HULL STINGRAYS head into the latest Elite League weekend fully aware that doing the double over Edinburgh Capitals could lift them to the top of the Gardinder Conference.
It has been a bleak few weeks for Hull, with a dismal run of only one win in 10 games being exacerbated by the loss of the influential Derek Campbell, whose release was followed by a mammoth 47-game ban for violent conduct.
The first part of this weekend’s double-header against the Capitals takes place at Murrayfield before Hull return home to play host and hopefully avoid a similar result to the 5-3 defeat they suffered on Edinburgh’s previous visit.
Both teams are searching for form this weekend, with Edinburgh’s only win in their last 14 games being that victory in Hull on September 21.
“Edinburgh are a good team who have got one or two new bodies in recently,” said Hull player-coach Sylvain Cloutier, who needs only two points to reach 300 in all Elite League competitions. “Their goaltender (Tomas Hiadlovsky) won them the game the last time they came to Hull. When he is on form he is a really, really good goalie.
“We know it is going to be a tough weekend, but we need to be taking something from it.
“We have dropped a few home games in the conference and we need to get back to winning ways at home. We have been out-shooting teams, especially at home, but we need to start being more clinical.”
Sheffield Steelers host Fife Flyers tonight before making the short trip to Coventry Blaze tomorrow without the presence of head coach Doug Christiansen, who remains back home in the USA following the tragic death of his father Keith earlier this week.
Assistant coach Marc Lefebvre steps up to take charge for the weekend, with former Steelers’ favourite Ashley Tait, now back with Coventry, keen for his side to build up their confidence after a run of six straight defeats, five of them in the Challenge Cup.
“It is all about confidence,” said Tait. “We just need to have the right mindset and work hard to turn things around.”