THE race for the Elite League play-offs is reaching crunch time - and Fife Flyers are exactly where they want to be.
Flyers are top of the Gardiner Conference, and sixth in the overall league standings, with seven games left and on course to qualify for their first EIHL play-offs.
However, with only a small handful of points separating Flyers from the teams below them, any slip-ups this weekend could see them back to square one.
Flyers assistant-coach Danny Stewart is delighted with the team’s position but now wants the players to seize the opportunity.
“If you told me back in August that we’d be in this position at this stage of the season, I’d have been absolutely delighted with it,” he said.
“We’re past saying that we’re competitive - we’re a good hockey club now and the progress the team has made on and off the ice is unbelievable.
“Results are starting to come our way and we’re benefitting from hard work.
“However, no-one in this organisation is satisfied by what we’ve done.
“We’ve put ourselves in a great position and now we want to go and close it out.
“We want to win the conference and make it as far as we can in play-offs, and our destiny is in our hands right now
“It’s easy to scoreboard watch at this time of year and worry about what other teams are doing.
“We just have to worry about ourselves, and pick up points game in, game out – especailly down the stretch with our last five or six games being against teams in our conference.
“If we take care of our own business the conference title is in our hands.
“Winning it would mean as much to me as anything I’ve done in my career.”
Flyers welcome league leaders Nottingham Panthers to Fife Ice Arena on Saturday before travelling south to play Hull Stingrays on Sunday.
“Nottingham are the only team left that we haven’t beaten in the EIHL,” Stewart added.
“They are a top team and are bidding for a chamionship but we’ve just had a big four point weekend.
“The team has got some confidence, and there’s a little extra energy in the room this week.
“We’re going into that game planning to win it. When we stick to our gameplan we’re confident against anybody.
“We then go to Hull on Sunday, and to win this conference, we’re going to have to pick up points on the road.”
Flyers are now icing a full compliment of 11 imports for the first time since joining the EIHL in 2011.
“Our injury situation is looking better now than it was two weeks ago,” Stewart added.
“Casey’s ankle is something he will feel and play through for the rest of the year.
“We’ll give him days off when he needs it and make sure he’s strong for the weekends.
“Bryan Pitton is feeling well, and Chris Wands is going to try a skate this week, although I’m not overly confident he’ll be back anytime soon.”