Braehead Clan defiant over title credentials
Braehead Clan's player-assistant coach Kevin Bergin insists his team's Gardiner Conference hopes haven't been dashed yet.
Clan's 2-0 loss to Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday almost certainly hands the title to Dundee Stars, but the race isn't arithmetically over.
And Bergin remains defiant that his side can turn it around, especially when they go to Dundee this Sunday.
"It's been disappointing for sure, but it's not through lack of effort," Bergin said. "We just couldn't get past Edinburgh's goalie somehow.
"But we can't hang our heads. We have to turn it around fast with the end of the season near, starting with a tough weekend to come.
"Our season isn't over yet and there are more big games to come. That, for us, is where our focus lies now."
Although Braehead won the first of the weekend double header against the Caps, they didn't get it all their own way over the two games.
Clan may have snapped their four game losing run in edging the Murrayfield side 2-1 on Saturday, but Sunday's 2-0 loss in the return game will have an effect.
Ash Goldie's opener in the first game was soon cancelled out by Curtis Leinweber, who forced in an equaliser for Edinburgh.
But Matt Towe's second period winner proved to be enough as the Clan ground out a result against a team who are no longer in the play-off running.
Then 24 hours later, Caps goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky was outstanding as he kept a shutout - his first ever for Edinburgh - in denying the Clan; helping his team to a 2-0 win.
Leinweber found the net on both occasions, scoring a scrambled effort in the first period then killing Braehead off with a breakaway finish in the third.
The Canadian was awarded man of the match, despite Hiadlovsky's heroics throughout the game, but the netminder was modest.
"Curtis was man of the match as he scored two goals - the game winning goal and the second one so for me, it was something he deserved," Hiadlovsky said.
"Getting my first ever shutout for the club was fantastic, but I can't remember how I felt when the buzzer went.
"We played very well and played like a real team. We deserved the two points and there's no pressure on us now."
Caps' result certainly did Dundee Stars a massive favour as they recorded another four-point weekend and edged closer to the Conference.
They effectively killed off Hull's hopes with a 2-1 win in Humberside, with captain Brock McPherson scoring for an early Dundee lead.
Jason Silverthorn's equaliser restored parity for Hull, but James McLellan popped up with the winner to keep the Stars at the Conference summit.
Then on Sunday, another big win, this time against Nottingham Panthers coupled with Braehead's loss in Edinburgh made it a great night.
While this wasn't a Conference game, it was every bit as important and Billy Bagron fired home the opener.
Then Lubomir Vaskovic marked his home debut for Dundee with their second minutes later as Panthers struggled to make their mark.
Nikita Kashirsky added Stars' third in the final period, with Greg Jacina scoring a consolation for Panthers late on before Vaskovic's empty net finish sealed an impressive 4-1 victory.
Finally, Fife Flyers played only once and although having lost 5-4 in overtime to Belfast Giants on Saturday, they are still chasing down that final play-off spot.
Cardiff's weekend losses ensured the Flyers are still just two points behind and despite defeat, they'll be pleased they didn't lose any ground.
Braehead Clan 2 Edinburgh Capitals 1
Fife Flyers 4 Belfast Giants 5 (OT)
Hull Stingrays 1 Dundee Stars 2
Dundee Stars 4 Nottingham Panthers 1
Edinburgh Capitals 2 Braehead Clan 0