STEVEN MOORE says Leeds Chiefs can ill-afford to give up any more points on the teams immediately above them in NIHL National, placing greater emphasis on this weekend’s games against Bracknell Bees and Raiders IHC.
For bottom-of-the-table Chiefs, today presents an opportunity to exact swift revenge on Bracknell, Doug Sheppard’s side having handed Sam Zajac’s short-benched team their biggest defeat of the season a week ago when cruising to an 11-1 win.
It means the Bees are 2-0 up in the four-game head-to-head series with the Chiefs, who are tied 1-1 in their series against Raiders IHC, who they visit on Sunday.
The last trip to Romford for Leeds brought them an historic first-ever win and, so far, their biggest victory of the season when prevailing 4-0, although Raiders triumphed 5-4 when the two met in Coventry last month.
As it stands, Raiders are immediately above the Chiefs in the standings but 10 points better off while, more importantly, Bracknell occupy the eighth and final playoff spot a further two points ahead.
It is a sizeable gap for the Chiefs to bridge but, with 25 games remaining, one Moore thinks is achievable.
“We’ve got to find a way to get over the hump and get points out of these games, because other teams in the league are finding ways to win games and taking the top teams to overtime,” said 26-year-old Moore, who left his native Scotland for the first time last summer to be part of the Chiefs adventure.
“If we want to stay close to the pack and make the playoffs that is what we’ve got to do.
“A performance like last week at Bracknell, at this level, was unacceptable. It was very much a low point, it was embarrassing for most of the players on the team and so it should be.
“But playing them again so soon, is probably the best time to play them as it gives us a good chance to bounce back.
“We’ve got to beat the teams just above us in the standings - we can’t be giving them any more points. We need to win the series with Raiders and although we’re 2-0 down to Bracknell in that head-to-head, we’ve got to make sure we win both our home games against them.”
Elsewhere, Sheffield Steeldogs will look to build on their rampaging 9-2 New Years's Eve win over Leeds when they visit leaders Telford Tigers tonight.
Ben Morgan's team were denied 5-4 in the very last second on home ice two weeks ago and will be keen to even the score against Tom Watkins's side before returning to Ice Sheffield tomorrow to host Basingstoke (4pm).
Hull Pirates, who split last weekend's double header with the Steeldogs head to in-form Milton Keynes Lightning tonight ahead of tomorrow's visit to East Yorkshire from second-placed Swindon Wildcats.