Fife Flyers complete their pre-season programme this weekend with a home double-header against German side EV Landshut.
The matches are the final chance for the Kirkcaldy side to warm up ahead of the new Elite League season, which starts with a home Challenge Cup tie against Glasgow Clan next Saturday, followed by a trip to Dundee Stars on the Sunday.
Flyers are again likely to be without four imports –Paul and Tim Crowder, Dylan Quaile and Danick Gauthier – who are all still finalising their move back from Australia after a summer competing in the AHL.
It means another chance for local youngsters to shine after Martyn Simpson and Scott Jamieson were both called up from Kirkcaldy Kestrels to feature in last week’s friendlies against Herlev Eagles.
Head coach Todd Dutiaume said: “We knew the dates were going to conflict with these four guys and we made a conscious decision to go with it.
“While it’s not ideal for training camp, these are key guys who will have an impact once they’re here, and hopefully that will be instant.
“A couple of them have, in fact, finished but it’s not like flying in from Toronto. It’s a little more difficult to get them in, and they need some time to process and tie up loose ends.
“We’re going to get these guys here as quick as we can, but time is running out for this weekend. I would love for them to be here for it, but these guys have been skating all summer, whereas the guys here need the ice time, so it’s a balancing act.As soon as we can get them and get fully prepared for the Glasgow and Dundee games the better.”
Dutiaume was relatively pleased with his team’s opening pre-season games as Flyers traded overtime wins with their Danish opposition.
With the competitive action just a week away, he is looking for a step up in performance levels this weekend against a side newly promoted to the DEL2 after winning the German third tier last season.
“Our guys are in the gym as well as on the ice this week, and we’ll just look to sharpen things up systemically ,” Dutiaume said. “We’re just adding layers all the time.
“It’s difficult because we’re short-staffed right now to do some of the things we naturally do, so things are having to be tweaked a bit, but we’re quite pleased with how things are going.”