SLOUGH Jets head coach Lukas Smital has not ruled out the possibility of challenging for the National Ice Hockey League South Two title this season, writes Rob Stevens.

The Jets suffered defeat in their two opening matches but have since put together an incredible 12-match winning streak which began back in September.

The 8-5 victory away at Bristol Pitbulls on Saturday leaves Slough in second position in the league table and just one point behind leaders Chelmsford Chieftains.

Smital told the Observer: "You never think it would be going this way or that this kind of thing could happen.

"The season is a work in progress. You start with training and the first game and then go from there.

"We've shown great character and played really well at times. On other occasions we've struggled a little bit but still found a way to win those matches.

"I still don't know what to expect but it's a very tight league with one point difference between first and fourth with all to play for.

"We have a big game coming up against Chelmsford (Saturday 12th January, 5.45pm) and that will give us ideas on where we are.

"It is really hard to predict where we're going to end up but if we could carry on with our levels of performance it's possible we could end with a bonus this year.

"The goal was to finish in the first eight like last season but circumstances change and that's where we are. You can never predict things like that."

Looking back on the win in Bristol last weekend, the player-coach said: "It was a good performance. We dominated and pretty much dictated the game. We were the better team in all areas, no question.

"I reckon for 58 minutes we were good but then got a little bit sloppy and Bristol scored twice in the last 25 seconds."

The Jets bring the curtain down on 2018 with a visit to the Slough Ice Arena from rivals Bracknell Hornets this Saturday (5.45pm), and Smital expects to finish the calendar year with another win.

He said: "Every game is different but it would be nice if we finished off with one more win.

"We got a narrow win against Bracknell last time but I thought we showed great character at times in the game.

"The game this Saturday will be different. The size of rink is different, ours is smaller, but we know what to expect and what game Bracknell play.

"We don't want to give them anything for free. We will definitely prepare well and I expect another good win for us."