Symonds believes Cats’ recent trips to Coventry could help play-off bid

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Alex Symonds Alex Symonds

ALEX Symonds is hoping that last Sunday’s trip to the Skydome will give Swindon Wildcats a slight advantage at the EPL play-off finals weekend.

The Link Centre side claimed a dramatic quarter-final victory over Milton Keynes Lightning at the temporary home in Coventry to set-up a mouth-watering clash with league champions Manchester Phoenix.

But having played at the Skydome just four days ago, as well as on March 9, the Welsh D-man is hopeful that Cats can reproduce another thrilling success.

“We are both away and it is good that we have just played in Coventry,” Symonds said. “Hopefully that will help us being a bit more familiar with the ice.

“But we have to believe in ourselves, come to work hard and I’m sure that we can be successful.”

Symonds and his team-mates will take plenty of heart from the fact that they are the only side to shut the champions out this term.

Cats claimed a 2-0 success over Manchester at the Link Centre last month as they put together an unbelievable seven-game winning run, which included three clean sheets.

And the former Cardiff Devil believes that defence will again be the key to success for Ryan Aldridge’s men on Saturday afternoon.

“Manchester have a lot of shots throughout the match so we have to make sure that our defence is very good,” the 29-year-old said.

“And that means all over the ice, we have to work as team, as we have been doing, at our defending and hopefully we can get the result.”

With the semi-finals being played on the Saturday and the final on Sunday, Symonds insists that Cats can not look past Manchester even with the showpiece event taking place 24 hours later.

Wildcats will be first on the ice at the weekend in their semi-final clash, while Basingstoke Bison face Guildford Flames on Saturday evening, but the former Great Britain under 20s international is hoping that the players will return to Swindon, should they be victorious, before knowing who they might face the following day.

“I’m sure it (final) is in the back of the guys mind, but we have to concentrate on Manchester,” Symonds said. “We can’t think that we could be playing Guildford or Basingstoke, our job is to try and beat Manchester.

“If we get through, I’m not bother who we play, I just want to get home, have some good food and rest ready for the next day.”

Cats’ place in finals weekend was sealed in the final 27 seconds of their clash with Milton Keynes and despite losing the first-leg of the quarter-final, Symonds said that he always believed Swindon would be returning to Coventry on Saturday.

“I just had a feeling we would do it, even though we lost that first match, I knew that we can beat any team in this league.

“We are in unbelievable shape at the moment and we just want to keep that going.”

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