Ferrara plans to get his handson a trophy again
Captain James Ferrara leads Phantoms into NIHL Final Four battle determined to capture another major trophy in Coventry.
Ferrara proudly lifted the English Premier League play-off crown at the Skydome in 2015 after also hitting the clinching goal of a final triumph against the ill-fated Manchester Phoenix.
A wonderful weekend three years ago began with a semi-final success against Telford – the same team who are blocking Phantoms’ path in the climax to the current campaign this Saturday (1pm).
And Ferrara believes there are plenty of similarities between the current city side – who are fuelled by the frustration of agonisingly missing out on NIHL Division One South league and play-off honours to Basingstoke - and that which performed so wonderfully and celebrated so spectacularly three years ago.
Ferrara said: “The semi-final against Telford in 2015 was a huge battle. I don’t ever remember part of a team who bought into a system and pushed to the limits in the way we did that afternoon.
“I also don’t remember ever being so tired after a game, meaning most of the Sunday when we won the play-offs was a blur, but it was also one of the best moments of my career with some of the best team-mates I’ve had.
“The chemistry and bond we have developed this year – coupled with the disappointment of not already having won silverware – reminds me a lot of the 2015 team.
“We know we can achieve great things and it is time to use previous experiences to help us show everyone what we can do.
“We always respect our opposition, but our focus is on our strengths as we fight for the trophy.”
Telford finished third in NIHL Division One North, seven points behind champions Sheffield, but they slammed the Steeldogs 8-3 in that section’s play-off final last weekend to roar into Coventry in top form.
The Tigers roster still features many of the players who made the Shropshire club a force in the final years of the English Premier League.
Veteran former Great Britain international defenceman Jonathan Weaver is still going strong at 41 while forward Rick Plant is also into his fourth decade.
Captain Jason Silverthorn, Phantoms’ 2009 treble-winner Joe Miller, and former Pirates and Phantoms man Warren Tait are other notable names in a side that boasts vast experience. Miller actually retired in December but has returned to bolster Tigers’ bid for trophies.
Ferrara added: “There are players we know at Telford who are experienced and have a lot of quality. Their win against Sheffield last weekend was quite convincing.
“I’m looking forward to the match-up. Any game at this stage of the season is going to be a battle.”
The winners of this clash will go on to face either Basingstoke or Sheffield in the Sunday (5pm) final.