Flyers shooting for play-off target

Fife Flyers marksman Derek Roehl is 'shooting for the play-offs' - at the archery centre, Cluny Clays. Pic: Neil Doig
Fife Flyers marksman Derek Roehl is 'shooting for the play-offs' - at the archery centre, Cluny Clays. Pic: Neil Doig

He has thrilled fans with his bow and arrow goal celebration, now Fife Flyers marksman Derek Roehl is shooting for the Elite League play-offs.

Flyers host their latest ‘Pack the Barn’ game this weekend - a promotion designed to boost the crowd and raise the roof - as they take on the best in the business, EIHL champions Belfast Giants, at Fife Ice Arena.

Around 2000 fans are expected to descend on the Gallatown rink, and with just four league games left, the two points are crucial in Flyers pursuit of a place in the top eight.

And Roehl, who got a chance to show off his archery skills for real at Cluny Clays this week, insists that with a huge home support behind them, Flyers can topple the Giants on Saturday night.

“We’re feeling good, playing good hockey, and we’re ready to finish the season strong,” Roehl told the Press.

“We’re looking forward to Saturday - we had a big turn-out the last time we played them, it was loud, and although we lost, the game was in the balance until the final three seconds.

“If the fans play their part, and we have everyone going for 60 minutes, hopefully we can get the result this time.

“And if I score, I might have to pull out the bow and arrow, we’ll see ...”.

Roehl was speaking ahead of the 7-3 defeat in Hull on Wednesday that has all but ended Flyers hopes of catching the Stingrays in seventh place.

Flyers are now firmly focused on overtaking Cardiff Devils in the battle to secure the eighth and final play-off spot, and although they are currently two points behind the Devils, Flyers have a game in hand.

With nine wins from their last 12 games, the Kirkcaldy side are also enjoying their best ever run of EIHL form under head coach Todd Dutiaume.

“I don’t think we had our sights set as high as we’ve managed over the past month and a half, but it says something for the competitiveness of the league that these other teams around us keep winning games as well,” Dutaiume said.

“We’ve been on a great run and put ourselves right in the mix of things, but I don’t want it to be overshadowed by stumbling at the last hurdle. I want the guys to finish the job.”

Belfast - who are 23 points clear at the top having wrapped up the title a fortnight ago - are the only team Flyers have yet to beat this season.

“Belfast have been on a special run and as far as seasons go, they don’t come any more special,” Dutiaume said.

“Their winning streak was brought to an by Sheffield last weekend so hopefully we catch them on an off night when we’re flying.

“We fancy our chances going into every game and anything can happen in our building when the team is playing well.

“It’s our Pack the Barn night and we always seem to perfom well on nights like that.”

Flyers then travel across the Tay on Sunday to face Dundee Stars, who clinched the Gardiner Conference with a victory over Braehead on Sunday.

“They are well deserved winners of the conference, but we’ll be going up there with a point to prove,” Dutiaume said.

“If we get ourselves up to seventh place that could be a quarter-final draw right there.

“Dundee will be aware of it - and we’re aware of it - so this could be a preview of things to come.”