Fly us to the play-offs

Fife Flyers' Jason Pitton gets into the fighting spirit against Edinburgh last weekend. Pic: Steve Gunn
Fife Flyers' Jason Pitton gets into the fighting spirit against Edinburgh last weekend. Pic: Steve Gunn

THE Elite League play-off race reaches a dramatic climax this weekend - just don’t try to work out what might happen!

Of the five Gardiner Conference teams vying to make the play-offs, only three will make it, but with just one weekend to go, nobody knows who they will be.

For Fife Flyers, the mathematics are simple - win and you’re in the play-offs.

A home victory over Braehead Clan in the final league match of the season this Saturday will secure their place in the top eight - and complete the mission objective set-out by coach Todd Dutiaume when the season started.

Defeat, however, and the Kirkcaldy club could be one of the unfortunate two to miss out altogether as every Gardiner Conference team is still in with a shout.

Even Hull Stingrays - three points adrift at the foot of the table - could still sneak in the back door should an unlikely set of results go in their favour.

Should teams finish on level points - and there’s every possibility they might - then the EIHL has nine different criteria for separating them, right down to the drawing of lots.

It promises to be an exciting, if nerve-shredding, weekend and one of the biggest crowds of the season are expected to turn up to Fife Ice Arena to, hopefully, cheer the team over the line.

“We were joking about it back in January that it could come down to the last game - but it has,” Dutiaume told the Press.

“It’s been tight all year, and it’s what guys play for.

“There’s a lot of different scenarios and it all depends on teams winning and losing games, but hopefully we can come out and do it.

“Braehead will need the two points as well, so it looks like it’s going to be a battle.

“If we get the same effort and performance we got against Edinburgh last weekend hopefully that sees us through to the play-offs.”

Flyers could finish as high as sixth, or as low as ninth, and their final placing will determine who they face in the play-offs. However, assistant-coach Danny Stewart is only focused on beating Braehead.

“We don’t want to rely on other teams to do us favours,” he said. “This is the time of year to get into a winning mentality. If we make play-offs we’ll take whoever we get, although a team in our conference would be ideal.”

Saturday’s face-off is 7.15 p.m.

MATTHEW ELDER

Twitter: @mattelder_ffp