Sam Zajac backs Leeds Chiefs to maintain new-found momentum

Leeds Chiefs' players celebrate their overtime win at leaders Telford Tigers. Picture courtesy of Steve Brodie.
Leeds Chiefs' players celebrate their overtime win at leaders Telford Tigers. Picture courtesy of Steve Brodie.
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SAM ZAJAC believes his Leeds Chiefs are finding momentum at just the right time as they prepare to skate out on their own home ice for the first-ever time.

The Chiefs will finally take to the ice at their Elland Road rink this Friday when they host Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steeldogs.

It was the Steeldogs who provided the Chiefs’ first-ever opponents at the start of the NIHL National season back in September.

On that occasion, Ben Morgan’s team prevailed 3-1 and remain ahead in the head-to-head series between the two, having won four of the six previous meetings.

But, while they remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the standings, there are signs of life in the Chiefs camp, with Zajac’s team having picked up five from a possible six points to keep alive their hopes of making the playoffs.

A 3-2 overtime win at leaders Telford Tigers was followed by a 4-1 win against Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday before the Chiefs came from 5-1 down to take second-placed Swindon Wildcats into overtime before losing out 6-5.

OPTIMISTIC: Leeds Chiefs' player-coach, Sam Zajac' 'Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.

OPTIMISTIC: Leeds Chiefs' player-coach, Sam Zajac' 'Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.

With 17 games remaining, the Chiefs are 10 points adrift of a playoff place, but player-coach Zajac is convinced he is now seeing the best of his team.

“I feel like we’ve got some momentum going now,” said Zajac.

“We’ve got three settled lines now and it’s getting the best out of everyone. We were determined to go into the new rink on the back of some good form and, against three of the best teams in this league, we’ve managed to do that.

“When we play to our strengths we can be a handful for other teams. We’ve just got to maintain that in the remaining games.”

We were determined to go into the new rink on the back of some good form and, against three of the best teams in this league, we’ve managed to do that.

Leeds Chiefs’ player-coach Sam Zajac