Scottish ice hockey: Braehead Clan chase two huge victories

Craig Peacock celebrates
Craig Peacock celebrates after scoring Braehead Clan's winner in the victory over Milton Keynes Lightning

Braehead Clan player-assistant coach Brendan Brooks was delighted to get the two wins that set up "the biggest weekend of the year".

As the regular season draws to a close, it is between Braehead and Coventry Blaze for the final play-off spot in the Elite League.

And with two games to go, Clan are a point ahead of Blaze after a four-point weekend for both clubs, with Braehead beating Milton Keynes Lightning 4-3 and Edinburgh Capitals 6-1.

"We needed the points and while it wasn't the prettiest of wins, it's all about getting the getting the victories and that's what we have to do right now," Brooks said.

"We've been finding ways to get points and now we're gearing up for the biggest weekend of the year. We have to be prepared and work hard in the two games.

Fife Flyers celebrate
Fife Flyers celebrate their 6-2 win at Dundee Stars, a win that ended Dundee's play-off hopes

"We're making sure we're finding a way to get into these play-offs. With Coventry winning their games, it makes it a huge weekend for us next week."

Braehead go into next week's two games at home to Nottingham Panthers on Friday night and at Guildford Flames on Saturday with five wins from their last six.

The latest two victories came at the expense of the bottom two clubs, Milton Keynes Lightning and Edinburgh Capitals to set up a cracking finale for the season.

At home on Saturday, Clan beat MK 4-3 in a tight game that needed Craig Peacock's goal in the last minute to ensure another win for John Tripp's side.

Denny Kearney and Michal Gutwald traded goals in the opening period, with Guillaume Doucet putting Lightning in front.

Braehead turned the game in their favour through Jacob Doty and Brooks, but Doucet's second restored parity until Peacock came up trumps in the end.

From there, the Clan went to Edinburgh Capitals, rock bottom and looking for a first win in 10 attempts. Despite a better performance from the Caps, it was Braehead who won 6-1.

Peacock and Doty put Braehead two up before Ainars Podzins pulled one back for Edinburgh.

However the visitors kicked on with goals from Ville Hämäläinen, Brooks and a double from Adam Brace to take the victory.

While Clan and Blaze can focus on what they need to do next week, Dundee Stars' play-off hopes are over

Omar Pacha's side lost 7-3 at Coventry on Saturday and 6-2 to Fife Flyers on Sunday.

Edinburgh Capitals' Mike Cazzola tests Clan goalie Ryan Nie in Sunday's game
Edinburgh Capitals' Mike Cazzola tests Clan goalie Ryan Nie in Sunday's game

Fife went ahead through Danick Gauthier, with Marc-Olivier Mimar levelling early in the second period. The Kirkcaldy side then forged ahead through Liam Heelis and a Chase Schaber hat-trick.

Jordan Cownie got a consolation before Carlo Finucci added more gloss to the scoreline.

It completed a great four-point weekend for the Flyers, who had lost six out of eight going into the weekend after injuries had hit them hard.

They recovered from Wednesday's 8-4 thrashing by Belfast Giants to beat them 5-2 when the teams headed to the Northern Irish capital on Saturday.

Sebastien Sylvestre opened the scoring for Giants, but Fife turned it around through Charlie Mosey, Shayne Stockton and Peter LeBlanc.

Blair Riley added a second for Belfast, but further markers from Mosey, with a second and an empty net finish from Russ Moyer as Fife went third going into the final weekend of games.

WEEKEND RESULTS

Saturday

Belfast Giants 2-5 Fife Flyers

Braehead Clan 4-3 Milton Keynes Lightning

Coventry Blaze 7-3 Dundee Stars

Sunday

Edinburgh Capitals 1-6 Braehead Clan

Dundee Stars 2-6 Fife Flyers