Third time lucky for Sheffield Steelers?
Robert Dowd has more reasons than most for wanting a win in Minsk this weekend.
He is one of only two Sheffield Steelers to have played twice against the Belarussian team Yunost - coming on the losing side both times.
He and skipper Jonathan Phillips were in the David Matsos-coached side which lost to them 4-1 in January, 2010.
Dowd made a goal for Matt Hubbauer in that game and scored against them last November in a 7-1 hammering in Denmark, in the qualifying round.
Now Dowd - Sheffield’s top scorer - and his team-mates hope to beat the hosts as well as Nomad Astana and Ritton in a four team tournament Continental Cup finals, starting on Friday.
Dowd can’t remember much about the first game against Minsk, in Grenoble, when he played in a side featuring Jeff Legue, Joey Talbot and Doug Sheppard.
“I can’t recall a lot, I’ve slept since then” he quipped. “But I have half a memory of getting the puck across to Hubbs at the back door. Sadly I remember a lot more about the 7-1 game!
“We’d had an awful travelling day beforehand and we’ll be a lot better prepared this time.
“We know we’ll be up against it, against three very good teams.
“We will be facing a lot of high skill and fast pace, particularly against Minsk - and the refereeing in competitions like this always seems to come as a shock to British teams.
“We will be the underdogs and enjoy that.
“Winning the first game in tournaments like this is always huge - you can pick up momentum after that.
“We are looking forward to it - and it will be a fantastic experience for the younger members of the team too.”
Kieran Brown, who has recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, will be in the squad.