Fife Flyers face a tough weekend double-header as they bid to continue their excellent start to the Elite League season.
Flyers host Dundee Stars on Saturday in the Elite Challenge Cup, before travelling to face Cardiff Devils in the league the following day.
With three wins from their opening four league and cup games, Assistant Coach Jeff Hutchins says he’s looking forward to the weekend – particularly the fixture against his former employers.
“I think Dundee will be a fast opportunistic team that can punish you if you don’t play discipline in all areas,” said Hutchins.
“They have some firepower and a goalie that will keep them in every game.
“I will always have a special place in my heart for Dundee, however I’m now a part of the Flyers’ organisation and excited for the coming season.
“It will be good to see some familiar faces, however it will be even better to get the two points.”
Flyers head to Ice Arena Wales on Sunday to meet a Devils outfit buoyed by last weekend’s emphatic 5-1 league victory at home to Braehead Clan. Hutchins is expecting a tough battle.
“Sunday will be a long journey, but if we can secure two points on Saturday night it will make the trip a little easier.
“The guys will be focused, and the coaching staff will have them well prepared. Cardiff are a good team and we will need to be at our best to come away from there with points.
“They will be physical, however it is a big ice surface and our guys are used to playing that style of hockey.
“If we stay disciplined and stand together as five-man unit, we will be fine.”
Coventry Blaze have two cup games over the weekend, hosting Sheffield Steelers on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester Storm.
Head Coach Danny Stewart is expecting two difficult games, especially against the Steelers who have been playing in the Champions Hockey League over the past few weeks.
“I expect them to be structured and drilled – they are deep and have been playing at a higher level than us for weeks,” said Stewart.
“In saying that, we’ve been getting better every week and I expect our guys to be up for it. We have a lot of talent in our room and smart hockey heads.
“We’ve been preparing all week for this weekend. After starting the Challenge Cup with a win, we want to focus on picking up as many points early on as we can.
“Just like any other competition, the deeper you go and find yourself looking up at the table, the tougher games get and the more pressure is placed on the group.
“Advancing in this competition is a must for us and all of these guys are aware how much the club, myself and the fans value this competition and they are fully committed.”
Belfast Giants v Edinburgh Capitals (Cup)
Braehead Clan v Manchester Storm
Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers (Cup)
Fife Flyers v Dundee Stars (Cup)
Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils
Cardiff Devils v Fife Flyers
Dundee Stars v Belfast Giants (Cup)
Edinburgh Capitals v Braehead Clan (Cup)
Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze (Cup)
Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers (Cup)
(Image permission: Fife Flyers)