Midweek hockey gives us the first three games of the 14 coming up in Week 13. While there’s league action in Nottingham for the Panthers & Lightning, attention in Dundee and Glasgow is solely on the Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals for the Stars, Giants, Clan and Devils.
1930 Nottingham Panthers vs. MK Lightning (Tickets)
These two sides met last weekend in Milton Keynes, where the Panthers banished memories of a 5-1 defeat earlier in the season with a 3-1 win. That was before the Lightning then went to Cardiff however and won in overtime, ending a run of six straight road losses. MK have never won in Nottingham in the Elite League, but have won three out of their last five since changing coaches.
“After evening the season series against Milton Keynes on Saturday night we’re ready to turn it around and do it all over again tonight. We know it’s going to be a tough game, they’re on the upswing after changing their coaching set-up and we need to be prepared.” – Rich Chernomaz (Head Coach, Nottingham Panthers)
“It’s going to be a tough test for us going to their barn and try to come away with two points. Our group has been gaining a lot of confidence over the past week or so, and we are excited for the challenge. Playing in that rink is always fun, and will be a first for most of our guys. We need to stick to our game plan, and play with urgency to give us the best chance to win.” – Tim Wallace (Player-Coach, MK Lightning)
Belfast were top seeds for the Quarter-Finals and chose to face Dundee from the four teams they could have picked. While the Giants are undoubtedly the in-form side in the EIHL at the moment, they face a Stars team who won two games last week and has already beaten the Giants at home this season. In fact, the Stars recent record in Dundee over Belfast isn’t to be sniffed at having won four of their last seven.
“We’ve had some really good games against Belfast so fast this season. The mood in the room is good after last weekend, and although Belfast are the form team in the league there’s no reason why we can’t go and get a result against them.” – Jordan Cownie (Forward, Dundee Stars)
“This is a big game for us. We have had a busy schedule recently with the Continental Cup and back-to-back road games last weekend – so we will need to focus on ourselves and make sure we are ready to go on Wednesday. Dundee have hurt us already this season and we need to make sure the tie is still alive after 60 minutes before we come back to Belfast next month.” – Adam Keefe (Head Coach, Belfast Giants)
1930 Glasgow Clan vs. Cardiff Devils – Challenge Cup (Tickets)
As second seeds after the Group Stage, Cardiff chose playing Glasgow over Manchester and Sheffield, and head up to Scotland for the first leg. The sides met not that long ago in a game where the Devils won by just the one goal scored in 60 minutes. Both sides lost their last games, Glasgow being shutout on their own ice by Guildford, while Cardiff went down to MK in overtime.
“We know what we have to do against Cardiff on Wednesday. They’re a deep team and I don’t buy into them having a tough time right now. For me, the league in general is that good. We have to come and compete, make sure we’re defensively good and be ready for them. They’re good down low, they have a good defensive core and we have to take our chances. That’s the big thing for me – taking those opportunities when we get them and it’ll be an interesting game for us.” – Pete Russell (Head Coach, Glasgow Clan)
“The Challenge Cup is a very special competition for me and for this team and many of the guys who are here and we want to keep our good run in this competition going. We know how difficult it is to play in Glasgow – we experienced that earlier this season when we went up there and Bownsy (Ben Bowns) stood on his head and we got that 1-0 win. We need to be ready to go from the beginning – no excuses, we have to just get back to our hockey and we need a good result to take back to Cardiff in two weeks time. These two-legged games are always tricky and it’s crucial to get a good result in the first game so that’s what we will be looking to do on Wednesday night.” – Andrew Lord (Head Coach, Cardiff Devils)