Chris Arnone column: Blackburn Hawks ready to deal with pressure

Chris Arnone

Chris Arnone

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Blackburn Hawks captain

WE’VE got two games in a weekend, but we take one game at a time as we bid to retain our play-off crown.

If we win the first one, we’re in the final. I don’t want to be driving home on Sunday having lost the semi-final with Billingham Stars.

I don’t want to be driving home on Sunday night having lost the final.

The pressure is on us a bit more this year because we won it last year. We were underdogs then. We were written off, as usual, at the start of the season but we proved doubters wrong by finishing second.

That means there is more expectation on us this weekend, but hopefully we can deal with it well and do it again.

I think we’ve got a better squad than last year, so we are stronger in that department, but Solway Sharks are still the team to beat now that they’ve done the double – winning the league, and then the cup at the weekend.

But, first thing’s first, we’ve got to win Saturday’s game.

I was thinking at the weekend what I was feeling last year and it was only probably the day before the first leg that it hit me. And when it did, I was a bag of nerves. I’ll probably be the same again this time around.

We’ve had a good build-up though, with a full training session where we had a full squad there. It makes it easier to go full strength on the drills rather than half pace when numbers are good.

The tempo was a lot better, and the intensity, so hopefully we can improve on that this Thursday.

We’ve then got an hour’s ice time on Friday night, before we have a meal together in Blackburn and then set off for Scotland.

We’ve beaten Billingham four times this season, but play-off hockey is different to league hockey. It’s a one-off game so past results all go out of the window.

They’ve got some good, experienced players and if we give them chances they will punish us.

We’ve got to play our best and we know if we do that we will have enough to beat them.

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