Fife Flyers’ play-off ambitions will face their toughest test yet as Belfast Giants come to town this weekend.
It’s a head to head between the champs and the challengers - and with a free Sunday, Flyers can pour everything into the big game.
Defensive rock, Matt Nickerson, returns from a one-game suspension to patrol the blue-line against the red-hot champions.
Giants are on a 13-game winning streak in the EIHL, but Fife are the league’s ‘other’ form team with eight wins from nine starts.
Head coach Todd Dutiaume is looking forward to locking horns.
“When we went there we played exceptionally well and took them to OT,” he said.
“For sure they are a hot team, and this is a big, tough test, but we have to come out and play with a lot of belief.
“Every big game that comes along our guys find ways of winning - they are tight together.
“Things are working for us and the guys are enjoying their hockey. They deserve to.
“Our focus is that eighth spot and the play-offs, and then hit it with real momentum.”
The transformation has changed the spirit in the room - and set the scene for an exciting finale to the season.
Added Dutiaume: “We knew the play-off run was going to be tough and we knew we had to put a good string of results together to catch the other teams - and now they are definitely catchable provided we keep our form going. We have to keep winning.’’
Flyers’ 3-1 midweek win over Dundee Stars certainly raised the bar, and put pressure on the teams directly above them who are now starting to look nervously over their shoulders - Cardiff, Hull and possibly Coventry are all potentialy vulnerable to Fife’s serious, and sustained charge.
The bench has also been shortened slightly was lines have clicked, but the players moved to the fringe remain key parts of the team.
‘’We started the season rolling five on D, so some guys are sitting just now,’’ said Dutiaume, ‘‘but the lines right now are working and are successful.’’