Elite League preview: Clan seek home ice boost

Braehead defenseman Scott Aarssen believes being on home ice this weekend can help Clan rediscover their form.

Clan host Belfast Giants on Saturday, ahead of their clash against Nottingham Panthers on Sunday, with the Elite League form book very much favouring the visiting teams.

Aarssen said: “These are huge games for us and not just these fixtures, but all of them all the way to the end of the season.

“Being at home for the two games gives us an advantage. The fans make it loud and noisy and can always be a huge part of our game and I think they’ll do that again for us in these two games.

“We like it to be a hostile environment for any away team and for our guys to get the home ice jump. We have to take advantage of that, especially with so few games left.”

Clan go into the weekend without a win in four and against Belfast, who have won their last three league games and a Panthers team that surged into the Challenge Cup final during the week.

“No matter what the situation is when it gets to a point where the team isn’t doing well, the players do feel it, even if they’re not being told it,” Aarssen added.

“You start to put pressure on yourself and I think every one in the organisation feels that at some point. The players certainly feel that and not just in getting the win, but performing to the best of our ability.

“Performing a hard 60 minutes and staying together, then the points should take care of themselves. We can’t deviate from that at all this weekend.”

Panthers, who are at home to the Giants on Friday night, head into the games on the back of their comprehensive cup success against Sheffield Steelers.

Forward David Clarke told the Nottingham Post the team is full of confidence at the moment.

“We’ve found our identity in the last couple of weeks – we’re defensively solid, we’ve got four lines going,” he said.

“Cam Janssen, Chris Lawrence and Robert Farmer are playing real physical and creating space for the other lines. We’ve got a nice identity.

“Confidence is flowing. We are where we wanted to be at the start of the season, right in the mix down the stretch.

“It’s all to play for. Everyone wrote us off for the last six weeks. We’ve known the league is different this year. There are a lot of good teams and a lot of games you can lose.

“It’s in our hands. We aren’t relying on anyone to do our job.”

Fife Flyers travel to Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday buoyed by Thursday night’s victory against Cardiff Devils.

Justin Fox (2) and Ryan Dingle got the goals as Flyers produced a breathtaking performance to come from 1-0 down to defeat the league leaders.

Head Coach Todd Dutiaume said: “It was a big win for us – we looked committed all night. Our defense were immense – they were really solid.

“I don’t think the win was undeserved and it’s up there with some of the best results we’ve had this season.

“We’re playing how this team should be playing – the players are enjoying themselves and that’s when we’ll get the most out of them.

“The Edinburgh game will be a different challenge. They’ll push teams to the limit at home at the end of the season so we have go there, be focused and play our game the way we know we can.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Nottingham Panthers v Belfast Giants

Saturday

Braehead Clan v Belfast Giants
Cardiff Devils v Coventry Blaze
Sheffield Steelers v Dundee Stars

Sunday

Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers
Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers
Dundee Stars v Manchester Storm
Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers

(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)

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