Osman: We can't afford a night off
FORWARD Dominic Osman insists Hull Stingrays cannot afford to be complacent if they want to beat Fife Flyers tonight.
Stingrays' hosts sit rock-bottom of both the Elite League table and Gardiner Conference after a rocky run of just one win in their last 10 games.
In contrast, Osman's side travel to Kirkcaldy in buoyant mood, after five victories from their last seven, including two one-goal wins over Flyers.
The Rapid Solicitors Stingrays will, therefore, start favourites but Osman knows Fife will be a formidable challenge on their own ice.
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He said: "Fife might look as though they are struggling to put wins together, but they are a good hockey team.
"They have a couple of lines who can play, and they are not the same Fife team as last year.
"We will have to battle, we have to work.
"We are not the sort of team who can get away with not going out every night to battle. We have to work hard, just like we did against Coventry at the weekend."
But Osman admits Stingrays will travel in confident mood, given their recent run of results, including Saturday's 4-2 Challenge Cup win over Coventry.
Although the match was academic, given both teams had already qualified for the quarter-finals, the result did provide a further fillip for Osman's side.
However, he was disappointed Stingrays did not make it a four-point weekend, losing 2-1 at the Skydome on Sunday against the Blaze.
"It's always nice when you can battle against a team like Coventry and come out with a win," he said.
"I'm pretty sure the secret of our success was confidence.
"Even when Coventry got it back to 2-2 we knew we were going to win, it was only a matter of time.
"We played good defensive hockey, and we got a couple of scoring chances that we took advantage of.
"But we weren't really satisfied with just the two points, we've come a long way and wanted to keep our winning streak going."
Osman netted two powerplay goals in Saturday's win and was on target again in Sunday's defeat.
However, he modestly insisted the plaudits should go to line partner Matty Davies.
"It was nice to find the net again, but it's pretty easy when you have Matty Davies finding you in the right space. He has such great vision and is a great passer," said Osman. "All I had to do was to bear down and hit the net."
Apart from Osman's goals, the stand-out star of Stingrays' weekend was Greg Blais.
He stood in for Ben Bowns, who was away on GB duty in Japan.
The debut-maker produced two terrific performances, punctuated by some breath-taking saves that stopped all but four of Coventry's 77 shots.
Provided Bowns feels fit enough to take his place in the starting line-up after flying back from Japan yesterday, Blais will be on the bench tonight.
"I cannot say enough about Greg," said Osman.
"It's great to see Ben represent his country but it's great we have a guy who can step in.
"Greg comes into training day in day out.
"With the situation he's been in, just being around and everything he has done for us, it was great to see him get his chance.
"I didn't have any doubts in my mind he would do a great job. Playing in front of him over the weekend was great.
"I had all the confidence in the world in him and so did our club."