One win required as Fife Flyers target Challenge Cup quarter-finals

Fife Flyers celebrate a goal against Belfast Giants last weekend. Pic: Jillian McFarlane
Fife Flyers celebrate a goal against Belfast Giants last weekend. Pic: Jillian McFarlane

Fife Flyers hopes of reaching the Challenge Cup quarter-finals rest on results this weekend.

A top three finish in Group A is required, and Todd Dutiaume’s men know that a win over Glasgow Clan at Braehead Arena on Saturday night will secure their place in the last eight.

Flyers complete their group fixtures at home to Dundee Stars the following night in the first of the new Sunday 5.30 p.m face-offs, and victory in both matches could even see the Fifers take top seeding, and a pick of their quarter-final opponents.

Two defeats, however, and Flyers could be facing an early exit from the competition for a second consecutive season.

The Kirkcaldy side will have to do without top forward Danick Gauthier in Glasgow on Saturday after the forward was hit with a one-match ban for slew-footing after the EIHL Department of Player Safety reviewed an incident in the 5-2 win over Belfast Giants last Sunday.

Dutiaume said: “It’s important we certainly win one of the two, but we’ll be shooting for both.

“We don’t want to look too much into the fine print of it all. We just want to make sure we win our hockey games and carry on in this competition.”

Saturday’s trip to Glasgow looks set to head towards a sell-out as the home side, who knocked Fife off the top of the EIHL standings after back-to-back wins in Nottingham, head into their homecoming match after a month on the road.

“It’s looks like they are playing confident hockey,” said Dutiuame.

“It’s two teams currently sitting at the top of the table, and the Fife-Glasgow games generally have something interesting involved in them.

“They played spoilers in our home opener here, so we’d love to do the same to them.”

Dutiaume is hopeful that Flyers change to an earlier 5.30 p.m face-off will help boost the crowd for Sunday’s match at home to Dundee.

“There’s always going to be people who like or dislike the idea, but we’ve seen it work well for teams on the road,” he said.

“It’s probably a more family friendly time for most, especially when the little ones who are going to school the next day can get home for a reasonable time after the game.

“I know they’re hoping it’s a positive response from the support, but time will tell.”

Two-way player Scott Jamieson is on crutches after suffering a strained achilles in a match with Kirkcaldy Kestrels on Sunday.