Ice hockey: Fife positive despite record against Hawks

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The Independent Online
THE Fife Flyers forward John Haig has warned their opposition in the British National League play-off semi-finals that they will not be written off. The Kirkcaldy team meet the hosts Kingston Hawks in the second semi-final at Hull Arena today, face-off 4.30pm, with Guildford Flames facing Telford Tigers at noon. The winners advance to tomorrow's final at 4pm.

Many see the Scots as the underdogs as they have lost six of the eight meetings with the Hawks this season - including all four at the Arena. Fife, however, with 16 wins from their last 17 games, are the form team and Haig, who had an unsuccessful second spell at Hull, said: "We're not scared of anyone. We have beaten everybody this season and don't fear Kingston, Guildford or Telford. At this stage it is down to how you play on the day. Nerves and many other factors come into it. In fact, we play better when people write us off."

Kingston's general manager, Keith Milhench, who received a boost when his defenceman Lee Brathwaite declared himself fit, is remaining level- headed, acknowledging Fife will be tougher than some imagine. He said: "We will not be taking Fife lightly. We won't be over-confident. I just hope we don't freeze on the big occasion because that has happened before."

Guildford Flames, the British National League and Southern Conference champions, meanwhile, are praying their forward Barclay Pearce will be fit to face Telford after hurting his knee. A decision will be made at the last moment.

John Lawless, the Telford manager, said discipline would be vital. The former Cardiff and Manchester coach said: "Guildford are a quality side and we will need to stay out of the box. We need everyone to be on the same page. One thing's for sure, it's going to be an exciting weekend."

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