FLINTSHIRE Freeze head coach Karl Creamer has declared this weekend’s double-header of fixtures as ‘must-win’ games if his side is to challenge for promotion this season.
Freeze make the trip to winless Lancashire Raptors this Saturday (5.45pm face-off) before playing host to Sheffield Senators on Sunday at the Deeside Leisure Centre (6.40pm face-off).
They will be without their captain Marc Lovell who, after getting married last weekend, is now on his honeymoon.
The wedding meant the English National Ice Hockey League North Two side were given special dispensation to have what would have been a difficult trip away to league leaders Solway Sharks postponed until the end of the season.
But Creamer said he will be happy with nothing less than two convincing Freeze wins this weekend to get their campaign firing on all cylinders.
He said: “We will be without our captain but our team is more than just one man and I am expecting others to step into his boots.
“On paper, these are two teams who we should beat, but we have to be mentally prepared as well as physically. It’s no use thinking we can just turn up based on last season and win.
“These are must-win games and we do not want to be a mid-table team, we want to be in contention. I am looking for no less than four points.
“I have arranged for three tough training sessions this week to get them fit again after their weekend off.”
Creamer is expecting assistant captains Mike and Chris Jones to fill in the gap created by Lovell, and is expecting Freeze to emerge from the weekend with a more favourable goal difference in the league.
Freeze lie third but have a goal difference of -19, mainly because of their 16-1 mauling by the Sharks earlier this season.
“Lancashire are always tricky but I think we are the better side and we have got to get some confidence.
“We have got to go there and win convincingly and be prepared to play the top two teams when those games come round again.
“There are a lot of people running things behind the scenes at this club, so I ask that the team give us 100% in the game.”
Flintshire Freeze are offering a free home ticket to fans who sponsor any of the players’ shirts. Sponsorship costs £35. For details, email Ian Taylor at [email protected].