Scottish ice hockey: Glasgow Clan keep climbing in Elite League
Glasgow Clan kept their march up the Elite League going with five points from a possible six this weekend.
Pete Russell's side lie three points adrift of third place with games in hand and the dream of a place in the Challenge Cup final is still very much alive.
Fife Flyers are not too far behind their Scottish rivals and can take a lot of heart from their dramatic overtime home win over the Clan on Saturday, while Dundee Stars fell just short in a nine-goal thriller against Guildford Flames.
Clan eyeing up top three
While his weary Clan players can take a few days away from their tough schedule, there's no rest for Russell, who coaches the Great Britain national side against KHL side Dynamo Riga in a friendly in Coventry on Wednesday.
"It's been a long two and a half weeks where the games have come thick and fast, with this three in three following four games in six days and I'm pleased at the outcome," he said, reflecting on a good run.
"It doesn't stop there as we're back next weekend then a couple of midweek games to follow straight after so we need to use everyone in the team.
"It would be nice to have a little rest, but I don't think it's coming for me for a little while at least as I go off to the GB team now."
Having lost only one game in regulation time in their past 14 games, it's fair to say the Clan are in a great place right now as they have a place in the top three in their sights.
A busy week saw them get a first leg advantage in their Challenge Cup semi-final with Belfast Giants before picking up a five-point haul in the league.
After Tuesday' 2-1 win over the Giants, they returned on Friday to renew acquaintances with Fife Flyers and had to dig deep to win by the same score.
Brendan Connolly's opener was cancelled out by Paul Crowder before Matt Beca sunk the Kirkcaldy men to ensure their fourth win in five over Todd Dutiaume's side.
They did it all again on Saturday at Fife Ice Arena, where the Flyers took the bragging rights, edging Russell's side 3-2 after overtime.
Craig Peacock and Rasmus Bjerrum both saw their strikes cancelled out by Evan Bloodoff as Fife made a better fist of the second instalment of the double-header. Carlo Finucci then lifted the roof off the 'auld barn' with the overtime winner.
While Fife's weekend was finished, Clan made the long trip to Milton Keynes to take on Lightning, Russell's old team, who are rock bottom in the Elite League.
They bounced back in style with a 4-2 win as Guillaume Doucet - against his former team - and Gerard Hanson both scored twice.
Stars fall to Flames
Dundee Stars suffered their second straight loss as they went down 5-4 to Guildford Flames.
Ian Watters was on the scoresheet to get Flames off the mark and the visitors kicked on in the second session with further strikes from Evan Janssen, TJ Foster, Jordan Abt and Jamie Crooks.
Matt Marquardt pulled one back for Dundee as they started to claw their back towards the end of the second period.
Although Fabrizio Ricci and a Brian Hart double pulled Stars to within one, it wasn't to be in what turned out to be a disappointing night for Omar Pacha and his team.
Stats of the week
- Glasgow Clan's five points from the weekend takes them to 52 for the season so far with 18 games to go. Last season, they picked up 54 points in the entire campaign.
- Clan can win the Gardiner Conference with victory over Dundee Stars next Sunday when the teams meet on Tayside.
- Dundee's loss to Guildford on Sunday was their first defeat at home in five games.