Key wins light a fire under Fife Flyers’ play-off push

Huge wins over Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers inside four days have lit a fire under Fife Flyers’ play-off campaign as the season enters its final month with everything to play for.
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The team has seven games left to play, five of them at home - and, crucially, they have moved into the eighth, and final, play-off spot on the back of Tuesday’s 3-1 win in the Lace City.

That has given them a huge boost as they prepare for another one-game weekend with a long road trip to take on Cardiff Devils on Saturday. While their play-off challengers have games in hand, Fife have the points in the bag and are in control of their own destiny - and they are one of the Elite League’s form teams.

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Their momentum since the turn of the year has delivered points each weekend, and the team remains focussed on its goal of hitting a top eight spot to make the post-season competition.

A fist bump for a young fan after Flyers win over Coventry (Pic: Derek Young)A fist bump for a young fan after Flyers win over Coventry (Pic: Derek Young)
A fist bump for a young fan after Flyers win over Coventry (Pic: Derek Young)

Flyers are one point ahead of Stars with their Dundee rivals logging just two wins in their last 13 starts, and two behind Glasgow Clan who are in ninth.

Tom Coolen, head coach, is plotting his route to the play-offs game by game, setting no specific points targets or worrying about what happens elsewhere.

He said. “We’ll play the teams we play - we can only control what we can. It’s hard to set targets - we play who is in front of us and do the best we can. My father said games in hand are only good if you win them. Tuesday’s win in Nottingham was huge for the whole organisation - a big two points to keep our plan in place.”

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Flyers will travel to Wales on Saturday, eager to turn the tables after a narrow 3-2 loss last time round.

“It is a one-game weekend,” said Coolen. “We don’t need to worry about the night before or the next one - we can prepare better.”

Flyers have a healthy roster to choose from for the big game, and Coolen would settle for a repeat of the outcome on Tuesday which saw a late goal from Collin Shirley clinch a big 3-1 win over Panthers who needed the points to keep their one play-off hopes alive from tenth spot.

“I was very pleased with the game,” he said. “We gave it everything we could. We were defending a 2-1 lead in the third, trying to make the right plays to ease the pressure when Collin hit the net.”

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Flyers have a decent run in with two thirds of their games on home ice, and, crucially, breathing space between most of them - they don’t return to Fife Ice Arena until the visit of Belfast Giants on Sunday, March 24 in another one-game weekend, with Nottingham Panthers in Kirkcaldy on Thursday 28th; a complete contrast to the horrendous December schedule which inflicted so much damage on their season.

And with a real buzz growing around the team, the hope is the fans will again flock to rinkside in good numbers as the team bids to make the play-offs for the first time since 2018.