SHOULD player-coach Sylvain Cloutier get on the scoresheet for his Hull Stingrays team in tomorrow night’s home game against Fife Flyers, it should prove a positive evening for the East Yorkshire club as they bid to make the Elite League play-offs.
The Stingrays host their Scottish rivals looking to even the score in the last of the eight-game series between the two Gardiner Conference clubs, the most recent of which saw them go down 4-2 in Kirkcaldy last week.
But home fans will be hoping their experienced leader can find the back of the net again tomorrow, particularly as he has provided the game-winning goal in each of the three wins Stingrays have enjoyed over the Flyers so far.
Each game is being treated like a Game 7 by Cloutier and his players, who will be looking to double their points haul from last weekend, which saw them follow-up their disappointment in Fife with a vital 3-2 win over conference leaders Braehead Clan.
In a reverse of last weekend’s schedule, the Clan host Hull tonight where a win could take Cloutier’s team back to the top of the conference standings – depending on how Fife and Edinburgh Capitals fare in their respective matches against Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers.
Whoever wins the conference automatically qualifies for the post-season, meaning Hull will be desperate to beat both their Scottish rivals this weekend.
“We seem to have been saying it’s a big weekend for us a lot lately, but this one really is, “ said Cloutier. “It’s so tight and all the points are important.”
While Steelers will have one eye on their Challenge Cup semi-final, second leg clash with Braehead at the Motorpoint Arena on Tuesday night (7.30pm), they will be keen to avoid a second surprise home loss to Edinburgh in the league tonight.
Last time Richard Hartmann’s side departed South Yorkshire they did so on the back of a 2-1 win, leaving Steelers’ coach Ryan Finnerty to describe his team’s performance as “embarrassing.”