Stingrays close the gap on Clan

HULL STINGRAYS maintained their push for a top-six regular season finish following another weekend of Elite League action, despite Sunday night's 3-0 home defeat to Nottingham Panthers.

Billy Ryan, Corey Neilson and Jeff Hereema were on target in what proved a welcome win for the visitors, who had suffered two home defeats earlier in the weekend to Belfast - in a shoot-out - and title favourites Cardiff Devils.

Of more importance for Hull, however, was the outcome of Saturday's trip to Scotland to take on the Braehead Clan, their main rivals for sixth place.

And it proved to be a pleasant trip home during the early hours of Sunday morning after top scorer Jereme Tendler netted twice in a 5-4 victory for the visitors, for who player-coach Sylvain Cloutier, Andrew Coburn and Trevor Read also scored to give Hull a 3-1 series lead over their hosts.

"It was a big win for us," said Cloutier. "It was another close game and it was a good game to be a part of.

"We have had some good battles with Braehead this season. We have similar teams and we both feel we can compete with the bigger clubs."

With Braehead not in action on Sunday night, Saturday's result took Hull to within six points of their Scottish rivals with the East Yorkshire club still enjoying five games in hand, one of which they will use up on Wednesday night when Dundee Stars pay a second visit of teh season to Hull Arena.

Despite his team's best efforts back on home ice against one of the "bigger" clubs, Cloutier was disappointed to take nothing from the game against Panthers, particularly as it was his team's indiscipline which handed the visitors two of their goals on the powerplay.

"You are always disappointed to lose but I thought we played a decent game and five-on-five it was pretty even," added Cloutier.

"In the first 10 minutes, if it wasn't for their goalie, who made some big saves, we could have been up by one or two.

"But you have to be disciplined. They have a great powerplay and you can't afford to go short-handed against them.

"We knew they would be tired by playing their third game in three nights but by us being undisciplined we gave them some life, they got a goal and they got some energy back and they got going."