Tigers coach Tom Watkins insists “anything could happen” when the English Premier League play-offs get under way against Guildford Flames on Wednesday night.
The EPL champions face Guildford, Peterborough and Sheffield in Group A of the competition, with the two top progressing to the finals in Coventry next month.
Watkins’ men finished the league season with a 3-1 win over Milton Keynes Lighting on Sunday night – their sixteenth two-point haul in a row.
And the Tigers chief will expect no favours when the Flames arrive at Telford Ice Rink for Wednesday‘s opening encounter.
He said: “I think with the way we are performing and picking up good results, we will hopefully carry on playing that way.
“Of course, there will always be a target on our backs, with us being league champions. It is play-off hockey and anything could happen.
“It is a better series, with it being longer, so I would think that the best four teams will make it to Coventry. I am sure there will be some surprises, though.
“We have got to make sure we are prepared to battle, work hard and do the little things really well. That way, we’ll give ourselves the chance of some more silverware.”
The new play-off format will also see Telford host Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday March 25th, before travelling to face Sheffied Steeldogs the next day.
They then make the trip to play Guildford Flames on Wednesday March 29th, ahead of a clash against the Phantoms on Peterborough on Saturday April 1st.
The final play-off group game will be against Sheffield, at Telford Ice Rink, on April 2nd.
Watkins added: “You’ll hopefully see the teams that deserve to be in Coventry getting through, with the longer series. It will provide some excellent entertainment.
“Across the series, there is the potential for injury and using the depth players on the bench. I am sure it will be super exciting.”
For tickets to the play-off games, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.