Confidence is high as Devils eye title

Solent & Gosport Devils forward Kris Abbott, centre. Picture: Dave Chapman
Solent & Gosport Devils forward Kris Abbott, centre. Picture: Dave Chapman
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Solent & Gosport Devils will be looking to cement their place at the top of the table tonight as they travel to London for a clash with Lee Valley Lions (5.15pm).

The Devils are a point clear at the summit of south division two of the English Ice Hockey League and boast two games in hand on their nearest rivals.

With the team currently on an eight-game winning streak, manager Paul Fitzpatrick is hopeful their good form can continue as they look to close in on the title.

‘Confidence is high,’ said the chief.

‘We’re not complacent but we go there absolutely looking to win.

‘No disrespect to Lee Valley, but it’s probably one of the easier games on our run in.

‘It’s vital we win the games we are expected to.’

With a mammoth goal difference of plus 108 – and four players in the league’s top 10 points scorers, including joint-captain Kris Abbott in second overall – there’s been no shortage of entertainment following the Devils this season.

‘We are a very attack-minded team,’ said Fitzpatrick.

‘Even the defensive line love to get forward so we tend to make the net-minders a bit nervous.

‘Being so attacking can sometimes leave you a bit exposed defensively but as long as we keep scoring more than the opposition it’s not a problem.

‘I think we are now in a position where people fear us coming to them rather then us worrying about going to places.’

Having racked up more than 10 goals in each of their past four games, there’s a suggestion the Devils are simply strolling through the division.

And while Fitzpatrick insists the team are not complacent, he is hoping it’s their turn to celebrate promotion.

‘As a team we’d rather have a close game and win by the odd goal rather then the big scores,’ he said.

‘We’d rather come off the pitch thinking “yeah, that was a good, tight game of hockey”.

‘Maybe we’ve outgrown this league.

‘We obviously want to win the title but we’re not getting complacent about it.

‘It’s a massive jump into the next division but we’re not afraid of the challenge.’