Home comforts needed to boost Stingrays' top-six hopes

SYLVAIN CLOUTIER says there is no chance of his Hull Stingrays players taking Dundee Stars lightly when the two sides meet in the Elite League on Wednesday night.

The Scottish strugglers arrive at Hull Arena having slipped out of the play-off places on the back of a five-game losing streak during which they have only taken one point.

Their last visit to East Yorkshire resulted in a 6-1 defeat at the hands of player-coach Cloutier's side.

But Hull have suffered two deserved defeats in Dundee this season leaving them well aware of the threat posed by a side gradually adjusting to their first-ever season in the league.

"It's never really a case of being a good time to play anybody in this league, regardless of what kind of run they're on," said Cloutier.

"Dundee have got a good team up there and have shown they can produce some good results.

"We have found it tough against them this season and even when we beat them at our place last time it was all-square until early in the third period so we know it's going to be tough."

A win for Hull would take them to within four points of the Braehead Clan, currently in sixth spot in the league, and still with four games in hand on their Glasgow-based rivals, who they beat 5-4 in Scotland on Saturday.

With a home game against crisis-torn Edinburgh Capitals to follow on Sunday, Hull will see the next five days as vital for their hopes of securing a top-six finish.

Hull remain without the services of Scottish forward Lee Mitchell as he recovers from knee surgery, while Aivars Gaisins is also ruled out with injury.

Cloutier said his team needed to make the most of their home ice in the coming months in order to stand a chance of finishing inthe top six.

"We have been playing well at home and have made it a difficult place to come," he added. "The guys like playing there, it's our own rink and they feel comfortable playing there.

"The fans have been great and really get behind you and we have to keep producing to keep them on our side."