Ondrej orders cool starter for Coventry

Tigers defenceman Martin Ondrej will use the memory of Hull’s fairytale run to the EIHL play-offs in 2012 as inspiration at this weekend’s finals tournament in Coventry.

Ondrej was pivotal in the shock quarter-final defeat of high-flying Sheffield Steelers that year, taking his side to the Elite League finals in Nottingham for the first time.

The 31-year-old’s arrival in Telford last summer was part of a recruitment campaign that has also led to the Tigers’ first appearance at a finals competition.

And he expects a similar atmosphere at the Coventry Skydome this weekend.

Ondrej said: “This year is a bit like my first season in Hull, when we made the final four. Then, it just felt unbelievable, because there was so much noise from all the supporters in the arena.

“It was a case of keeping cool and focused. I told myself that it was just another game and not to be nervous. In Coventry this weekend, we will look after the little things and just play ice hockey.”

That trip to Nottingham ultimately ended in a 10-3 semi-final defeat to the Panthers, but Ondrej is looking to go at least one better this weekend.

“It’s been kind of busy over the last few weeks, with the league and then the British Challenge Cup,” he said.

“It would be very nice to do the triple, especially for all the fans, who have been there with us all season. Wayne Scholes was great in helping this club and we want to pay him back as well.”

A capacity crowd of over 4,000 fans is expected at the Skydome, with Telford due to face Peterborough Phantoms in the first semi-final on Saturday.

Ondrej claims the pressure of playing as double-winners will have little affect on The Tigers squad, with the prize of a historic triple crown at stake.

Ondrej added: “The guys in the changing room seem confident, and we’ve played the whole season pretty well. There is nothing to be afraid of, but we won’t be taking anything for granted.

“We will just play our usual game on Saturday and build on it from there.”

You may also like...