Elite League preview: Flyers bid to continue Blaze dominance

Fife Flyers welcome Coventry Blaze to Kirkcaldy on Saturday hoping to cement their place in the top half of the Elite League table.

The Flyers lie fourth heading into the weekend and face a Blaze team who they’ve had the upper hand against this season, but Head Coach Todd Dutiaume is keen to ensure his players don’t take their opponents lightly.

“We’re 2 and 0 against Coventry right now, but they’ve just a made a couple of changes and are constantly looking to improve their club, which is key in this league,” Dutiaume told Fife Today.

“They come up up here for a Scotland swing this weekend and will be eyeing big points in our Conference to climb the table.

“Danny (Stewart) will have them ready, but we have to be ready too. It’s definitely not a foregone conclusion and we’ll need to be on the top of our game.”

Table-topping Cardiff Devils visit Sheffield Steelers on Friday targeting a return to winning ways in the league.

The Steelers are five points behind the Devils with four games in hand and with a match against Braehead Clan on home ice the following night, Player/Coach Andrew Lord admits it’s an important weekend.

“We just have to play our game – when we do we are very effective,” he told IceTime TV.

“The last few games we have got away from it, but I’m confident we will get back to it on Friday.

“Our game against Braehead sees both teams fully loaded with toughness and intimidation. I think both myself and coach (Ryan) Finnerty play a physical and hard-working style of game.

“I think right now both teams need two points really badly, so above all else that will be the focus.”

Nottingham Panthers face a crucial weekend of European action as they chase a place in the super final of this year’s Continental Cup.

Panthers are in Denmark for the next round of the tournament, where they’re up against the hosts Odense and top teams from the Ukraine and France.

Head Coach Corey Neilson said: “There are bumps and niggles and worries but the team knows what we will have to do.

“Two teams go through to the grand finale and we very much want to be one of those teams. We’ll have fans in the stands and everyone wants to do a good job for them.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Dundee Stars v Coventry Blaze
Nottingham Panthers v Odense Bulldogs (Continental Cup)
Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

Saturday

Dundee Stars v Belfast Giants
Fife Flyers v Coventry Blaze
Manchester Storm v Braehead Clan
Nottingham Panthers v Ducs d’Angers (Continental Cup)

Sunday

Cardiff Devils v Braehead Clan
Edinburgh Capitals v Coventry Blaze
Manchester Storm v Fife Flyers
Nottingham Panthers vs HC Donbass (Continental Cup)
Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants

(Image permission: Fife Flyers)

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