Slough Jets head to Coventry on a high
Slough Jets fans may be dreaming of play-off glory after a thrilling quarter final win over Milton Keynes Lightning, but player coach Doug Sheppard is refusing to get too carried away.
After a disappointing 7-4 reversal away from home on Saturday, the Jets produced a stunning comeback at the Hangar on Sunday to secure an 11-10 aggregate victory thanks to a dramatic overtime winner.
Slough will now face league leaders Guildford Flames in tomorrow’s semi final in Coventry. The winners will contest Sunday’s final with either Manchester Phoenix or Sheffield Steeldogs.
“We’re taking one game at a time,” said Sheppard.“We’re on a high right now and it was one step in the right direction.
“We have two games to go but if we play like that and put our backs against the wall we’ll be fine.”
The Flames, who finished the regular EPL season as table toppers, overcame a 3-2 first-leg defeat against Peterborough Phantoms to win 10-7 on aggregate.
Despite finishing fourth, Slough beat Guildford on three occasions this season, falling to two defeats and one overtime loss.
Sheppard said: “We had a pretty even season series and our head-to-head record matches up well.
“But we’re confident and we know we’ve got a great team when we play the way we can.”
A place at the play-off weekend seemed unlikely when Milton Keynes raced to a 5-1 lead within 26 minutes on Saturday.
The Jets battled back to make it 6-4 after the second period but conceded a seventh late in the game.
It was role reversal on Sunday with Slough leading 4-0 early in the second period, 8-7 overall, before two Lightning goals left the Jets trailing on aggregate.
Second goals of the night for Adam Calder and Dan Davies swung the balance back in the hosts’ favour, but once again they were pegged back by Blaz Emersic’s penalty with 18 seconds remaining, making it 6-3 on the night, 10-10 in the series.
But the Hangar’s biggest crowd of the season were celebrating in the fifth minute of overtime when Mindy Kieras crucially netted the winner.
“It was so crazy. It was one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in and for the fans one of the most exciting weekends they’ll ever witness,” said Sheppard.
“Conceding a late one on Saturday was a bit demoralising but we still knew it could happen.
“On the bus I told them we couldn’t do a thing about what had just happened, and reminded them how nice it was going to feel when we came back and won the series.
“We believed, stuck with it and played our best game of the year when we needed it most.”