Elite League preview: Walser hopes to hammer home advantage

Belfast boss Derrick Walser believes playing at home first will work to the Giants’ advantage in their Elite League play-off quarter-final tie against Fife Flyers.

The Giants host the Flyers on Saturday before heading to Kirkcaldy the following day, and while many people think playing at home in the second leg is an advantage Walser disagrees.

“We’ve worked all year to get into this position and I am happy to be at home first – we wanted the right to choose what way round we would play the games,” Walser told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I didn’t want home advantage in the second leg. Let’s bring them here, go out and get off to a good start and then they’ll have to come at us the next night.

“I wanted to bring them here instead of us having to travel for the first leg. Let’s have them travel and then we’ll travel the next day for the second game.”

The Flyers take on the Giants having lost both regular season league meetings in Belfast, but with two victories in the reverse fixtures head coach Todd Dutiaume believes the Flyers can qualify for the final four.

“The mood in camp this week has been upbeat and the guys have looked sharp,” said Dutiaume.

“In training we have upped the tempo and have had only Belfast to prep for. It’s been one of the busiest and one of the most enjoyable weeks of the season

“We head into the weekend confident and hungry to get going. Our goal is to leave everything out on the ice this weekend. We do that and we have a great chance of returning to the finals weekend in Nottingham.

“If we find the way past Belfast, we’ll be thrilled and very optimistic about our chances in the one-off games.”

The Elite League have confirmed the play-off final weekend will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Belfast Giants v Fife Flyers
Cardiff Devils v Manchester Storm
Dundee Stars v Braehead Clan
Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers

Sunday

Braehead Clan v Dundee Stars
Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants
Manchester Storm v Cardiff Devils
Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers

(Image permission: Press Eye)

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