Edinburgh Capitals defenceman Kyle Flemington insists his team can “match the intensity and compete” with Coventry Blaze in tomorrow’s match in the West Midlands.
A win would put them back in the race for a play-off spot.
Flemington, who is set to return to the line-up after missing last weekend’s defeats at Fife Flyers and at home to Nottingham Panthers with concussion, said: “We’re trying to stay as positive as possible. Last weekend was always going to be tough, I was already out and then we lost Sean Beattie and Greg Collins (to injury) so it was always going to be difficult for us.
“I’m looking good to be back, and there’s a chance Greg and Sean will be too but, regardless of who is missing, we’ve got to come out of the gates hard – tiredness just shouldn’t come into it – adrenaline will get us through.
“At this time of the year you’ve got to come out and play hard for 60 minutes and that’s what we’re looking to do from here on in. We’ve talked about it all year long, but there comes a point where you’ve just got to perform.”
Flemington’s return is a timely one for the Caps, who have missed his physical presence on the blue-line, shipping ten goals in their last two games.
The tough 22-year-old Canadian, who took an elbow to the chin in the opening minutes of last month’s overtime win against Hull Stingrays, continued: “This year I’ve played with torn ligaments in my wrist and with a dislocated shoulder so for a simple hit like that to screw my head up was very frustrating.
“You seem okay when you’re relaxing but as soon as you get the skates on, or ride a bike, you get the symptoms back – headaches and feeling nauseous. It was just so frustrating to get hurt at this time of year and miss such important games.”
With seven league games remaining, Caps are bang in the middle of a tough run of fixtures which includes two tilts at current league leaders Braehead Clan, a trip to third-placed Cardiff Devils and tomorrow’s game in Coventry who, although only five points ahead of Edinburgh in the league, are arguably one of the hottest teams in hockey, having won nine of their last ten league games. However, their only defeat came against Edinburgh at Murrayfield last month. Coventry’s run of form holds no fear for Flemington.
“When we beat them last time they were playing well, it was in the middle of their current hot streak,” he said. “They’ve been playing like that for a long time now but we’ve always matched up well against them.
“Last time in Coventry we had a lot of guys out and only lost after penalty shots. We matched their intensity and competed well which is something we must do again. The guys know we can do it, it’s just a matter of executing our game plan, making sure we keep them to the outside and taking our chances when we get them.
“Before every game our bench coach Jock Hay tells us to talk to one another on the ice and he’s right. When we do that we have success, especially with so many young guys on our team, if we direct them it makes them really effective players. We’re expecting a pretty hostile environment down there but we’ve got to do everything to get the two points that we need.”
Edinburgh have a rare Sunday off, before a trip to Hull Stingrays – their closest play-off challengers – on Tuesday.