Neilson's side have struggled in the Elite League despite a promising start
Challenge Cup winning coach Corey Neilson says his main concern was keeping his job as Nottingham Panthers boss just a few weeks ago.
Neilson guided Panthers to a 4-3 aggregate win over Belfast Giants on Wednesday - their third victory in the competition in the last four seasons.
But a miserable run in the Elite League meant Neilson's position at the Panthers was in doubt last month.
"I thought I'd be looking for a job," Neilson told BBC Radio Nottingham.
"But luckily enough the ownership decided to stick with me.
He added: "That's three Challenge Cups. I love this trophy and, as well as that, we are playing great hockey.
"We have won 11 of our last 12 games and are in good form going into the play-off weekend."
retained the Cup with a gritty display
in Northern Ireland.
Giants, who trailed 3-1 after the first leg, tied the scores on aggregate as they secured a 2-0 first-period advantage.
But Jade Galbraith's second-stanza strike put the Panthers ahead again and they held on in the final period.
Panthers skipper Danny Meyers said he was proud of his team but would not turn his attention to the end-of-season play-offs.
He told BBC Radio Nottingham: "What an effort from the guys. We were down on bodies but we gritted it out.
"Two-nil down against the odds and this team has had some knocks but we don't half come back.
"It sets us up nicely for the play-offs. We're ready to battle, we battled tonight and we've battled lately. We're play-off ready."