Flyers still have work to do to make play-offs

Chase Schaber goes for goal against Edinburgh Capitals (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Chase Schaber goes for goal against Edinburgh Capitals (Pic: Steve Gunn)
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Chase Schaber goes for goal against Edinburgh Capitals (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Flyers are sixth in the Elite League, six points ahead of ninth-placed Manchester Storm, but with 12 points still up for grabs, Dutiaume has stressed that nothing is assured yet.

“There are some hungry teams chasing us, and until you’re mathematically there, nobody can make any assumptions,” he said.

“We can’t coast into play-offs.

‘‘ This spot is going to have be earned, and because we have takennights off in the past month and a half, we’ve now got to work to lock it up.”

Flyers are still searching for the consistency required to make a realistic push for play-off silverware with a plus .500 record in EIHL crossover games contrasting with their current last place standing in the Gardiner Conference.

“It’s apparent to everybody –players included – that when they want it, and they execute, we give ourselves every chance to win a game,” Dutiaume said.

“This is a unique situation because, in previous seasons, at this point we were on a surge and building up to play-offs. Right now we’re still looking to find that consistent level.

“If you do wrap up play-off spot, you’re still looking to win four games in a row to win a trophy, which is something we haven’t looked capable of doing through the season, although we’re capable of special performances.

“We really need to find that level of consistency because we’re more than capable of it. It’s not luck that you beat Nottingham and Belfast three times, and beat Cardiff and Sheffield up here.

“You have it in you, but it’s execution.”

Flyers face back-to-back away games this weekend with a trip to Coventry Blaze on Saturday followed by another Forth derby against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Justin Fox will return from suspension, while Bryan Cameron is also expected to put his injury to the test by lacing up the skates for the first time in over a month.

There will also be a place on the team bench for youngster Chad Smith after making his EIHL debut against Edinburgh last weekend.

“One of Jeff Hutchins’ roles here is to work on developing our young players and Chad has improved this season,” Dutiaume said.

“I hadn’t planned to give him any shifts against Edinburgh, but we certainly had nothing to lose.

‘‘Every time I can get him on the ice it’s only going to help his development.

“We have plans for Chad, and he’ll be with us for the rest of the season, with the outlook of having him signed as a regular player for us next season, if his development continues and he puts in the hard work.

“It’s great to see some youth out there because it’s been a long time coming.

‘‘By no means have we skipped over players or not given players a chance.

“Chad has worked himself and earned this spot, and it’s players like that who are going to make it to the top flight in this country.

‘‘Noboby gets anything handed to them.”