Elite League preview: Blaze expect tough Flyers challenge

Coventry Blaze Head Coach Chuck Weber is expecting a stern challenge from in-form Fife Flyers in the Elite League this weekend.

Blaze welcome Flyers to the Skydome on Saturday, before the return in Kirkcaldy on Sunday, aiming to close the seven-point gap on Todd Dutiaume’s team.

Ladbrokes are unable to separate the teams in the betting for Saturday’s game and both coaches expect a tight encounter.

Weber said: “That first game was the poorest this organisation has played all year. We bounced back with a win against them at home but we are a much different team than back then.

“But Fife are playing some very good hockey, they have won four in a row, they have had some timely scoring and (David) Brown has been making the big saves.

“We have to get points without giving up any and we would love to keep Manchester in our rear view mirror.

“It is going to be a big challenge for us particularly being without Cowley, Tait and Venus who are a huge part of the team.

“They are three of our best penalty killers and we rely on them to shut down other teams’ top lines and contribute offensively.

“With 14 games left we have a lot of games in our conference so it is going to be a long road, but it is a goal which is very attainable.”

Flyers beat Blaze 6-0 when they last met in Kirkcaldy in September, although Weber’s men did prevail 4-1 at the Skydome the following night.

Dutiaume says his team are keen to keep their recent run going: “It’s nice to have a couple of four-point weekends – it makes the weeks go that much smoother.

“Coventry are a team we haven’t seen for a while. They’re paying some good hockey right now – they’re a team we can’t take lightly.

“We’ve been creeping up the table, but teams like Coventry and Manchester are playing well so we don’t want to drop any critical points.

“Hopefully are winning ways will continue. Our guys are certainly up for it.”

Braehead Clan will look to follow up Thursday’s victory against Edinburgh as they face a weekend double-header against Manchester Storm, while the Capitals play two games against Dundee Stars.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Coventry Blaze v Fife Flyers
Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals
Manchester Storm v Braehead Clan

Sunday

Braehead Clan v Manchester Storm
Edinburgh Capitals v Dundee Stars
Fife Flyers v Coventry Blaze

(Image permission: Scott Wiggins)

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