It’s time to believe in this team

Jono Bullard says it’s time to put negativity aside and get behind this Panthers team.

After a 2-1 road victory in Cardiff this evening Panthers have now won their last seven games consecutively (6 EIHL, 1 Challenge Cup). Perhaps a more pertinent stat is that Panthers have only lost once in regulation time in the EIHL this season. Out of 11 games now played we’ve managed to pick up points in 10 of them (8 wins, 1 regulation loss, 1 overtime loss, 1 shoot-out loss). A quite incredible set of results tonight has sent Panthers into 3rd place, just 1 point behind joint leaders Belfast Giants & Braehead Clan and 2 points ahead of the Sheffield Steelers in 4th place. We have 2 games in hand over Clan & Giants while Steelers have played one less game than us.

With those statistics it shows that the Panthers are very much in the mix when it comes to challenging for the title, however you wouldn’t know it looking at the forums, Twitter & Facebook recently. There has been a lot of negativity towards the team this season despite the results. ‘We’re getting bullied’, ‘We’ve haven’t got a goalscorer’, ‘Why is a club with our resources not replacing injured imports?’ are just some of the comments seen in recent weeks. It seems to me that some fans of the club cannot wait for us to fail so they can say ‘I told you so’. That obviously is just supposition on my part, but I cannot understand why some are still getting on the clubs back while we’re continuing to win games. Granted, we haven’t seen the usual free-flowing attacking hockey that has been commonplace with Corey Neilson Panthers teams, but what we are seeing is a team in every sense of the word. They are fighting for each other and grinding out wins and I don’t believe we have seen such a hard-working Panthers side in a very long time.

I watched the webcast of the Cardiff game tonight, we showed grit & determination to be first to everything and defensively I thought we were outstanding. We stood up for ourselves when needed and came away with a vital 2 points from a rink that is notoriously difficult to get a result in. With the other results tonight and if we dare to dream and we end up winning the title, we could look back to tonight as a pivotal moment. There’s still an awful lot of hockey to be played between now & then but I feel it is now time for everyone to believe in this Panthers team as I firmly believe that this team can win the EIHL title once again.

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