Cloutier: Let's heap pressure on all our rivals
COACH Sylvain Cloutier has challenged his players to collect a four-point full-house against Cardiff and Dundee to strengthen their claims on an end-of-season play-off place.
Last night's 3-1 defeat against leaders Nottingham and Saturday's 5-3 win over Dundee combined to lift the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays off the foot of the table for the first time since December.
If they maintain their current top place in the Gardiner Conference they will qualify as either second or third seeds.
And Cloutier has challenged his in-form side to heap the pressure on their rivals this weekend.
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He said: "Ideally we want to finish sixth or seventh in the overall league standings as everything is so tight right now.
"A four-point weekend would leave us at the top of the Conference as well.
"We've beaten Cardiff this season, and if we defeat Dundee it means the pressure is on everyone else around us to pull off results.
"Then we need to hope our games against Sheffield and Coventry go in our favour."
On Saturday, Dominic Osman put Stingrays ahead after just 46 seconds before Janis Ozolins was given too much time and space to slot home a sixth-minute equaliser.
Sami Ryhanen left it 2-1 to the Stars, only for Matty Davies to level on the half-hour.
Against the run of play, Billy Bagron put Dundee in front on 47 minutes before three goals in the last 10 minutes from Cloutier, Davies and Jason Silverthorn completed a valuable win.
"We knew we couldn't afford to give Dundee any points," said Cloutier.
"We battled away and I thought we showed a lot of character.
"I thought Dundee ran out of gas. In this league if you play two lines it will catch up with you, it doesn't matter which team you are.
"We kept rolling our three lines and took advantage late on."
Last night Kelsey Wilson put Nottingham ahead after just 19 seconds.
David-Alexandre Beauregard netted Panthers' second after 47 minutes.
David Clarke grabbed the third inside the last minute before Jeff Smith scored a consolation with four seconds remaining.
"We played our hearts out, as we knew we needed the points as badly as Nottingham do," said Cloutier.
"It was disappointing to lose, but you can see why they are by far the best team in the league.
"We gave it our best shot, but unfortunately it wasn't enough. Now we've got to re-group for Cardiff and Dundee this weekend."