JARED Owen hopes Blackburn Hawks can sign off in style, as his side play their last home league game of the season tomorrow.
At present Hawks need just one point to secure a second placed finish in the Moralee Conference, with two league games left.
A runners-up place might already be guaranteed by the time they host champions Solway Sharks at Blackburn Ice Arena on Sunday (face-off 5.45pm), should Sutton Sting – the only team who can now catch Hawks – drop points to Solway tomorrow.
But after guaranteeing a play-off place last weekend, Owen wants his players to get into a winning habit as last season’s winners prepare to defend their crown.
“It’s all about building momentum for the play-offs, and hopefully the cup final,” said the player-coach.
“If we win the three games left this year we will make the cup final.
“We’re already in the play-offs, but we want to defend our title as well.”
And Owen is determined to put on a good show for the home crowd.
“It’s another massive game this weekend,” he added. “Although Solway have won the league they will want to keep moving forward to the play-offs themselves.
“We lost 1-0 there and 2-1 at home to them earlier in the season, so the games have been really close.
“It’s going to be a good game and a good test for us at home.
“And hopefully we will get a good crowd to finish the league season here.
“We’ve had a lot of new faces this year, which is good to help the team move forward so hopefully we can build on that.
“Some of them have started to travel to away games so it’s been good to get more interest.”
But Owen expressed his disappointment that Hawks fans will have to travel to see any of the play-offs clashes, with both the semi-finals and finals to be played in one weekend at the home of champions Solway Sharks, the Dumfries Ice Bowl.
“It’s something that the clubs voted on at the start of the year,” he said. “We voted against it because we lose a massive amount of money.
“In the last two play-off finals we had over 1,000 fans – so if we were to get there again that’s a dent in the rink’s finances.
“Solway are paying for the teams’ accommodation and travel, so they have to make the costs back.
“But it will be interesting to see how it works. A one-game semi and one-game final might be more exciting.
“But we’ve had good home crowds for the semi-finals and the finals in the last two years, so it’s disappointing from that respect.”