Play-off finals - Panthers target win on home ice

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Nottingham Panthers may have home ice for this weekend’s ice hockey play-off finals - but they won’t necessarily have the support of all in the arena.

They take on Fife Flyers in Saturday’s second semi-final, with many neutrals expected to back the Kirkcaldy club - but that doesn’t worry Panthers’ head coach Corey Neilson.

His side will start as favourites, and he expects his players simply to focus so their on jobs.

He said: ‘‘“What neutral fans do doesn’t concern me. We’ll have a tonne of black and gold behind us and that’s what counts for me and the players.’’

Neilson is looking for his team to skate into Sunday’s showcase final and take on either Coventry Blaze or Cardiff Devils.

He said: ‘‘I’m confident that we can win if we play well. The key thing is that we play well and reach our potential as a team,.

“Fife are going to be very good opponents. They’ll try to slow the game down and frustrate us through the neutral zone.

“They’ll want us to make mistakes and we’ve got to be patient and manage the puck to get the kind of chances we want.”

Neilson says it is irrelevant what approach Fife adopt as his team have enjoyed success and endured failure against all styles in a generally up and but occasionally down season.

“How Fife play doesn’t bother me. We’ve had success and failures against all kind of teams this season,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure we do things right. All three of the other teams play a similar way defensively but we’re looking at the Flyers first.”