The stakes are high - we cannot afford mistakes

Flyers take on Hull for the sixth time in as many weeks on Saturday
Flyers take on Hull for the sixth time in as many weeks on Saturday

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume admitted that any repeat of Sunday’s mistakes at Braehead will kill his team’s play-off hopes.

Flyers followed an impressive 5-1 win over Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday by gifting goals to the Clan in a 5-2 away defeat on Sunday.

Dutiaume confessed that he was both surprised and concerned to see such glaring errors at a crucial stage of the season.

“Saturday’s performance was exceptional,” Dutiaume said. “The guys were switched on for the most part and the scoreline reflected that.

“Sunday was a big game for a number of reasons and I think that for at least half that game we stuck with them.

“Then some of the mentally weak plays and errors we were making weeks ago crept back into our game, and I just can’t put my finger on it.

“Guys have to realise they are not just playing a game - it’s their job and profession - and they can’t let such glaring errors creep in when the stakes are so high.

“We thought we had eradicated them - the last few weeks have almost been flawless hockey - so we know that the guys are capable.

“We’ve shown we can do it as a team, and that’s the frustarting part.”

Flyers are still holding onto sixth place in the Elite League despite a mixed run of results, but Dutiaume insists that his team must look to take maximum points from their five remaining matches to take momentum into the play-offs.

“The team has to go on mini-run,” he said.

“Not only to secure our play-off position but to achieve anything in the play-offs we need to put together three or four wins.

“It’s vital we start that now and that guys realise we can’t get by doing the bare minimum.

“It’s the business end of the season and never mind taking nights off, we can’t afford to be taking any shifts off. The stakes are that high.”

Flyers will look for a sixth straight home win when Hull Stingrays visit Fife Ice Arena for the Kirkcaldy club’s only game of the weekend this Saturday (7.15 p.m face-off).

The match is a crucial one in the race for a top eight finish with Hull currently three points behind Flyers but with four games in hand.

“I would rather have points in the bag than have to play catch up,” Dutaiume said.

“I’ve said all along our success will come from us taking care of our own games, and not relying on other teams for favours.”

Dutiaume would also prefer to have the team’s play-off place secured before the final league game against title-chasing Braehead at Fife Ice Arena on March 22.

“You never want to leave things to the last minute,” he said.

“We still need points to get ourselves into the play-offs but whether or not it comes down to the last game our goal remains the same.

“That last game of the season could possibly be a quarter-final match up if all the chips fall - it might be the start of athree game series.

“Whatever it comes down to, we’ll need to beat them once, if not a couple of times, to win anything.”