Dulle makes case for stronger Stingrays’ defence

HULL Stingrays go into a testing weekend with captain Kurtis Dulle hoping they can find a cure for their defensive frailties.

After a home double-header brought no points for Sylvain Cloutier’s side last week, the Stingrays will hope a weekend away from Hull Arena will reap better rewards.

Tonight sees Hull visit the National Ice Centre for the first time since their play-off semi-final appearance last season, when hosts Nottingham Panthers hammered them 10-3.

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But what is likely to be a more important game for Hull – at least with regard to the Gardiner Conference standings – lies at the end of Sunday’s long road trip to Scotland where they will take on the Dundee Stars for a third time this season.

Both games have gone the way of Jeff Hutchins’s side so far, with Cloutier labelling last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat to the Stars as his team’s worst performance of the season.

Scoring goals is not proving a problem for Hull this campaign, as they boast the third-best goals-per-game average. It is at the other end where the problems lie, having conceding 43 goals in 10 games, the worst record in the league.

And defenceman Dulle – now in his third year at the club – insists defence must become the priority for himself and more of his team-mates.

“It’s always been my natural game to be offensively-minded and to jump into the play whenever possible,” he said.

“But there comes a point when you have to rein yourself in and we need to resist jumping in as often as we are doing.

“Each player needs to take more individual responsibility defensively. Our goalie (Ben Bowns) is playing well, but we are not helping him enough.

“It is a team game, but there are 18 individuals who have got to get their own game right.

“We also need to become more disciplined and stop taking so many costly penalties.”

Twitter: @PHarrisonYP