'Crash-bang' Pitbulls look to upset the form book against the Raiders
HEAD coach Richie Hargreaves is happy that the Bristol Pitbulls go into their crucial play-off quarter-final double-header with Wightlink Raiders this weekend as underdogs.
The two sides begin their two-legged clash to determine who will progress to the semi-final with a game on the Isle of Wight today before the return match in Frogmore Street tomorrow night (6.45pm).
Wightlink begin the clash as firm favourites after Pitbulls finished three places and 16 points behind their National Ice Hockey League South rivals at the end of the regular season campaign.
"We don't mind being the underdogs at all. It takes all the pressure off us and puts it on to them," said Hargreaves.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"If we could have got going a bit quicker in the season and managed to avoid injuries and suspensions, I feel we would have finished a lot closer to them.
"We've played them four times already this season and all the games have been very closely contested.
"The last time we played over there a couple of months ago we got a 4-4 draw, so we go into the first leg without any fear at all.
"It doesn't matter what happened over the regular season because it is finished now. It comes down to who is the best team over 120 minutes now and that sort of knockout hockey suits our crash and bang style perfectly.
"We've only lost a couple of times in our last 15 or so games so we've come strong at the right time. I know a lot of other teams were pleased to avoid us when the play-off ties were finalised.
"We've got a bus load of supporters coming along to get behind us on the Isle of Wight and I can't see it being anything other than a very close game.
"That would set things up very nicely for the second leg in Bristol on Sunday night."
Hargreaves will be hoping for a full-house at Frogmore Street to aid his side's bid to book a place in the semi-finals next weekend.
"We had close to a sell-out when we won National League Two a couple of years ago and the atmosphere was incredible.
"I though the place was going to come down that day and we'd like to try and re-create that sort of excitement again on Sunday night.
"I can't stress enough how crucial that support is for us as players and we're all really up for it.
"What with the uncertainty over the closure of the ice rink we don't know whether or not this might be our last game in the venue, so we're going to make the most of it.
"I think fans will be in for a real treat as our clash is probably the most eye-catching of the four and I'm optimistic that we have what is required within our squad to get the right result."
Hargreaves has to do without the talents of import Martin Lee, who has been called up by New Zealand for a World Championships tournament.