No more margin for error as Flyers slide towards play-off trap door

Matt Nickerson's expression says it all as Flyers crash to defeat at home to Hull Stingrays. Pic: Steve Gunn
Matt Nickerson's expression says it all as Flyers crash to defeat at home to Hull Stingrays. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume admits his team cannot afford any more slip-ups after slipping towards the play-off trap door.

Only the top eight Elite League clubs qualify for the end of season play-offs and Flyers are now clinging onto their place after Saturday’s dismal home defeat to Hull Stingrays.

Flyers are just four points ahead of ninth-placed Edinburgh Capitals, who also have a game in hand, and with just four games remaining, there is no margin for error.

“We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty so I would certainly hope that we see no repeat of Saturday’s performance,” Dutiaume said.

“There’s eight points up for grabs and we need all those points if we want to jump higher in the standings, or even just to make the play-offs.

“Saturday was a set-back that we didn’t foresee - we just didn’t get out the blocks from the get go - but I’m not going to make excuses for these guys.

“At this point of the season we need consistency and to be on top of our game. It’s clear we didn’t have that on Saturday.”

Dutiaume put the defeat down to his team’s failure to heed his warnings over complacency against an under-strength Hull side.

“The game was lost before the first puck dropped,” Dutiaume said.

“They thought it was going to be a formality and that they could just show up and get the same result as a few weeks before.

“We had warned them against that all week before every training session and again before the game but they did not take heed.

“When you shut off at the start it’s very difficult to get that momentum back.”

Dutiaume hopes the defeat will act as the final wake-up call ahead of weekend double-header against bottom club, and play-off also-rans, Dundee Stars.

“Dundee are out of the play-offs but there’s no doubt in my mind they will want to play spoilers to our chances,” he said.

“That’s what they’ll be playing for, and they’ve got their pride, so believe me, they’ll be going for it.

“There are no easy games in this league.

“Dundee lost 12-0 in Cardiff last Saturday then beat the same Hull side that out-played us 6-1 on Sunday.

“Those kind of results are happening every week. In any game most teams are capable of beating each other.

“Edinburgh also still have to play Dundee twice so they could have a big say in what happens.

“We need to play with that level of desparation for 120 minutes and get the four points.”

Flyers are home to Dundee on Saturday (7.15 p.m) and away on Sunday (6.30 p.m).