â€œDifferent moodâ€ is Samâ€™s scheme for success
Tigers defenceman Sam Zajac insists his overtime winner against Swindon Wildcats on Sunday was just reward for a string of dominant performances from the EPL champions.
Zajac was on hand to snatch a dramatic goal on 61 minutes, after his side relinquished a one-goal advantage in the second period.
The hosts were again the dominant side, outshooting Swindon by 49 shots to just 21, but they were unable to find a way past netminder Stevie Lyle.
Zajac believes that late strike was a reflection of a â€œdifferent moodâ€ within the Tigers changing room, followingÂ weeks of commanding encounters.
He said: â€œSundayÂ was a muchÂ more confident performance than the winÂ against Bracknell the previous week, and when Jonathan Weaver comes back it will tighten up a bit more.
â€œThere was a different mood in the changing room from the off. Against Guildford the night before, our performance should have been enough to win the game.
â€œBut we didnâ€™t quite get over the line in that game on Saturday, which has kind of been the story of our season so far.
â€œWe came in quite buoyant against Swindon and played a lot looser than we have in the last few weeks. That showed in the way we played offensively.â€
The 26-year-oldâ€™s winning goal was assisted by Slovakian strike star Peter Szabo â€“ and he admitted having second thoughts about taking the shot himself.
He added: â€œThe first thought I had was to give the puck back to Peter! Luckily, Iâ€™d had a lot chances in the game, so I thought Iâ€™d get it in there.
â€œWe dominated most of the last period and then overtime, so it was good to see it cross the line.â€
Zajac was also praised for his fitness by head coach Tom Watkins, after playing virtually non-stop for the final six minutes of the game.
The double-winner believes strength and conditioning is a key part of any playerâ€™s arsenal in this yearâ€™s competitive English Premier League.
â€œEveryone works on fitness and itâ€™s not like a few years ago, when players would go out and drink all week,â€ Zajac said.
â€œThe whole team is in the gym five days a week, on the ice four days, and then thereâ€™s two games at the weekend.
â€œHealth is a big part of the sport these days anyone who isnâ€™t fit enough will get found out pretty quickly.â€
The Tigers EPL have two away games this weekend, when they travel to face Swindon on Saturday, before a trip to Peterborough Phantoms the next day.
The clubâ€™s NIHL youngsters are in home action on Saturday, however, when they host Billingham Stars at Telford Ice Rink (5.30pm).