SATURDAY: Sheffield’s conquerors aim for another surprise

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Hull Stingrays player-coach Sylvain Cloutier has told his players to “enjoy the moment” as they prepare for the most important game in the club’s history.

Stingrays caused the biggest upset in the Elite League era when they knocked out Sheffield Steelers to reach the play-off finals weekend for the first time.

They will now meet defending champions Nottingham Panthers tonight knowing once again they are huge underdogs.

But Cloutier said: “There is no pressure on us at all.

“What we accomplished last week was amazing. I have played in the NHL and have won the Calder Cup but it was the best win of my career.

“I am just so proud of the team for getting to Nottingham and I have told them to enjoy the moment. It does not matter if you are 38 or 16, it is something they may never experience again.

“We have been written off all season but we will go there, stick to our game-plan, do our best and see where it takes us.”

Panthers bench coach Rick Strachan insists they will not be taking Stingrays lightly.

He said: “Against all the odds Stingrays got the job done. I was at the game and they played well.

“We know we will need to be at our best and we will not be underestimating the Stingrays, they are hot right now.”

Having spent six seasons as Stingrays coach, Strachan is pleased to see them upset the applecart and book a place in the Final Four.

He added: “It is always nice to see your old club do well. Clouts has done a great job there and it is good for the sport.

“It is always good when the little guys can knock off the big guys. We know it will not be easy.”

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