Aberdeen Lynx head coach Owen Reynolds is pleased with how his team stuck it out in their 4-1 win over Dundee Tigers.
The Granite City side have manoeuvred themselves into a strong position for their challenging final Scottish National League (SNL) fixtures.
In fifth place and aiming to secure a strong finish which will set them up for the play-offs, the Lynx’s final four games all come against teams above them in the table – Paisley Pirates, Murrayfield Racers, Kirkcaldy Kestrels and Dundee Comets.
Reynolds said: “We’re now in a position where every game is going to be incredibly tough, but these are the games you want to be involved in.
“Based on earlier results, realistically we’ll be going into these games as the underdog.
“Knowing we’re not too far off the top four and hopefully a little bit wiser than at the start of the season should stand us in good stead for the run-in, which sees us competing in league, Scottish Cup and play-off fixtures.”
The win at the Dundee Ice Arena didn’t come easy, with the Tigers showing sharper teeth than they had in the sides’ previous meetings this term (15-0 and 8-3 Lynx wins).
Reynolds said: “We were aware the Tigers had strengthened their squad, included signing Craig Mallinson in goals, who’s a proven stopper, so knew it was never going to be the one-sided affairs we saw earlier in the season.
“They’ve also had some improved results so we fully expected a much closer game.
“From our own point of view we wanted to focus on the things that have been working for us – the quicker starts and better discipline.
“Both were evident, especially with Christian Johnson getting us off the mark in the early minutes.”
However, the early goal didn’t see the Lynx run away with the game.
Reynolds said: “Despite the first period finishing 1-1, I wasn’t overly concerned but knew patience would be key.
“The Tigers put in a solid defensive performance and the more we pressed it was always going to leave us exposed to a counter attack, so I was impressed with our levels of awareness and concentration at both ends of the ice.
“Craig Findlay topped off his man of the match performance with a goal, and Craig Chalmers pulled off a vital save to give us a 2-1 advantage going into the third, which despite being a slender lead allowed us to dictate how the final period panned out.
“We knew they’d have to come at us and take a few more risks, which opened up the ice and allowed us to grab a couple more goals to seal the points.
“On another day we may have scored more, but ultimately I was happy with how we performed as a team.”
After the important business of seeing off the Tigers was taken care of, the Lynx made the most of the wintry conditions in the north-east to play some less formal hockey.
Reynolds said: “Ahead of the serious games coming up, we managed to get in a little fun when a group of us decided to head to Duthie Park for a spot of pond hockey on Sunday morning.
“Even when we’re winning games heavily we can still be guilty of moaning and arguing with each other, so it was great to see everyone playing with a smile on their face and just having a laugh.”