Fife Flyers bid for Challenge Cup final place in front of 9000 fans at Sheffield

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Fife Flyers head south today with their eyes on the prize of a place in the Challenge Cup final.

They take on Sheffield Steelers in the second leg of the Challenge Cup semi-finals, in front of an expected 9000-strong crowd.

Two bus loads of fans are making the journey from Kirkcaldy along with many others for the winner-takes all match.

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Flyers won the first leg 3-2 and are bidding to reach the final of the competition for the first time in their EIHL history.

Fife Flyers and Sheffield Steelers go head to heads tonight (Pic: Dean Woolley)Fife Flyers and Sheffield Steelers go head to heads tonight (Pic: Dean Woolley)
Fife Flyers and Sheffield Steelers go head to heads tonight (Pic: Dean Woolley)

They will hand a late fitness test to forward Mikael Johansson who has missed the last two weeks through injury, and also sat out last weekend’s challenge games against Dundee Stars.

Todd Dutiaume, head coach, knows his side will come under pressure from the puck drop, but says the pressure is all on Steelers.

“Expectations around the league mostly lie in the direction of Sheffield, so they have to deal with that,” he said. “There isn’t a huge amount of pressure on our shoulders.

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“It’ll be a tremendous atmosphere at Sheffield - it always is. These are the games you play for, and, for us, there is a real goal at the end - the guys are very excited about the possibility of making the final.

“We are going to have to play smart, be tight defensively, and we cannot sit back and let them come at us in waves. We know they will look to hit us quick and early, so we have to match that tempo.”The Challenge Cup has delivered some of Flyers’ best performances of the season, and a place in the final against Belfast Giants would be a huge feather in their cap.

In the opening leg, they won two of the three periods of hockey, and also soaked huge up huge pressure as Steelers pushed back in the middle stanza.

Added Dutiaume: “Specialist teams were key that night with two powerplay goals. The guys also blocked shots and put their bodies on the line and we had great goaltending from Shane Owen once again.

“And Steelers could be play-off opponents come March. These are the series we want to win.”