Finishing first in the regular season means the Vipers say they will not change their approach entering as the top seed of the Emirates Hockey League play-offs.
Vipers to play it cool for the Emirates Hockey League play-offs
ABU DHABI // If it is not broken, do not fix it is the motto that Al Ain Vipers will take into the Emirates Hockey League play-offs that start Sunday night.
The Vipers finished top of the table in the regular season and face Al Ain Theebs at Abu Dhabi Ice Rink in the first match of their best of three semi-final play-off, and Kevin Emore, the team's player-manager, said: "I don't think we are going to change anything when we play the Theebs in the play-off, but we do recognise that we need to win two games to win a ticket to the final."
The Vipers became the first team in four years to deny the Dubai Mighty Camels first place in the regular season.
"It has been a fantastic season for us and we are really, really pleased with the reward for our performance," Emore said.
"We have almost the same team but the difference this season has been that the players know each other better. I think playing together for two seasons, the hard work and the commitment, all combined was the story behind our success.
"We have finished first in the regular season but we now need to take this momentum forward and win the play-off."
Ron Murphy, the Camels' captain and coach, is also upbeat of his team's chances as they face Abu Dhabi Storms, with their first game of their play-off also Sunday night.
"We have had another good season," Murphy said. "We have got all our players available for the play-off, and overall we still have a strong squad and lots of depth. The other teams are also looking good. The Vipers, obviously, had a great season, and so have the Storms. We just played the Storms recently and they beat us in a shoot-out."
Murphy has been impressed with Ross Macmillan, who joined the team this year, calling him a "strong offensive player".
"He is one of the new players and has been quite outstanding for us this season," Murphy said.
"However, as a team, we have been consistently playing well, and our objective, as always, would be to win the EHL crown."
Vipers v Theebs 8.15pm
Storms v Camels 8.15pm
Camels v Storms 8.15pm
Theebs v Vipers 8.30pm
Vipers v Theebs 8.15pm
Storms v Camels 8.30pm
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