Cloutier insists Hull Stingrays won't give up battle
COACH Sylvain Cloutier has vowed Hull Stingrays will not throw in the towel in their quest for a play-off place.
Having produced a sizzling 5-1 win over Dundee on Saturday, Cloutier's men fell to an 8-7 overtime defeat to the Stars in the return fixture in Scotland last night.
The weekend's results leave the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays five points adrift of the Elite League play-off places, but the seventh, eighth and ninth place teams have 36 points.
Cloutier said: "We'll take the three points from the weekend and now get ready for Braehead on Wednesday.
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"We have to keep plugging away no matter what.
"I told the guys before the weekend that I believe in everyone, the fans believe in them, and there's no reason why we can't get into the play-offs again."
On Saturday, Stingrays swept into a 5-0 lead with goals from Jason Silverthorn and Jereme Tendler, before a quick-fire Dominic Osman double prompted a Stars time-out before Tom Squires struck on the halfway mark.
AJ MacLean pulled a goal back for Stars on the powerplay at 37.52 and that was the end of the scoring.
Last night proved a topsy-turvy battle.
Silverthorn put Stingrays ahead, but Sami Ryhanen, Janis Ozolins and Matt Baxter made it 3-1 to Dundee at the first break.
Martin Ondrej, Cloutier and Silverthorn netted for 4-3 before Bill Bagron and Mike Wirll left it 5-4 to Dundee after 40 minutes.
In a third-period goal blitz, Squires, Osman and Kurtis Dulle added to Stingrays' tally, with Pat Bowen and Ozolins replying for Dundee for 7-7, Baxter netting the overtime winner.
Cloutier said: "On Saturday we played the way we are capable of, but we have to be consistent we can't stop doing what we do best.
"Last night the guys battled really hard and showed how much they wanted it.
"We knew we couldn't afford to not get a point, otherwise our fine performance on Saturday would have gone to waste.
"We talked about the standings before the weekend, and we're now only two points off top spot in the Gardiner Conference.
"If we can win the games in our own Conference, everything else will take care of itself."
STINGRAYS' keeper Ben Bowns was handed his first start as Great Britain bowed out of the Olympic qualification tournament with a 6-0 defeat against Kazakhstan.
He will be back from Latvia in time for Stingrays' midweek clash in Braehead.