Flyers to concentrate on themselves as play-off pressure builds

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume. Credit: Richard Davies
Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume. Credit: Richard Davies

Fife Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume reckons the best way for his team to beat their play-off rivals is to ignore them.

A run of three defeats in four games has seen Flyers play-off position come under threat from Hull, Coventry and Edinburgh - who have all closed the gap and are now within touching distance of the sixth-placed Fifers.

Dutiaume, however, insists Flyers should not worry about what other teams are doing, insisting they will secure a top eight place if they only concentrate on themselves.

“There will be lots of twists and turns but it’s important we focus on ourselves,” he said.

“We can’t get caught up in what other teams do. We all have to play each other and someone has to get the points.

“As long as we take care of our business and win hockey games we’ll be alright.”

This Saturday, Flyers face Hull Stingrays for the second time in six days following Sunday’s devastating 5-4 defeat in Humberside that saw the home side grab a winner in the final minute of regulation time.

“We’re very disappointed and upset with the result and at the time it was a pretty tough one to swallow,” Dutiaume said.

“But on reflection we certainly gave ourselves a chance to win the game - it was individual errors that cost us.

“That’s a few games now that have been decided on our mistakes and that’s not something you want to say very often at this stage of the season.

“We’re already in play-off hockey so we can’t be having these errors. If we can eliminate them we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.”

Flyers make the long bus journey to Cardiff on Sunday to face a Devils side vying for the Elite League title, but Dutiaume insists points are essential.

“We need 120 minutes every weekend - and there are only five weeks left to do what it takes,” he said.

“We need everyone on board and bringing the work ethic - that’s bottom line.”

Flyers are prepared to make a late decision on the fitness of Matt Nickerson ahead of the weekend.

The big enforcer has missed most of the last three games due to an upper body injury and with Kyle Horne likely to miss the rest of the season, Flyers are currently two key defencemen down.

“Missing Kyle and Matt has definitely caused us some issues in the line up,” Dutiaume said.

“It’s the same as when we were missing Auger - guys can have great individual games, but all the extra minutes takes its toll.

“We’re hoping Nickerson will be back this weekend so we’ll leave it until late in the week to make a decision, but we need him to be as close to 100 per cent as possible or he won’t be playing.

“Kyle, however, is still a long way off.”