FIFE Flyers have given their play-off hopes a major boost after they beat the transfer deadline to sign an 11th import.
Centreman Joshua ‘Podge’ Turnbull is due to fly into Scotland today (Thursday) after quitting Central Hockey League side Missouri Mavericks.
Flyers hope he can take part in at least one training session before making his debut in this weekend’s away double header against Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers.
Turnbull, a 24-year-old from Wisconsin, is an NHL draft, having been selected in round five by the Los Angeles Kings in 2007.
He has made 25 appearances for Missouri in the CHL this season, scoring six goals, eight assists and 18 penalty minutes.
He came through the ranks at the University of Wisconsin and has previously played in the East Coast Hockey League with Utah Grizzlies, South Carolina Stingrays and Toledo Walleye.
The player described his move to Fife on Twitter as a “dream come true” and his arrival is sure to delight Flyers fans, who can now watch their team compete with a full import quota.
Player-coach Todd Dutiaume chose not to comment on the new signing as it had yet to be offiically confirmed by the club at the time of going to print.
However, with all five Gardiner Conference teams still in the hunt for both the title, and the play-offs, he stressed that there is no margin for error with just 11 games of the regular season left.
“The coaching staff and players want to win the conference bad,” he said.
“It’s so tight it’s difficult to make a call right now.
“You don’t want to be on the outside looking in, but it’s going to happen to two teams in this division, and we definitely don’t know which teams.
“Form going into play-offs is a huge thing so it’s all about peaking at the right time.
“We’ve got key injuries but every team does.
“We have a chance - absolutely - but it’s going to take more than what we’ve been doing now to win the division, and make the play-offs.
“The guys recognise that and we’ll see how badly they want it because when we stick to the system and work hard good things happen and we win hockey games.
“When guys get on their own program and don’t go to the wall we lose hockey games.
“It’s down to the players now to perform every night - and that includes the coaches because we are players as well.”
Flyers will likely face Sheffield on Saturday and Nottingham on Sunday without number one netminder Bryan Pitton, with back-up Blair Daly again set to deputise after his midweek heroics against Dundee Stars.
“Blair’s had big skates to fill because Bryan has been incredible for us this season,” dutiaume said.
“Blair hasn’t had a lot of minutes over the last couple of years but we’ve kept him around.
“It’s a crucial time when you lose a goalie for a week or two, and you need someone who can step in.
“Blair has to be commended on doing a good job for us, and I hope it continues as long as is needed.
“He was in a penalty shoot-out and overtime agaisnt cardiff, and then saved a crucial penalty shot against Dundee.
“It’s good for him and great for the team, and we’re not going to force the issue with Bryan.
“Unless we get a last minute decision from the physio, we will rest him for the upcoming weekend.”
Flyers travel to Sheffield on Saturday before an overnight stay ahead of the Nottingham match on Sunday.