Ice hockey: Murrayfield Racers urged to keep focus against Solway Sharks
Defenceman Simpson knows stakes are high when they travel to Dumfries
Murrayfield Racers defenceman Marty Simpson believes “concentration will be key” if the Edinburgh club are to keep their Scottish National League title defence on-track against Solway Sharks as two sides, undefeated in league play, go head-to-head in a crucial game at Dumfries Ice Bowl on Sunday night.
Solway - an established team in the UK-wide National Ice Hockey League - decided this season to also compete in the SNL and the Sharks have proven themselves to be a big fish in more than just name with some impressive early results.
The two sides have already crossed swords twice this season in the NIHL North cup, with Sharks winning both with two last-gasp winners scored six seconds from time.
In both games Racers can count themselves unlucky and Simpson, who scored twice the last time the sides met, said: “Concentration throughout the full three periods is key. That’s what’s let us down in the last two games against them, the last minute especially. Although that was more down to the way the game was being played (with both teams looking for a winner) than anything else.
“We can go in there confident, by keeping things simple and playing our game. It’s not as if we’ve played badly there before. We’ve come out with our heads high, we know we can cope, give them a good game and challenge them.”
Racers were impressive last time out with a 9-1 win over Paisley Pirates in the Stuart Robertson Cup and Simpson, who joined the club this summer from Kirkcaldy Kestrels, continued: “Playing against the Racers last season for Kirkcaldy, it was always a good, hard game. It kept you on your toes and took you to your limits.”
“With Solway coming into the league and being the favourites, it gives us an extra challenge to compete with them because we want to defend our title. It just means we have to work harder, it’s possible.
“If we keep pushing ourselves it can be ours again at the end of the season.”