For so long perennial strugglers in the UK game’s top flight, Hull have been transformed during Cloutier’s second season in charge, mounting a serious charge to try to overhaul reigning champions Coventry Blaze, who currently lie fifth in the table, as well as sixth-placed Braehead Clan.
Both teams visit Hull this weekend with Coventry first to take on the Stingrays tonight (7.00). Hull are currently nine points behind the Blaze, but have two games in hand as well as having three games against them.
Braehead are eight points in front of Hull, but have played four games more. After tomorrow’s visit to East Yorkshire they will face the Stingrays one more time back in Scotland.
“We still have to play Coventry another two times and also have to go up to Braehead,” said Cloutier.
“If we can win our games in hand, the matches against those teams could decide fifth, sixth and seventh. That’s how big this weekend is.”