Newcastle Vipers’ Danny Stewart looks for inspiration

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NEWCASTLE Vipers player-coach Danny Stewart hopes for two more inspirational performances this weekend – in league and cup.

Wednesday’s tremendous 4-3 win over Nottingham Panthers gives Vipers a great chance going into tomorrow’s Challenge Cup semi-final second leg in the East Midlands, and has boosted confidence for tonight’s important Elite League showdown with Coventry Blaze at Whitley Bay (7pm).

Stewart hailed his depleted squad – seven imports and just 13 skaters in all – after upsetting Nottingham, saying: “For us to beat a team of Nottingham’s calibre and skill level is an amazing achievement.

“Realistically the two teams are on different levels, but it shows that if guys buy in to a certain style of play, with everyone on the same page, you can have success”

Looking to the return, he added: “You have to approach it from zero-zero. Nottingham are very tough to play in their own barn. We have to start fresh, take it one shift at a time and try to guts it out.”

General manager Jaimie Longmuir added: “Nottingham are still strong favourites to go through – they’ll have a full house and will come out firing. We’ve put ourselves in a good position, but it’s still going to be tough.”