Derbies to bring in the bells

KIRKCALDY;'FIFE FLYERS V Dundee'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

KIRKCALDY;'FIFE FLYERS V Dundee'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

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FIFE Flyers are aiming for a maximum eight-point haul in the big derby matches taking place either side of New Year.

The Kirkcaldy side claimed the first two against Dundee Stars on Tuesday night, winning 2-1 to claw back to within a point of their Tayside rivals.

Next up is Murrayfield for a Forth derby on Hogmanay, with the Edinburgh Capitals making the return journey to Fife Ice Arena on January 2.

Flyers then complete three games in four days with a trip to Dundee Ice Arena to face the Stars on Tuesday night.

Player-coach Todd Dutiaume knows his team’s hopes of making up lost ground in the Elite League table could hinge on the outcome of these key games.

“It’s an important time for the club,” he said. “We’re going through a run of games that we’ve identified as games we want to win.

“Hopefully, Tuesday’s win over Dundee gives our guys the confidence to go out and get the results we want.”

Dutiaume believes Flyers are beginning to show some form, with the Dundee win following good performances against Cardiff and Sheffield.

“That’s three games now where the effort has been there, and defensively we’re becoming a lot better hockey club,” he said.

“There have been some guys who have taken some serious criticism over the course of the season, mainly our British core D, but we’ve stuck with them because we’ve had them for six years and we know what they can do, and they’ve got a lot of pride too.”

Dutiaume has been impressed with the impact made in defence by new signing Tim Maxwell.

“He’s had a calming influence on our D, he springs our forwards, and he’s got great vision,” he said. “He’s an influential player all over the ice.

“He’s a slight guy but he doesn’t get knocked around, and he generally always makes the right play. We’re delighted to have him in the line-up.”

Flyers are likely to be without Matt Cohen and Danny Stewart for the upcoming derby games – and possibly longer.

Dutiaume explained: “Matt’s out long term with concussion but we’re going to take care of him and make sure he’s 100 per cent right before he comes back.

“It’s just a continuing medical problem that’s not going away. He’s just not feeling right, and I’m not going to put him on the ice until he’s symptom free.

“Danny got a foot injury in Cardiff and he’ll have an X-ray this week to make sure there’s no break.

“We’re going to use him on the bench until I can get him back in the line-up.”