Elite League weekend preview

Edinburgh Capitals put their seven-game unbeaten run on home ice on the line as they welcome Nottingham Panthers for a double-header this weekend.

Capitals are much-improved this season under new Player/Coach Riley Emmerson and he is excited about facing the current Elite League leaders.

“We’ll have three really intense training sessions this week,” said Emmerson. “Panthers are a very up-tempo, high-paced team who can score goals and are backed up by a really good goalie. We can’t give them anything – we’ve got to be ready to go for 120 minutes against them.”

Nottingham, who hope to have new defenseman Kyle Hardy in their line-up, moved to the top of the league with two wins last weekend, but Head Coach Corey Neilson is wary of the threat posed by Edinburgh.

He said: “They’re certainly a competitive team, so we need to play smart and manage the puck well. They’re an opportunistic team – they take what you give them and we saw that previously with their goals being the results of mistakes. If we play responsibly we’ll be alright.”

Manchester Storm host Braehead Clan on Saturday, before travelling to Coventry Blaze the following day and will look to build on their recent improved form.

After a difficult start to life in the Elite League, Storm have won three of their last six games leaving Player/Coach Omar Pacha looking forward to a healthy future.

“It’s new imports playing in a new league,” said Pacha. “They have to learn and we new it would take a little time, but it was frustrating at the beginning. I like the players we have and the organisation are working very hard to get things right. We want go into every game giving ourselves a chance to win and hopefully we can do that.”

Todd Dutiaume has threatened to ring the changes after Fife Flyers slumped to their third defeat in row last week. Flyers face Belfast Giants in a home and away Elite Challenge Cup double-header this weekend and Dutiaume has demanded an improvement.

He commented: “You have to make sure the players realise the importance of consistency during the season. You can’t just show up for part of a game or part of the week, because if you do you end up languishing down at the bottom. Long term maybe we need a shake-up.

“It’ll be good see how we match up against Belfast and the cup gives us a chance to try a few different things.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Edinburgh Capitals v Nottingham Panthers

Saturday

Cardiff Devils v Sheffield Steelers
Edinburgh Capitals v Nottingham Panthers
Fife Flyers v Belfast Giants (Cup)
Manchester Storm v Braehead Clan

Sunday

Belfast Giants v Fife Flyers (Cup)
Coventry Blaze v Manchester Storm
Dundee Stars v Cardiff Devils
Sheffield Steelers v Braehead Clan

(Image permission: Carol Ann Jardine)

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