Fife Flyers add third game and extensive travel to weekend schedule
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The club has stepped in to travel to play Belfast Giants after scheduled opponents, Coventry Blaze, remained in the EIHL’s COVID protocols and were unable to make the journey across the Irish Sea.
With all ten teams across the league battling to stay healthy and re-arranging fixtures at short notice, Flyers agreed to bring their planned April 3 trip forward to this week.
Steve Thornton, head of hockey, Belfast Giants said: “We would like to thank everyone at Fife Flyers for their quick efforts to help fulfil this fixture at such short notice.”
It means they will now also have an unexpected double header with Giants - with the return game taking place at Fife Ice Arena on Saturday night.
That game will be watched by just 200 fans rinkside because of the Scottish Government’s restrictions on crowds at indoor events.
Flyers are also set to travel to Nottingham on Sunday.
The ‘three in three’ comes at the start of a hectic January schedule of 13 games - 11 in the league and two in the Challenge Cup - and the club still has to reschedule the games postponed over the Christmas period.
Flyers have also confirmed dates for their Challenge Cup quarter-final showdown with Sheffield Steelers.
The first leg takes place down south on Wednesday, January 12, with the return in Kirkcaldy on the 19th.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, admits it’s a packed schedule, but he is only glad to be back on the ice after 22 days without a game.
He also revealed Flyers were extensively hit by COVID cases and players and team members having to self isolate - to such an extent it was impossible to organise a full training session until January 1. more than two weeks after their last competitive action on December 12.
That enforced lull in routine came as the club finally added two new players - centreman Brandon Magee, who netted in his debut against Dundee Stars on Monday, and forward Tommi Jokinen.
“We’ve been telling the players the guys were coming, and coming, so it was good to finally get them here,” said the coach.
“They couldn’t even meet their team mates at first as people isolated, but we are excited to get them here, and it give us a full roster for the first time.”
Flyers will be further boosted by the return from injury of team captain, Matt Carter, although that may be towards the end of the month - he is looking to start light skating this week.
Dutiaume was delighted with Monday’s win, and wants the team to draw confidence from it as they prepare for a lot of travelling, and playing this weekend.
“I thought we played well in Dundee and looked pretty fresh with having more faces in the line-up,” he said. “Our powerplay looked very strong, and we created some great chances.
“We did take the foot off the gas a bit in the third, which we can look at, but it was great to be back.”