Stingrays' win double over Braehead and Fife strengthens play-off chance
COACH Sylvain Cloutier says Rapid Solicitors Hull Stingrays have thrown themselves a lifeline to the play-offs with back-to-back victories over Braehead Clan and Fife Flyers.
Their win double, coupled with Dundee's 3-0 victory over Braehead last night, leaves the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays just one point adrift of the play-off places with six games left.
And bizarrely, they top the Gardiner Conference, which currently leaves them play-off second seeds.
Cloutier said: "We knew it was a huge weekend for us as we are running out of games to make the play-offs.
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"Saturday's win in Braehead was great, but we knew if we'd lost to Fife last night then the win in Scotland would have meant nothing.
"We're now right back in contention and we've got to make our home advantage count against Dundee and Nottingham next weekend."
Last night against Fife, Shane Lovdahl's 12th-minute powerplay goal gave Stingrays the lead, only to see Bobby Chaumont level six minutes later for Flyers, also with the man advantage.
Lovdahl put Stingrays ahead on the half-hour, yet again on the powerplay.
Stingrays clung on to their 2-1 lead until Flyers pulled their excellent keeper Bryan Pitton in favour of the extra out-ice skater in the final minute.
Jason Silverthorn took full advantage, despite being under pressure on the centre line, to fire in an empty net insurance policy goal for 3-1.
Out-of-form Clan had won just once in their last 10 games, while Stingrays hadn't won on the road since January 5.
Fortunately, it was Stingrays who bucked the trend to grab a much-needed 2-1 victory.
Although out-shot in the first period, Clan went ahead on the powerplay on 6.56 through Ash Goldie.
Both teams had chances in the second period but man of the match performances from keepers Daren Machesney and Ben Bowns kept the scoreline to a single goal.
The third period was every bit as tight as the previous two and like the first there was only a single goal scored, with Stingrays' Jereme Tendler netting on 47.04, his 40th of the season.
With no further scoring the game went to overtime and with only 14 seconds on the clock Kurtis Dulle netted the game winner.
"We had our chances to win it in the third period as we hit the post late on," said Cloutier.
"I felt we could easily have won it in the last five minutes, but it was a nice goal by Dulle."