It was the only time they’ve done it so far, but former Braehead Clan netminder Kyle Jones reckons the play-off quarter final win over Nottingham Panthers was a game changer for the club in many respects.

Jones was a huge part of the team between 2013 and 2015 and at the end of his maiden campaign, played a key role as Clan made their way to Nottingham for the end of season play-off weekend, beating Panthers over two legs.

But the home second leg is one game that sticks out - no pun intended - for an incident where their opponents tried to stop Clan’s momentum in the 5-1 win on the night, completing a 9-1 aggregate success, with a penalty that threatened to derail their hopes.

“That play-off quarter final was the game that seemed to capture the imagination of the Clan fans,” Jones said. “We’d seen the arena sell out for the first time earlier that season, but that game is one I’ll never forget.

“We beat them pretty handily over the two games and I’m certain they had a full roster too so going into the second leg at home with a 4-0 lead from the away game was fairly momentous.  I remember they scored early in the home game and I sunk a little.

“Panthers actually had a penalty called against me for having illegal equipment.  There was an issue with the curve in my stick and it was one I’d been using most of the year.  Kudos to Craig Kowalski, the Panthers goalie at the time as he knew they weren’t right and tried to use it against me.

“It also didn’t help when I believe the Panthers equipment manager had ordered our stuff, because of the shared ownership between the two teams.  

“They tried to play it at the right time, during the second period and used it to put us in a five-on-three penalty, which we killed. It was a good strategy move, but thankfully, didn’t make a difference.”

Jones remains a cult hero with fans and got one of the loudest cheers when he returned for Matt Haywood’s Testimonial game in February.  The fact he’s the only import goalie in the club’s history to return for a second season is testament to the esteem in which he was held.

Nowadays, working for a Chicago-based insurance company, he still looks back on his time in Scotland with a great deal of fondness.

“It’s no secret how much fun I had at the Clan,” Jones added. “I still relish in the opportunity to have even played there so any time I get the chance to return, as I have done with Matt Haywood’s Testimonial, I’m right there.

“Some of the experiences I had seem like yesterday so to think that it’s been five and a half years since I was there is just crazy.  Sometimes I wish I could go back and re-live them all over again.

“The fans were really passionate about the team and while I can say that about the other places I played, you could get to know the Clan fans and chat to them after over a drink, which was a lot of fun.

“As soon as I completed my first year in Glasgow, I made the decision that I didn’t want to go anywhere and that I would retire there.  

“I enjoyed every aspect, from the fans, the people at the club, working with Ryan Finnerty as the coach so it was a no-brainer to return.  I didn’t want to play anywhere else and I didn’t.”