-up for next month’s play-off finals, with Telford, Guildford and Peterborough all in contention for a top-two spot in Group A.

Sunday sees the Tigers face bottom side Sheffield Steeldogs at Telford Ice Rink, as they look to finish their home campaign with qualification for the Coventry tournament.

Watkins added: “Of course, losing our first play-off game wasn’t the ideal way to start, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

“As I said at the time, it was the end of a prolific 14-game winning run, which saw us play some great hockey.

“We knew after that game what we needed to do, and we still do. It is a case of going out there and grinding out wins every night.

“You won’t win the league if you’re not prepared to do that. I can’t fault the guys, as they’ve done that all season.”

Sunday’s final home game of the season against Sheffield Steeldogs, at Telford Ice Rink, faces off at 6pm. For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.