Osman determined to land knockout blow

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DOMINIC OSMAN admits it is a case of unfinished business on his return to the National Ice Centre with Hull stingrays today.

At 33, the American forward-turned-defenceman is the elder statesman of a Stingrays team which is comfortably the youngest this season in the Elite League.

Hull Stingrays' Dominic Osman. Picture: Arthur Foster.

Hull Stingrays' Dominic Osman. Picture: Arthur Foster.

Osman is the only surviving member of the Hull team who made it to the final four play-off weekend three years ago, where they lost 10-3 to eventual winners Nottingham Panthers.

They had reached the semi-finals having caused a major upset in the previous round when beating Sheffield Steelers 7-4 over two legs – the same team who they will line up against in the first semi-final today.

Again, Hull have reached the last two days of the season with a spot of giant-killing having come from two goals down to see off Braehead Clan with a thriling overtime win last Sunday.

But while Omar Pacha’s team will firmly be regarded as the underdogs against their Yorkshire rivals today, Osman is determined to prove the many doubters who have written off Hull on many occasions already this season wrong once more.

“I admit I had an absolute blast there last time, the result was obviously not what we wanted but, to be there was very exciting and a privilege,” said Osman.

“But our preparation for the semi-final was really tough back then. We didn’t have hardly any ice that week apart from two sessions in Sheffield, one on the Thursday night and then another the following morning at 7am.

“But this year is different, we’ve been able to get out on the ice in Hull and prepare ourselves properly. I was the only one who was there last time and came out of the thing very unsatisfied.

“For me, coming this late in my career, it’s definitely something like unfinished business for me.”

Having failed to get the better of the Steelers in six meetings this season, Hull player-coach Pacha is hoping his players have at least one more surprise up their sleeves this weekend to upset the odds.

“It’s going to be tough, Sheffield are an excellent team,” said Pacha. “The guys are up for it. We’re playing a team that, maybe, we owe and we might just get lucky with that seventh game against them.

“I’m extremely proud of these players, we’ve come through a lot of adversity this season and, whether we’re the underdog or not, it doesn’t really matter to us. We’re very positive going in.”