Ice Hockey: Night of reckoning beckons for Storm

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MANCHESTER STORM'S coach, Kurt Kleinendorst, admits his side face "the last-chance saloon" tonight in a quest for European League glory.

Storm currently prop up the four-team Division B with just one point from their first three matches - that from a penalty-shot defeat to Sparta Prague, who are tonight's opponents at the MEN Arena. With Helsinki needing a point to clinch their place in the last eight, the remaining qualification place is between Storm, Sparta and the Swedish champions, Brynas.

Kleinendorst knows that his side must win if they are to have any chance of progressing to the next phase. "We always go out there with our minds set on winning," he said. "But people have to be realistic and understand just how difficult playing in Europe is.

"We aren't Manchester United in Europe, we're Manchester Storm in Europe, and that means to get the right result we've got to be perfect.

"We certainly realise this is the last-chance saloon for us, and of course we want to get through to the semi-finals, but a lot of things have to be right for us to achieve that."

Storm will also find out their Benson & Hedges Cup final opponents tonight, with London Knights holding a 5-3 lead over Bracknell Bees from the first leg going into the return on their own ice at the Docklands Arena. Knights are currently riding high on the back of a six-match winning streak and are up to second in Sekonda Superleague, although Bees are back on top after a superb 10-2 home win over Sheffield Steelers on Sunday night.

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