Flyers’ double incentive as Giants come to town

Flyers players celebrate the OT winner over Sheffield last Friday. Pic: Steve Gunn
Flyers players celebrate the OT winner over Sheffield last Friday. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers go into a one-game hockey weekend knowing the result could let them top their Challenge Cup group section AND make progress in the league.

The club’s home game against Belfast Giants counts to both competitions

And the coaching staff are looking to keep the wheels turning with another top performance.

Flyers scored a fantastic 2-1 OT win over Sheffield Steelers on Saturday only to come up short when Cardiff Devils visited the following evening.

Todd Dutiaume, head coach, says it is measure of how far his team has come this season that the dressing-room atmosphere was akin to a play-off final loss after the Welsh giants departed Kirkcaldy.

He admits the bar has been raised since September in terms of what it could achieve – and the visit of Giants is another big test.

Flyers were shut out in their recent trip to Belfast, but skated with one eye on a big game against Braehead the following evening.

Dutiaume said: “Last time we played in Belfast we were probably guilty of looking ahead to the Sunday against Braehead, because everybody knew how important that was.

“We had got news earlier in the day that we’d already qualified for the Challenge Cup and Sunday became the focal point.

“But it’s a team we should stack up well against, and this weekend has extra meaning because it covers two competitions and there is the possibility of topping our Challenge Cup group which would help our seeding.’’

Flyers spent of the week working on their powerplay which failed to ignite in the Cardiff game - a factor in their defeat.

‘’Before the weekend we were one of the top powerplays in the country, so things ebb and flow over the course of the season,’’ said Dutiaume.

‘’But we definitely need to address it this week and freshen it up.

Special teams will win or lose you hockey games.’’

In terms of win percentage, Flyers are the third best team in the EIHL to date, and the club wants to keep the feel-good factor going.

‘‘We try to stay level-headed in here and we’re going to take this group as far as we can push them,’’ Dutiaume.

‘‘They certainly don’t have to fear anybody in the league.

‘‘But we have to play respectful, and really stick to the process of what we’re trying to accomplish.’’