Wimbledon’s Michael Hoare said his club drew huge lessons from their first EHL experience against Amsterdam in 2016 to power their way to the FINAL4.
They beat UHC Hamburg 3-1 in the KO16 before edging out Mannheimer HC in a shoot-out after normal time ended 2-2.
Looking back on the weekend, Hoare told the EHL website: “We learned a lot from playing against Amsterdam last year. We played well in that game but fell a little bit short at the end.
“That experience really helped in this tournament and we knew we would have a good chance against UHC Hamburg if we put in a performance. Once we did that, we were very confident going into the Mannheimer game. Everyone spoke brilliantly over the weekend and it was a real team effort.”
The outcome was that they became the first English club to reach the FINAL4 since Reading in 2011 but he felt his side fully deserved to win through despite the close run game against Mannheim.
“I knew it had been a while; I didn’t realise it was all the way back in 2011!” Hoare added. “I felt we were the better team and could have won in normal time against Mannheimer.
“But the lads in the shoot-out were brilliant, scoring every one while James Bailey was brilliant. We have got a good record in shoot-outs before it in the English league and were pretty confident going into them.”
“To be honest, [James] didn’t have loads to do in the games but he really stepped up in the shoot-out and really enjoys them. He was waiting for his time to shine; I think he was unfortunate not to get two saves in the shoot-out but it’s always nice to win it ourselves rather than them make the mistake.”