Busy period welcomed by Stingrays’ Pacha

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HULL STINGRAYS face a cluttered schedule of six games in 10 days but player-coach Omar Pacha believes his team are well-equipped to deal with it and boost their chances of making the Elite League play-offs.

Hull’s first test comes tonight at Belfast Giants’ Odyssey Arena, before they return to East Yorkshire for a home double against title-chasing Sheffield Steelers on Saturday and then bottom club Dundee Stars 24 hours later.

Next Wednesday sees them head to Nottingham Panthers, before they spend another weekend in Scotland taking on fellow play-off hopefuls Fife Flyers and then Dundee.

They will want to enjoy a more productive 48 hours north of the border given their time there last weekend only produced one point from visits to play-off chasing rivals Fife and Edinburgh Capitals.

The next week or so ahead will be enough to test the strength of any of the 10 Elite League teams but – with comfortably the youngest roster in the league – Pacha believes his team have nothing to fear going into the last 12 games of the regular season.

“Each team has periods in the season like this - it’s nothing unusual so we are going to have to battle through it as we have all season,” said Pacha.

“This is the kind of situation that having a younger, faster team is made for and I’m sure it will benefit us.

“We didn’t have a particularly good game against Fife, but we responded well as a team in Edinburgh the following night and we had plenty of legs so I don’t have any worries about the fitness of this team and playing three in three nights.”

Hull currently sit in the eighth and final play-off spot, level on points with Edinburgh who they are ahead of due to winning more games in regulation.

They also have three games in hand on the Capitals and five games to make up on both Fife and Coventry Blaze, who are immediately above them and three points better off.

Pacha has been impressed with his young team all season, showing they are capable of competing hard for a play-off place and producing the odd spectacular result, including the 4-2 win they enjoyed in Northern Ireland on their last visit in January.

“You have to stay motivated and, believe me, these guys are excited about the next few weeks and the last 12 games we have coming up,” added Pacha.

“We are still in control of our own destiny - we have those games in hand and we need to make sure we use them well.”