Head coach Nick Poole believes the best team lost when Lightning and Guildford Flames went to war in their English Premier League play-off semi final on Saturday.
Lightning were beaten 3-2, but the general consensus amongst the 3,000 ice hockey fans in attendance at the Coventry Skydome was that the best team lost.
Guildford eventually suffered a 5-2 final defeat against Manchester Phoenix, denying the Surrey side a clean sweep of trophies this year – having already won the league and cup – and Poole thinks that was largely down to his players.
“We ran them ragged the day before, so I wasn’t surprised that Guildford lost the final,” he said. “I think it was probably better for the competition that another side won something.
“I thought the better team lost when we played them, but that’s ice hockey and there was nothing we could do about it. To be fair we’ve probably won games this season when we have not been the best team on the day – that’s sport.
“The guys played their hearts out and I’m very proud of them. It was just not meant to be on the day, but we left everything out on the ice. I really thought it would be our day.”
Poole described Lightning’s performance as their best of the season against Guildford, despite the city side actually winning two of their previous six meetings in 2012-13.
But with another season gone with no silverware to show for the team’s efforts, Poole admits that it will trouble him all summer, but also motivate him even more to win something next year.
“It plays on my mind every day to be honest,” he said. “We had three objectives this season – finishing in the top four, making it through to Coventry, and winning a trophy. Two out of three isn’t bad, but not winning something hurts us.”