Nottingham Panthers coach Rick Strachan praises Mark Derlago’s ‘warrior mentality’ for immediate return to line-up


Rick Strachan praised Mark Derlago’s “warrior mentality” after he flew home from Canada and immediately helped Nottingham Panthers into the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

The forward was given compassionate leave to spend time with his seriously ill father, but he returned on Saturday and insisted he wanted to feature in the 5-1 win against Braehead Clan, a result which saw Panthers qualify from the group stage.

“He came back in and we really didn’t want to play him. He told us ‘you know, I really want to play’ and you have to respect that,” the Panthers assistant coach said.

“He’s a warrior and he wants to help his team-mates. He just loves hockey.”

Dan Spang got the first goal

Panthers were grateful to Patrick Galbraith for some smart saves in the first period before cutting loose in the second period.

Strachan felt they dominated after shaking off any hangover from being knocked out of the Champions Hockey League.

“We thought it would be an extremely tough game for us. There could have been a let down after the European thing,” he said.

“We got through the first period, probably a little slowly. Then there re were some great goals and some great finishes.

“It’s nice to see us score goals. We knew we had the capability to do it and to see it click is nice.

“We scored a bunch in the second and then a couple early in the third. The game was over at that point.

“We were extremely happy with how they played. Most of the second period we dominated them.

“We wore them down. They got a little tired.

“I think they were short benched. You could see Braehead fatiguing. They put a put up a bit of a fight at 5-1 but the game was already over.”



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