Flyers-Clan go head to head on eve of play-offs

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Todd Dutiaume has underlined the importance of tonight’s game between Fife Flyers and Braehead Clan on the eve of the 2015 play-offs.

The sides meet on the final day of the regular EIHL league season in front of a full house at Fife Ice Arena.

And the fact they then could meet head to head in the quarter-finals of the knockout play-offs gives this encounter added interest.

Clan come to Kirkcaldy just 24 hours after seeing their dreams of a first ever league title ended at the penultimate hurdle as Sheffield Steelers took the crown with a 2-1 win over Cardiff Devils.

But the Renfrewshire side still have Champions Hockey League ambitions AND a desire to return to the play-off finals weekend in Nottingham for a second season.

They are expected to bring a huge travelling support to Kirkcaldy, and the rink will be a wall of noise as the east-west rivals go head to head.

For Dutiuame, Flyers’ head coach, there is plenty at stake - and he wants his team to find the spark needed to propel them into the play-offs on a high.

He said: ‘‘It would have been interesting had it also been a title decider - that would have brought a real edge to the game - but it still remains an important match.

‘‘There’s a strong chance we will get them in the first round of the play-offs, and so, it means three games back to back - so this is game one in a series, and we want to put in a good performance.’’

Dutiaume accepted that Clan had held the upper hand this season in the club’s head to heads as they went for the championship, but Fife did have success earlier in the campaign.

The stage is set for a final day showdown which promises to be intense and fiercely competitive - and that could spark a cracking atmosphere; something the team is aware has been lacking in recent defeats on home ice.

‘’You can sense the crowd here,’’ said Dutiaume. ‘‘You can certainly sense their frustrations.

‘‘The crowd is packed with emotion and swings - go down a goal and they go quiet, but score and the place erupts. The key is to get one or two goals off the bat and then they really get into it - and make no bones about it, this rink jumps and buzzes and when that happens it can be a very inhospitable place for the opposition to come and play.

‘‘But it also gets so quiet you can hear a pin drop. It’s our job to get the crowd going.’’

>> Sunday’s game faces off at 6.30 and will be live tweeted by the Fife Free Press - if you are on Twitter, follow @fifefreepressed and @mattelder_FFP