Ice hockey: Fife Flyers' Niko Suoraniemi confident of high finish
Fife Flyers defenceman Niko Suoraniemi insists his team can overcome their consistency problems in the final weeks of the regular season.
Six out of seven wins at home have been balanced out with six losses from seven on the road.
The Flyers, who beat Edinburgh Capitals 5-1 on Saturday before losing 5-2 to Braehead Clan, do not appear to be in immediate danger of missing out of the play-offs.
But they want to be going into them in the best shape possible and the Finn believes things are looking up for the Kirkcaldy side.
"We're working on things in practice and the consistency is something we have to rectify," said Suoraniemi. "We have a talented team and have to get it together in these final games.
"We have a lot of skilled players and we've played well in the last five games, but consistency has been an issue for us.
"I just hope we can get that right before the end of the season.
"Looking back at the weekend, I thought Braehead was an easier game as they are fighting for something different, while ourselves and Edinburgh are both going for the play-offs."
That comfortable win over the Capitals on Saturday maintained the sixth place the Flyers have sat in for quite some time.
Suoraniemi put the Flyers ahead with Jordan Fulton, Chris Auger and Kyle Haines all extending the home side's lead.
Dennis Rix pulled one back in the third period, but a further strike from Matt Reber sealed a comfortable win for Todd Dutiaume's side.
They took that result to Braehead on Sunday but were outclassed by the league leaders.
Scott Pitt opened the scoring for the home side, with Ned Lukacevic levelling for the Flyers, only for Neil Trimm to restore Clans' lead.
Matt Reber equalised again in the second period, but further markers from Matt Keith, Leigh Salters and Stefan Meyer took the hosts a step closer to a potential first-ever league title.
Ryan Finnerty's side began the weekend on Friday night with a 4-2 win over Nottingham Panthers, killing off the English side's slim title hopes.
Greg Jacina fired in Panthers' opener, with Matt Keith equalising before Meyer and Guillaume Doucet cancelled each other out with a goal apiece for either team.
Keith added his second of the game to put Clan ahead, with Derek Roehl completing the job to start Nottingham's three-game weekend in Scotland on a low note.
It did not get any better for Corey Neilson's side, who went down 3-2 at bottom-of-the-table Dundee Stars on Saturday.
Bari McKenzie and Shane Lust had the home team two up by the end of the first period, with Ryan Grimshaw adding a third early in the final period.
Panthers mounted a comeback as Evan Mosey and Guillaume Doucet found the net, but Dundee held on for the two points.
The former champions completed their trip with a 5-3 win over Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday with Max Parent first to score for the visitors.
Robert Lachowicz and Robert Farmer put Nottingham three up and, although Dennis Rix pulled one back for the home side, Bruce Graham made it 4-1 after two sessions.
Richard Hartmann clawed another back for Edinburgh, followed by Farmer adding his second, but Rene Jarolin's late goal did nothing to overturn the outcome for the Caps.
One team that will not reach the play-offs is Dundee Stars, who threw away a 3-1 lead to go down 4-3 after penalty shots to Hull Stingrays, finally ending their post-league involvement.
Brad Plumton's opening goal for Dundee was cancelled out seconds later by Cory Tanaka, but John Dolan scored two, one either side of the first break to give them a good lead.
However, Will Frederick got one back then Dominic Osman struck late to tie the game at 3-3, with Jordan Mayer clinching the penalty shot winner to seal the points for Hull.
Braehead Clan 4-2 Nottingham Panthers
Dundee Stars 3-2 Nottingham Panthers
Fife Flyers 5-1 Edinburgh Capitals
Braehead Clan 5-2 Fife Flyers
Edinburgh Capitals 3-5 Nottingham Panthers
Hull Stingrays 4-3 Dundee Stars (PS)