SHEFFIELD, UK – As the Elite League’s best of British recover from their opening day defeat in the latest round of games for qualification to the 2014 winter Olympics, seven Elite League sides are preparing to do battle in league action.
With the number of games left in the season dwindling by the day the race for the final playoff places is heating up.
Officially all eight spots are still up for grabs but with Nottingham, Belfast and Sheffield at least 12 points clear of Cardiff in fourth the main focus is on the final five places and this weekend sees the seven teams in contention squaring off.
Saturday offers the first chance for Cardiff to extend the gap between themselves and Fife in eighth to 12 points when the Devils make the over seven hour trek to the Fife Ice Arena to tackle the Flyers. Hull have the chance to keep alive their fading hopes of a playoff place with a home game against Dundee, however a win for the Stars would push them closer to securing that coveted post-season place.
The final game of Saturday takes place in Braehead with the Clan welcoming Scottish rivals the Edinburgh Capitals to town with the Caps aiming to put daylight between themselves and Hull at the foot of the league table.
Sunday brings with it a welcome day off for Cardiff and a chance to head back down to base at a more leisurely pace. Meanwhile three more games are on the schedule with Hull and Dundee completing their home and away weekend double header, this time at the home of the Stars. Coventry will take their one and only bow of the weekend with Braehead providing the opposition at the SkyDome, while it won’t be six nations rugby that will be played at Murrayfield on Sunday but Elite League ice hockey when Edinburgh face-off against another Scottish counterpart in the form of the Fife Flyers.
Next week sees the action come thick and fast with games on all days apart from Monday and then it’s back to a full schedule on the weekend with 9 games on the slate including the return of team GB’s players, hopefully with a qualification to the Winter Olympics firmly secured.
Contac t Jon.Chubb@prohockeynews.com
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