Paisley Pirates pick up point from difficult Belfast trip as coach demands win against Kilmarnock Thunder

Paisley Pirates almost came away with an unlikely win after a treacherous trip to Belfast.

The Paisley club only arrived 25 minutes before face-off after their ferry was delayed, with the horrendous weather conditions turning a few of the players stomachs on the rocky journey.

Despite their late arrival the Pirates raced into a 1-0 lead in the first session, before the Giants hit back to draw the sides level at 2-2 heading into the third session.

After both sides scored again, the topsy-turvy game headed into a shootout for the bonus point.

The Pirates couldn’t muster a single goal from their five efforts though, with Belfast eventually picking up the bonus after notching one of their chances.

Pirates player-coach Adam Walker insists that while coming away with anything from the trip was a bonus, the Renfrewshire club simply have to play better if they’re to have any chance of competing for the league title this season.

He told Express Sport: “The build-up to the game was far from ideal, with the boat being delayed and not getting time for a proper warm-up.

“We were on the boat for three hours and it was very rocky. A couple of the guys weren’t dealing with that too well at all.

“We pretty much only had time to change and do a very small warm-up and then it was straight into the match.

“We were actually one up at the first session break. I think the adrenaline got us through it.

“The second session was pretty diabolical from us. Even so we still managed to get it back to 2-2 and give ourselves a chance.

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“Taking all things into consideration it’s hard to be too harsh on the guys, but we certainly weren’t at our best.

“To not score from any of our five shootout attempts is something we’re seriously going to have to look at.

“In the end it’s cost us the extra point. While we’re happy to get even one point out of the trip in the end, those extra points can be the difference between winning and losing the league.

“Their keeper made some good saves but all five of us that took them, myself included, need to do much better.”

Pirates have a much more straight-forward trip this weekend as they make the short trip south to take on Kilmarnock Thunder.

Walker is anticipating another tough test on the road, but with title rivals Aberdeen Lynx extending their lead at the top of the SNL table over the weekend he insists there’s no room for error if the Paisley side are serious about mounting a challenge for league honours.

Walker said: “Killie is still a very tough game as it’s a hard place to play.

“They’ve improved a lot recently and we’ll have to play a lot better than we did in Belfast to get the win.

“Thankfully it’s not as long a journey and we’ll be a lot better prepared for this one.

“It’s a game we have to win. Aberdeen have only lost once, to us, and if you want to compete for the title then these tough trips to places like Killie are ones you have to be winning to have a chance.

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“Our players know what to expect though. We’ve all been there before and we have an experienced enough side to cope with the pressure.

“If we don’t win this weekend then I don’t think we really deserve to still be sitting around the top of the table.”

Face-off at the Galleon Leisure Center this Saturday is at 6pm.

Tickets for the match can be purchased at the door.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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