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Weekend Preview – Week 29

WEEK 29 of the 2023/24 Elite Ice Hockey League season and the Flyers final three games in the regular season. They start off with a midweek home game against the Sheffield Steelers before two derby games against the Dundee Stars on the weekend with a trip over the Tay on Saturday before closing out the season at home against the Stars on Sunday.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 3rd v SHEFFIELD STEELERS @ FIFE ICE ARENA – FACE OFF 7.00pm

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The Steelers make their final visit of the regular season. Since we last met the Steelers in Sheffield on 21st January they have maintained a consistency that no other team has been able to match this season which has so far culminated in them winning the Challenge Cup and being crowned League Champions. The Steelers ended January with a narrow 3-2 win against the Nottingham Panthers followed by a comfortable 5-1 home win against the Dundee Stars in the league and booked their Challenge Cup Final slot with a 10-1 aggregate victory over the Coventry Blaze. February started with back to back wins home and away against the Clan including a season high equalling 9-3 scoreline at the Utilita Arena. Sandwiched between consecutive 3-0 wins on home ice against the Storm and Flames there was a 6-3 win against the Blaze at the Skydome. Since their defeat in Fife on their last visit the Steelers stretched their winning streak in the league to 10 games with a home win against the Panthers and a road win in Guildford. That sequence was ended by the Devils who prevailed 4-1 at the Vindico Arena. Steelers won their next game against the Blaze but were then beaten on home ice by Manchester who enjoyed their first success at the Utilita for over five years. A 5-1 road win on Tayside was followed by a weekend home double header against the Giants who won the first game 5-2 before being put to the sword 6-1 the next night. The Steelers picked up their first silverware of the season with a 3-1 win against the Guildford Flames in the Challenge Cup Final before the Nottingham Panthers picked up a point in a shootout in Yorkshire and the Steelers then put themselves on the verge of the league championship with a 7-4 win in Coventry. A midweek trip to the Devils saw the celebrations put on ice as the Devils inflicted the Steelers first shutout of the season and heaviest defeat with a 4-0 win. The following weekend a trip to Panthers resulted in a 4-2 win which set up another shot at the title the following night against the Flames. The Steelers were crowned Champions with a convincing 7-3 win. Last weekend the Steelers hosted the Cardiff Devils and recorded their leading 11th shutout of the season in a 4-0 win before making the trip over the Pennines to play Storm where they eked out another two points in an overtime success. After their visit to Fife the Steelers round out the season this weekend with two games in Belfast.

 

Last League Visit from Steelers

Overall Elite League Home Record Against Steelers

P 29 W 8 L 21 F 69 A 107

Number Crunching

The Flyers will be looking to make it back to back home wins against the Steelers for the first time in a single season in the EIHL. The only other time the Flyers have beaten Steelers in consecutive games in Fife was during 2017 spanning the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.

The Steelers have the current longest active winning run at 4 games and their earlier 14 game winning streak will be the longest across all EIHL competitions this season.

The Steelers have yet to suffer back to back defeats across all games this season.

Steelers have recorded 11 shut outs whilst only being shut out once, both numbers lead all teams.

The Steelers have a staggering plus 108 goals differential at even strength with the next best being the Cardiff Devils with plus 58. The Flyers minus 27 is 6th best of all ten teams in all EIHL competitions this season.

The Flyers top goal scorer against the Steelers this term in all EIHL competitions is Vitalijs Pavlovs who has three goals. Flyers have had nine different scorers of their 13 goals scored. The Steelers top marksmen each with four goals are Patrick Watling and Mikko Juusola and the Steelers have twelve different scorers of their 23 goals.

Across all EIHL competitions this season Flyers have scored an average of 3.03 goals per game with 4.36 being the Steelers average. Sheffield have conceded an average of 2.00 goals per game with the Flyers averaging 3.64.

Pic Credit Jillian McFarlane and Derek Young

SATURDAY APRIL 6th v DUNDEE STARS @ DUNDEE ICE ARENA – FACE OFF 7.00pm

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In midweek the Stars will be in Cardiff ahead of the final weekend of the regular season and their two meetings with the Flyers. The teams last met at the end of January in Dundee when the Stars made it four wins from four in league play against the Flyers with an overtime decision. That heralded the start of a seven game winless streak for the Stars, their longest of the season. They did pick up three points in two overtime defeats by the Manchester Storm and Guildford Flames along with a shootout loss in Guildford during that sequence along with road losses in Sheffield and Nottingham and defeats on Tayside from the Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils. Their slide was stopped in fine style with a four point weekend when they won 2-1 in Coventry and returned home to defeat the Glasgow Clan 7-3 the following night. They ended February with a defeat in Belfast and then went on another mini skid when they lost the next three with a 4-1 defeat in Manchester and back to back home defeats from Sheffield 5-1 and Coventry 4-1. A big 7-4 win against the Nottingham Panthers mid-March wasn’t enough to see them drop out of the playoff spots. Guildford Flames were next up at home which ended 3-2 in favour of the visitors. Another huge match in Glasgow against the Clan saw the Stars down 7-1 before fighting back to lose 8-5 and the next night they dropped to a third straight defeat but did get a point in a shootout loss in Belfast. A week after their last visit they were back to face the Clan in Glasgow and this time they dominated the match to jump into 6th place in the playoff standings with a 5-1 win. The following night they consolidated that position with a 4-1 win against the Manchester Storm on Tayside.

Last League Visit to Stars

Overall Elite League Away Record Against Stars

P 41 W 18 L 23 F 135 A 154

Number Crunching

The Stars have won the last four meetings between the sides this season all of which have been in the league.

Flyers will look to avoid a record equalling fifth consecutive defeat against the Stars in all EIHL competitions.

The Flyers will be looking for their first road league win of the season against the Stars and have yet to have a season where they have not picked up at least one win on Tayside ice in the EIHL regular season.

The Flyers top goal scorer against the Stars this term in all EIHL competitions is Collin Shirley with five goals. Flyers have had eight different scorers of their 19 goals scored. The Stars top marksman with eight goals is Anthony Rinaldi and the Stars have eleven scorers of their 28 goals.

Across all EIHL competitions this season Flyers have scored an average of 3.03 goals per game with 3.07 being the Stars average. Dundee have conceded an average of 3.70 goals per game with the Flyers averaging 3.64.

Pic Credit Dundee Stars

SUNDAY APRIL 7th v DUNDEE STARS @ FIFE ICE ARENA – FACE OFF 5.15pm

Last League Visit from Stars

Overall Elite League Home Record Against Stars

P 41 W 21 L 20 F 135 A 119

Number Crunching

The Flyers will be looking for their first home league win of the season against the Stars and have yet to have a season where they have not picked up at least one win at home against their Tayside rivals the EIHL regular season.

Over 117 games between the teams in all EIHL competitions the teams are separated by one goal with the Flyers ahead 359-358 which includes shootouts.

Dundee are the only team who have yet to record a shutout this season in all EIHL competitions.

If the league had started on January 1st 2024 this is how the standings would currently look.

 

Pic Credit Jillian McFarlane and Derek Young
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