Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Play-Off Clashes Excite Koenig

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Play-Off Clashes Excite Koenig

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

Trevor Koenig is looking forward to sampling the excitement of the Elite League play-offs final weekend as he bids to end his first season in British ice hockey by lifting a trophy.

Newcastle Vipers play Belfast Giants in Nottingham today for the right to face the winners of Cardiff Devils v Sheffield Steelers in tomorrow's final and Canadian netminder Koenig will be interested to see what all the fuss is about.

"It's going to be a great showcase game and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"It's exciting to think about it. There's been a lot of hype about how much electricity there's going to be in the air."

The Vipers have made a habit of springing surprises in this their first Elite League season and will need to do so again this evening. They were expected to make up the numbers after joining the league this term but finished the regular season in second, behind the Irishmen.

The Vipers performed more impressively in the play-offs, qualifying for the finals with a game to spare while the champions were second in Group A, but Koenig refuses to believe that will have a bearing.

"We had a good run against the teams in our group and we're going into the game in good form," he said.

"Belfast didn't do that impressively in their qualifying group but that happens sometimes when it's a short play-off period. It doesn't mean we're under-estimating them."

The Mobilx-sponsored club's success has been built on defensive solidity, and Koenig's role was recognised this week when he was named the league's best goalkeeper by the British Ice Hockey Writers Association.

"It's a nice compliment but it would be nice to take some sort of silverware from this season," said the 31-year-old. …

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