Fife Flyers target Dundee Stars to push ahead in Challenge Cup qualifiers

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Fife Flyers go head to head with Dundee Stars this weekend, looking for points to bolster their Challenge Cup qualifying bid - and kill off their Tayside rival’s hopes.

Tom Coolen’s side goes into the action on the back of a superb 6-4 road win at Coventry Blaze which clinched an opening win in the 2023-24 league campaign, and underlined the work ethic at the heart of the team.

And the coach will almost certainly have to pick his healthy scratches with his injured players back in the reckoning.

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Johan Erikkson made an immediate impact. Netting twice on his return from a spell on the sidelines, and with namesake Anthon also good to go after recovering from the hit which took him out of last Saturday’s game against Belfast, the team should be a full strength.

Tom Coolen on the bench (Pic: Scott Wiggins)Tom Coolen on the bench (Pic: Scott Wiggins)
Tom Coolen on the bench (Pic: Scott Wiggins)

Coolen won’t decide until the last minute who his two healthy scratches are. At Coventry, he dressed defenceman Brady Poteau, but only for the warm-up.

“We had one player with a groin injury, so Brady was ready to go if he couldn’t play,” said Coolen. “He got dressed and warmed up - and having that extra guy was important. It makes my job interesting for sure when they are all available - but it’s a good problem.”

Coolen was thrilled with the weekend performances, despite the 1-0 loss to Belfast Giants, followed by a come from behind win in the Midlands in which Fife only grabbed the lead in the dying minutes.

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“They scored, we scored,” said Coolen. “We never fell out of the game and we never gave up. That’s encouraging. We emptied our tanks against Belfast and then after a six-hour bus trip to Coventry we turned it around. I was very impressed with the mental toughness of our group. We’re finding out about ourselves as we gel, and aiming to reduce the mistakes we make and get better. It’s a process, but we have a very good foundation and a bunch of guys with a great attitude. There are good people in our dressing-room.”

Flyers will face Stars’ side minus tough guy Johnny Walker as he completes his two game suspension for a cynical check to the head in the game against Manchester Storm.

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