Ambitious Pacha raises his sights for Stingrays

OMAR PACHA believes Hull Stingrays should raise the bar in order to seal a place in the Elite League play-offs as quickly as possible.

Hull Stingrays' player-coach Omar Pacha.

Stingrays head into a potentially pivotal weekend for their play-off chances today with a double header against Gardiner Conference rivals Edinburgh Capitals, the first meeting being at Hull Ice Arena (7pm).

Pacha acknowledges that drawing a blank last weekend with two defeats to league leaders Sheffield Steelers has placed greater emphasis on their two games against Richard Hartmann’s team, with Hull dropping into the bottom two and out of the play-off places.

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After a poor start Edinburgh, by contrast, arrive in Hull having won six of their last nine games and sitting four points ahead of their hosts in the overall standings in sixth place – a position Pacha believes his team should be aiming for.

“We don’t just want to aim for eighth spot and scrape into the post-season,” said Pacha. “We need to be aiming higher.

“We want to compete for the Gardiner Conference title, obviously, but - looking at the standings - we’ve got to be looking to make sixth place and boosting our chances of making the play-offs that way.

“I want to make sure we have got a spot in the post season as soon as possible, I don’t want this to go down to the last couple of games.

“With the results from last weekend and not picking up any points, it has made this weekend take on more important.”

In the two previous meetings in Hull this season, honours are evenly shared Stingrays rebounding from a 5-2 loss to the Capitals in September with a 2-0 win a month later. The only other meeting between the two sides saw Edinburgh prevail 3-2 on home ice after a shootout.

Pacha, who once again expects to have a full-strength line-up, is aware of the dangers posed by Edinburgh and is looking for his players to step up their game.

“Edinburgh are a good team, there’s no doubt about that,” added Pacha.

“They are particularly strong at home and it is not going to be easy. We are going to have to compete, we are going to have to raise our compete level an extra notch if we are to get two wins.

“It’s only going to get tougher for the rest of the season so we all need to step up our game, work harder and have that compete level.”