STEVIE Lyle feels that Swindon Wildcats’ EPL quarter-final first-leg defeat to Milton Keynes Lightning can only help them when they head into finals weekend on Saturday.
The Link Centre side saw their impressive seven game winning run brought to an end in front of their own fans on Saturday night.
However, Cats bounced back in emphatic style at the Skydome in Coventry to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-4 aggregate success following a 3-1 win in the second-leg.
The win over Lightning has set-up a semi-final date with league champions Manchester Phoenix in Coventry on Saturday afternoon.
And while Wildcats will be considered the form side, winning eight of their last nine matches, GB international Lyle, who was man-of-the-match in the second leg against Lightning, thinks that first-leg defeat will have refocused the team.
“It did us good to lose,” Lyle said. “I’m not sure if we were getting too confident.
“We are a lot more confident and there has been a couple of changes throughout the season which has made us stronger.
“We have Ollie Betteridge coming back from the GB under 18s so that will add even more firepower for next weekend.”
Despite Phoenix being crowned champions in the regular season, Lyle knows that with this being a one-off game to book a place in Sunday’s finale, against either Basingstoke Bison or Guildford Flames, nothing is guarantee.
“They (Manchester) are a very good team,” the Welshman added. “They won the league, but we have had very good games against them this year.
“This is a one-off game and anything can happen. We are just happy to keep this run going.
“We are going to get back on the ice this week work on a couple of things that we didn’t do right over the weekend and try and put them right.”
The win over Lightning was sealed with only 27 seconds left on the clock when Jan Kostal, who had assisted Aaron Nell and Henri Sandvik with their goals, was brought down in front of goal before netting the resulting penalty.
But Lyle says that they did not know whether the former Czech Republic international had squeezed the puck past Lightning netminder Stephen Wall.
“The whole rink went silent,” Lyle said. “We didn’t even know whether it had gone in - the red light didn’t go on or anything.
“Janny is an experienced guy, he was the right man at the right time to take that shot, luckily enough he held on to that shot, made one move went back and scored the goal.”
Lyle is also paid tribute to the large section of travelling fans who made the journey to Coventry to see Cats secure the memorable victory.
“I’m not sure if we had more fans than them,” said the Welshman. “We do appreciate it.
“For them to come out and support us goes a long way and it definitely helps us out.”