Hull Pirates’ boss Jason Hewitt looking for instant reaction

Hull Pirates' player-coach, Jason Hewitt. Picture courtesy of Hull Pirates.
Hull Pirates' player-coach, Jason Hewitt. Picture courtesy of Hull Pirates.
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JASON HEWITT is confident Hull Pirates can rebound from their opening play-off night defeat when they return to action this weekend.

The East Yorkshire club endured a nightmare trip to Hampshire on Wednesday when losing 7-0 to Basingstoke Bison.

Fortunately, they still have five Group B games remaining in their bid to reach the Play-off Finals Weekend at Coventry’s SkyDome Arena on April 8 and 9.

And while Hewitt and his players were given plenty of food for thought on their long trip back to Yorkshire in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Pirates’ player-coach is just glad they haven’t had to wait too long before getting back out on the ice competitively again.

Tonight sees them head south once more to face Swindon Wildcats before playing host for the first time in the post-season 24 hours later when welcoming regular season runners-up Milton Keynes Lighning.

“The result and the scoreline was obviously upsetting, but the good thing is that we’ve got Saturday and Sunday to make it right,” said player-coach Hewitt, whose playing season was ended early this year when he was forced to undergo shoulder surgery.

“We probably outplayed Basingstoke for 15 minutes or so but that was the big difference, we played 20 good minutes and they played 60. Against a team as good as that, it’s always going to make things a lot harder.”

Despite suffering three defeats in as many visits to Swindon’s Link Centre in 2016-17, Hewitt is confident his players can produce a positive reaction to their midweek setback.

“We’ve had some success at home against Swindon this year and been unlucky not to come out of there place with any points,” he added. “I’m confident going in there with the gameplan that we’ve got in place.

“We’re a good team when we don’t invite pressure and I think people forget sometimes how young our team is.

We’ve had some good success against Swindon this year and been unlucky not to come out of there with the points and I’m confident going in there with the gameplan we’ve got in place

Hull Pirates’ player-coach, Jason Hewitt.

“But it’s good experience for these lads because they are learning fast.”

In Group A, Sheffield Steeldogs got off to a similarly disastrous start, losing 12-0 on the road against a rampant Peterborough Phantoms.

Player-coach Greg Wood’s side face a tricky trip to Elite League-bound Guildford Flames tonight before returning home to play host to regular season champions, Telford Tigers.

In a hectic 11-day schedule, both Yorkshire clubs also face further fixtures on Wednesday before completing the group stages next weekend with two final games.