Dundee Stars coach Marc Lefebvre paid tribute to his team after they battled all the way for a place in ice hockey’s play-off final.
The Taysiders went into this afternoon’s semi-final tie against Cardiff Devils as underdogs.
But they pushed the Grand Slam chasing champions all the way. Stars executed a solid game plan to build up a superb 2-0 lead at the National Ice Arena in Nottingham.
And it took a third period rally from Devils to finally seal a 4-2 win.
That took the EIHL champ;ions into Sunday’s showcase final against either Belfast Giants or Sheffield Stars, and consigned Stars to the third-fourth place play-off – or the ‘Hangover Cup’ as it is widely derided.
Lefebvre was fulsome in his praise for his players.
‘‘We are disappointed,’’ he said. ‘@We came here to win, and we deserved to be here.
‘‘We pushed them all the way, and I could not be more proud of my team. We pushed the league title holders all the way to the end.’’
Lefebvre was delighted with the start Stars made, skating into a 2-0 lead.
‘‘We found ways to the back of the net,’’ he said.
‘‘But they are a great team. They have quality and depth.
‘‘But I am so proud of these guys, this club and the organisation – and the fans who were excellent. They helped us get here.’’
For netminder Joe Fallon there was the consolation of the ‘man of the match’ award.
He said: ‘‘This has bene a great experience.
‘‘We made a great start, and a good period two but they had us under pressure in the third.
‘‘They have four lines running straight at you – that’s why they are the champions. They push until the end.’’