We’re up for the cup, says Flyers coach

Kevin Regan makes a save against Nottingham. Pic by Steve Gunn
Kevin Regan makes a save against Nottingham. Pic by Steve Gunn

Todd Dutiaume insists the Challenge Cup is just as important as the league - because he believes Fife Flyers can win it.

The Kirkcaldy side have two home matches this weekend, both in the Challenge Cup, against Dundee Stars on Saturday, and Belfast Giants on Sunday.

Flyers have already qualified for the quarter-finals but head coach Dutiaume wants to finish as high up the Group A standings as possible.

“Just because we’ve qualified we don’t want to take our eyes off it,” he said.

“A couple of wins this weekend gets us higher up in the group and into a better draw for the next round.

“Anything can happen once you get to these home and away knock-out games.

“Belfast are flying right now but nobody else is really dominating this season and the league is tight.

“Teams are coming up to Scotland and losing all the time, and Scottish teams are winning down south.

“I definitely feel we’re in with a shot of winning the Challenge Cup.”

Flyers will be looking for revenge over rivals Dundee following Sunday’s 6-3 defeat in the Gardiner Conference.

“We definitely didn’t have the same edge and desire as we did against Nottingham on Saturday night,” Dutiaume said.

“I don’t know how exactly why that should be and we certainly questioned it after the game and throughout the week in practice.

“When we put in good performances like we did on Saturday we have to find a way to follow it up and go for the four-point weekend.

“We’ve had some difficulties against Dundee this season but I’d like to think that on home ice we’ll make it tough for these guys.”

Sunday’s match will be Flyers first against Belfast this season - a side who currently lead both the Elite League and Erhardt Conference standings.

“Belfast are the best team in the country right now - although we haven’t seen them yet,” Dutiaume said.

“It’s two tough games for us but we got a monkey off our back last week, so hopefully the guys come out ready to get the two wins.”

Flyers treatment table has seen plenty visitors this week with Justin Dacosta, Andy Contois and Chris Wands all suffering from injuries.

Dacosta will not be fit in time to play at the weekend but Dutiaume was hopeful both Contois and Wands could feature.

Dutiaume himself has not featured on the ice this season yet after suffering a broken kneecap in the final game of last season.

However, the 40-year-old will make the next step in his recovery when he undergoes surgery next Wednesday to have metal pins removed from his knee.

Dutiaume added: “It’s pretty minor surgery so within a couple of weeks I’ll be hoping to be able to start working this leg like I should.

“Whether I’ll be able to come back and play this season is still up in air right now. I’m not going to risk re-injuring it.”