Phew! I am sure I can speak for us all when I say, “that was close!” Coventry had been preparing for those two games last weekend for 3 months. If you give Paul Thompson three months of preparation, you can bet they are going to be ready. They fought us every step of the way last weekend. We were really excited by the size of the home crowd on Saturday at the Odyssey with the East tier in use for the first time in 9 years! You were definitely our extra man and created a really great atmosphere in the arena for us!
Our guys faced a very hot goalie who only let in 3 goals on 90 shots. I was very impressed with our penalty kill. We killed a 5 vs 3 in the 3rd period and a 4 vs 3 in overtime. Those kills gave Jeff Mason a chance to win it in the shoot-out. Mason was a star for us this weekend. He is often overlooked because of Jon Gleed but he is becoming a star player for us. I will be the first one to admit that he had a tough start to the year but he is playing as well as anyone on our team. He is a great player for us.
Since returning home from Coventry, I have done a number of press interviews and in almost every one I was asked about the “in form” Cardiff Devils and if I thought we had a chance to beat them! Of course, I think we have more than a chance! I am sure Gerad Adams thinks we have more than a chance! Cardiff are a great team but so are we! We have lost 4 games (all on the road) in regulation in 2011 by a combined 5 goals and that makes us the underdog. I like being the underdog! I am not sure when that happened, but I will take it!!
Knocking off the defending champions was not an easy task but now we need to focus on how to beat Cardiff. The Devils have a little bit of everything. They are big, fast, talented and well coached. One area we need to improve on is getting to the net. I think everyone has noticed how well we possess the puck and how many shots we get but we need to score goals from the offensive zone cycle. Our forwards are going to have to get dirty and get to the net. We did a better job of that on Sunday and if we are going to win the play-off title we need to continue that trend.
It will be an exciting weekend. Only one team ends the season with a win and we are determined to make it be us!