Fife Flyers’ four-point weekend creates ripples across Elite League play-off pack

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Play-off pressure can do strange things to teams - some thrive, others buckle.

Fife Flyers four-point weekend certainly created a ripple across the chasing pack, coming at the same time as Manchester Storm and Glasgow Clan both sustained back to back defeats, and Dundee Stars emerged with just one point. The order has changed, with Fife moving ahead of their Braehead rivals, and narrowing that gap on Storm and also Stars.

Their challengers all have games in hand, but Flyers have the points in the bag, and are starting to find momentum. How the plates shift could make for fascinating watching over the coming weeks.

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The win in Guildford was Flyers’ first at the Spectrum this season, and their first four-point weekend since mid-November. Contrast that with Manchester’s one goal and zero points from their weekend action, while Clan saw a three-goal lead melt on home ice as Belfast Giants rallied to a big 8-5 win. While Jason Morgan’s team are playing to bumper crowds there’s more than a hint of dis-satisfaction among the support.

Johann Erikkson's goals have bene key to Fife Flyers victories (Pic: Derek Young)Johann Erikkson's goals have bene key to Fife Flyers victories (Pic: Derek Young)
Johann Erikkson's goals have bene key to Fife Flyers victories (Pic: Derek Young)

Clan have lost their last four games - and just three from 12 starts since the turn of the year. Morgan’s post-game interviews have pointed the finger of blame squarely at the dressing-room, noting that “certain guys do what it takes night in, night out” but adding: ”Others don’t.”

Clan trail Fife by just one point with two games in hand, and need to find ways of winning hockey games if they are to extricate themselves from ninth spot. The coach is looking to his players to do just that. The fans are looking at the coach.

Storm also have two games in hand over Fife, and lead them by one point, making their head to head at Fife Ice Arena next a huge showdown.

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A four-game winning streak has turned into three losses on the spin for the Altrincham team who now face three games in five days including home and away against Belfast Giants and a key game against Dundee who sit sixth but are not yet clear of the chasing pack.

There is a huge amount of hockey yet to be played, and this race is so tight it could easily go to the wire. The paths of Flyers, Storm, Stars and Clan will criss-cross regularly between now and the end of March, and every game could easily create further ripples. As Bob Dylan once sang, you better start swimmin’ or sink like a stone …

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