Braehead Clan Head Coach Ryan Finnerty admits he’s full of respect for Fife Flyers ahead of this weekend’s crunch play-off games and knows his team have a challenge on their hands.
The Glasgow side are on form heading into the play-offs with seven straight wins, but Flyers have the better head-to-head record over them this season.
Finnerty said: “It’s great for the fans and the league that this tie is coming and we’ve been playing great hockey of late. It’s going to be a challenge.
“Fife have had a great season and made us work hard for the Conference title, pushing us all the way and I’ve got a lot of respect for Todd Dutiaume and his group there.
“Just like Fife the play-off finals is where we feel we belong and it gives a chance to showcase what we can do away from the league and the Conferences.
“We’re excited and we’re ready to embrace a new challenge. We’ve been playing play-off hockey now for a few weeks, especially within the Conference.
“We’re a confident bunch, but we know we’re going up against a really tough team this weekend.”
Clan won their remaining games to swipe the Gardiner Conference title from under the noses of their rivals last week, adding an extra edge to the tie.
Finnerty admits the mood around the team is different in the build-up to the games although the work ethic remains the same.
He added: “There seems to have been a different vibe in a way, now that we’re approaching the play-offs. While it was business as usual, the guys seemed loose and more relaxed.
“I think that’s down to the fact the league campaign has been wrapped up. We didn’t have a lot of room for error after a tough month in February.
“I have a strong group here and we’ve proved it by beating everyone in the league at some stage. Before we can even think about that, we’ve got plenty of work to do looking ahead to Fife first.
“We’ve played good minutes in Fife, but have yet to play a full 60 and they caught us pretty depleted last time, while we won comfortably there back at the start of the season.
“It’s going to be 50/50, but we’re riding high on confidence and have a lot of respect for Fife and their team.”
(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)