Russ Moyer is hoping for third-time lucky this weekend after missing out on the play-off finals two years running.
The Fife Flyers captain was part of the side that lost in the quarter-finals to Belfast Giants last season, while he also missed out with Sheffield Steelers the year before, despite winning the league title.
Steelers went down to eighth seeds Coventry Blaze in the quarter-finals in one of the biggest shock results of recent years, and having never experienced the atmosphere of the EIHL’s end of season showpiece event, Moyer is desperate to get there this time around.
“I’ve never been,” he told the Press. “I’ve heard all great things about it and I’d like to experience it with all these guys.
“It’s something we have our minds set on, and if we don’t reach Nottingham we’re going to be extremely disappointed. Hopefully this is the year because I think we have the team to do it.”
A three-game losing streak meant Flyers finished seventh in the final standings, but Moyer is comfortable with facing second seeds Manchester Storm in the quarter-finals.
“We’re looking forward to it and it’s a good opportunity for us,” he said. “I think the match-up is fine for us, and we’re positive we can do well against them.
“We feel like we’re playing good hockey right now.
“Even though we’ve lost three in a row, we still feel like we deserved to win or at least be equal in all those games.
“We’ve also shown we can play them tight in their small rink, which is usually a disadvantage going there. Both were 3-2 losses, but we felt we were the better team for at least 40 minutes of those games.
“We’re confident, and I’m sure they’d rather have faced another team rather than us. But we’re happy with who we’re facing and we’ll bring our best game.”
Ryan Finnerty’s teams are renowned for playing a tough, physical style and Moyer insists Flyers can take advantage of them.
“We don’t really have to match their physicality, we’ve just got to show that it’s not going to deter us from playing our game,” he said.
“We know we’ve got to play fast, hard, and put pressure on the defence because that’s what we feel is the weak part of their team. If we do that there’s a good chance we’ll be successful.”
Moyer hopes a bumper home crowd can help inspire the team to a decent first leg advantage.
“Hopefully the fans come, bring the noise, and we give them something to cheer about,” he said. “Last year our first leg was in Belfast, and I’m personally happier that we’re starting at home. If we play the right way, who’s to say we can’t go there up a couple of goals?
“If we can do that, we know we can play well in their rink, so there’s no reason why we can’t have accumulated more goals than they do by the end of this weekend.”