HULL STINGRAYS take their fight for an Elite League play-off place north of the border this weekend - hit by the news they will be without captain Matty Davies for the rest of the season.
The 25-year-old British centre has been out of action since sustaining a torn meniscus in late January and, despite initial hopes he would return just before the post-season, he will now go under the knife to put the problem right to make sure he is recovered in time for the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
Hull-born Davies will also miss the chance to earn selection for Great Britain’s World Championship campaign in Holland next month.
“It is a massive blow,” said Davies last night. “It is the biggest part of the season and I am really disappointed I cannot be out there to help the boys try to qualify for the play-offs.
“But there is nothing I can do, I have to think long term. I need to have a full repair of the meniscus and getting it done now means I can then concentrate on my rehab and be ready for next season. I have to make sure I get my knee right.”
The long-term loss of Davies is a personal blow for player-coach Omar Pacha, who added: “It is really bad news and I know it is tough for Matty.
“It is no secret I built my team around Matty this season. He is a big piece of the puzzle and he brings leadership on and off the ice.”
It is only Davies’s positive influence off the ice that Hull can rely on over the next couple of weeks as they strive to clinch one of the three remaining play-off places.
Tonight takes them to Fife Flyers, currently who two places and three points above them, but who Hull have three games in hand on.
They follow that up tomorrow with a trip to bottom club Dundee Stars, the only club certain not to make the play-offs, before welcoming Edinburgh Capitals - the team immediately below them in the standings - to East Yorkshire on Tuesday night.
It is a four-day period which Stingrays forward Jordan Knox admits could define the club’s season.
“These three games against the Scottish teams are very big for us,” said Knox.
“Fife are only a few points ahead of us, we had a tough game against Dundee at our place last Sunday and Edinburgh could end up being make or break for both teams. It is another tough run of games, but the guys are still confident of making the play-offs.”