EPL PLAY-OFFS: Skipper says Cats can win it all
5:30am Friday 28th March 2014 in By Michael Reeves, Deputy sports editor
“WE are the team to beat.” That was the message from Swindon Wildcats captain Shane Moore as they head into the play-offs this weekend.
Cats tackle Milton Keynes Lightning on their Link Centre rink tomorrow night for the first-leg of their quarter-final clash before heading to the Skydome in Coventry on Sunday looking to book a place at the EPL finals weekend.
And with a stunning seven game winning streak heading into the play-offs, the 28-year-old is full of confidence about Cats chances, not just for this weekend but the whole competition.
“This is the first time where I’ve been involved in the play-offs and thought we are the team to beat,” Moore told the Adver.
“There have been times when I thought that we have been the underdogs and have a chance, but given the run we have been I really do think that we can win it.”
It is not hard to understand why Cats are full of beans given the fact they have beaten champions Manchester Phoenix, runners-up Basingstoke Bison (twice) and Lightning in recent weeks.
But it is not just the results that has given the Link Centre men belief that they can do it, it has been the way they have gone about picking up those successes.
“Early in the season we were playing as three forwards and two defencemen,” Moore explained. “But now we are playing as five forwards and five defencemen.
“We are playing as a unit. Everyone has bought into this system, it means that we have more time on the puck and we are more solid as a team.
“Added to that we have a goalie (Stevie Lyle) who is on a hot streak of form.”
Lyle’s performance of late have been sublime. In this month alone, the Great Britain international went more than 200 minutes on the ice without conceding a goal.
And if Cats can maintain their fantastic run, playing the way that they have been, then maybe they can start to look to the finals weekend in Coventry in eight days time.
However, Ryan Aldridge’s side know just what a challenge lays in wait for them. Lightning have beaten Wildcats four times this season, but in the last two meetings it was Swindon celebrating at the end.
“They are a strong side,” Moore said. “They have been together for a good number of years and understand how they play.
“But we have the belief that we can do it. We have been on a fantastic run of form.
“It would be great if we can go and win the whole thing, not just for the players, the coach and the backroom staff but the fans as well as they have been fantastic all season.”
Moore is also confident that he will be able to take to the ice this weekend having taken a puck to the face in last Sunday’s 8-2 success at Slough Jets.
“It is still pretty sore, the swelling has gone down. But there are no worries about me playing,” he said.