Murrayfield Racers will ice fringe squad this weekend
Sixteen-year-old netminder Harry Elder among those to be played
Tony Hand will ensure that his entire Murrayfied Racers squad, including netminders Craig Douglas and 16-year-old Harry Elder, get a good workout across their two games this weekend.
Hand, the club’s director of hockey, conceded that “the pressure is off” ahead of tonight’s Stuart Robertson Cup dead-rubber at Paisley Pirates, and tomorrow’s Scottish Cup quarter-final first leg with Kilmarnock Storm – who this season Racers have already beaten 22-1 and 14-0.
Tonight’s match at the Braehead Arena had been expected to decide who took top spot in the Stuart Robertson Cup Group South, but two disappointing performances from an experienced Pirates squad last weekend against North Ayrshire Wild has left them with no chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages, whilst Racers will play Aberdeen Lynx in the semi-finals of the competition next month.
Hand said: “We’re going to try and give everyone
as much ice time as possible. Paisley are a good team, we didn’t realise that last weekend they would come out second best against Ayr, which means it’s just one of these games where we have to go out there and put a performance in.
“The pressure is off us now, we’ve already finished top and they can’t qualify. These sort of things are out of our control, we’ll still go there, work hard and do our best, we’ll play a lot of the younger guys and Craig Douglas will play.
“We’re not there to roll-over, but we’ll play all our lines, it would be crazy in a game like this not to give them all some experience and if we win the game then great.
“We have Kilmarnock on Sunday, again we’ll play a lot of the younger guys and we’ll play young Harry in goals and give him some experience. It’s good to see these young kids play but we still have a job to do.”
Racers are expected to be at full strength, minus defenceman Jack Wright who fractured a shoulder during last weekend’s physical encounter at Whitley Warriors in the National Ice Hockey League North Cup, and Hand continued: “It wasn’t a bad hit, or anything malicious, it was just one of these freak things that unfortunately happen sometimes. His shoulder came out, and there’s a small fracture, he’ll be out for at least a month.”