LIGHTNING head coach Nick Poole wants his side to hang on to fourth place in the English Premier League and build some much needed momentum ahead of the play-offs.
The city side recorded their first four-point weekend since early December with back-to-back victories against Bracknell Bees, lifting them back up to fourth place courtesy of Slough Jets’ defeat to title chasing Guildford Flames.
However, there is only a single point between Lightning and the Berkshire outfit as they battle it out for home advantage in the play-offs, and Poole knows that momentum is going to be crucial if his men are to secure a quarter final second leg at Planet Ice.
The hard work continues with a home game against Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday before a trip to table toppers Basingstoke Bison the following day, as Slough take on the same two sides on opposite nights after Wednesday’s trip to Swindon Wildcats.
Poole said: “Obviously everyone is on a high at the moment, we had a big win over Guildford recently on their ice, followed by a four-point weekend over Bracknell – and you can’t underestimate the Bees, they’re a much better side than last year and have had some big results.
“But our guys went out there focused at the weekend, they knew what they had to do, they played for each other, stuck to the game plan and it worked – we got all four points and we deserved them.
“The guys were really enjoying their hockey last weekend which helps as well, it was fantastic to have Carsy (captain Adam Carr) back on the ice and to be able to give Jordan Hedley some time on Saturday as well. And yet again our fans turned out to show their faith in us, and this time we sent them home happy both nights.
“Saturday against Sheffield isn’t going to be easy but if we do the same as last week, I feel we’ll be halfway there – stay focused, play for each other and concentrate on our own game.
“Moving up to fourth place and within reach of third is a big boost for us but it’s down to us to use that and build up a head of steam going into the play-offs.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, but the news has been much better recently, so we want to use that as a springboard.”