Scottish ice hockey: Massive week ahead for in-form Glasgow Clan

Matt Beca scored important goals for Clan over the weekend
Matt Beca scored important goals for in-form Clan over the weekend

Glasgow Clan are heading into a "defining week" of their season as they prepare for four games in the next six days, says forward Matt Beca.

Wins over Manchester Storm and Dundee Stars helped build momentum as they go into a hectic period with plenty at stake.

The Stars are back on the wrong side of the play-off line with two losses and Fife Flyers took both points in their only game of the weekend to stay in the top six.

'Clan aim to keep roll going'

Glasgow Clan can wrap up the Gardiner Conference title and go third in the Elite League standings with a home win over Stars on Tuesday.

Then they will look to topple Belfast Giants on Thursday in the second leg of their Challenge Cup semi-final, travelling with a 2-1 lead from the first meeting.

"It's a certainly a defining week in how the season pans out for us," said Beca after two big wins. "We want to keep the roll going on Tuesday and that will set us up for the trip to Belfast.

"Manchester and Dundee had been doing well recently so it was good to get those wins and that's all that matters for us right now.

"It's been a long time since Clan were in the semi-finals of any competition so there's no doubt there are some tough games ahead."

With ex-Clan coach Ryan Finnerty on the visitors' bench, Manchester raced into a 2-0 lead on Saturday as they went in search of a fifth successive win at Braehead.

But Beca was on target, along with Michal Gutwald to level things and a fantastic solo effort from Scott Tanski edged Clan ahead before Felix-Antoine Poulin struck to restore parity.

Craig Peacock seemed to swing the game with a controversial fourth, awarded after issues with the goal-line technology, and Vaclav Stupka made it 5-3. Mike Hammond closed the gap but Matt Haywood's empty-net finish ensured another fine home win - Clan's fifth in six games.

Guillaume Doucet celebrates his goal for the Clan in Dundee on Sunday
Guillaume Doucet celebrates his goal for the Clan in Dundee on Sunday

On Sunday, the Stars fought hard, but went down 4-3 in overtime to prolong their Conference hopes, albeit ones that are looking very slim now.

Gerard Hanson's first period opener for Clan was quickly cancelled out by Charles Corcoran for Dundee, before Guillaume Doucet restored the visitors' lead by the end of the first.

Dundee moved in front through Lukas Lundvald and Matt Marquardt but Tanski's shorthanded finish tied things up again.

The game drifted into overtime and it was Beca who lashed a shot into the roof of the net to secure a four-point weekend.

Stars shocked by lowly Lightning

Stars had gone into Sunday's game reeling from a 4-3 penalty shots loss to bottom of the table Milton Keynes Lightning.

Jordan Cownie fired them in front, but Lightning, who were without a win in 10, were 3-1 up before Corcoran and Cownie's second took the game beyond regulation.

Robbie Baillargeon and Andreas Valdix struck the fatal blows in the shootout to stretch Dundee's winless run to four.

Manchester stayed in Scotland for the weekend and suffered another loss as Fife Flyers edged home 2-1, with Danick Gauthier and Bari McKenzie on target for the hosts.

Stats of the week

  • Clan's overtime win in Dundee means they've taken 12 points from a possible 14 in their away games since the turn of the year.
  • Stars have taken an extra point in 12 losses now whenever their game has gone beyond the regulation 60 minutes following their penalties defeat to MK Lightning and overtime loss to Clan.
Fife Flyers edged Manchester Storm in a 2-1 home win on Sunday
Fife Flyers made it back-to-back home wins with a tough fight against Manchester Storm