Carlo Finucci reckons Fife Flyers have the firepower to dump Manchester Storm out of the play-offs – and he has the statistics to prove it. The 31-year-old finished the regular season as Fife’s top points scorer, with 27 goals and 35 assists totalling 62 points, earning him a place among the top 15 forwards in the EIHL. However, he was just one of six Fife forwards to score 20 plus goals over the course of the campaign – a better spread of scorers than any other side in the EIHL this season. Manchester on the other hand, have four men among the league’s top 10 points scorers, including the EIHL’s top forward, Mike Hammond, who finished on 83 points. Finucci is confident, however, that Fife can outgun them this weekend.
“We’ve got firepower to match them,” he said. “We’re just going to have to ratchet up our physicality to match theirs. “I feel we have the skill, speed and work-rate to top them, so as long as we can match their physicality we should be giving ourselves a good shot.”
Fife will be looking to the likes of Finucci to come up big on a weekend where the team’s key players need to produce.
“I’ve put pressure on myself all year to do that,” he said. “This is another mini-season over four games, hopefully, and I’m putting the responsibility on myself to produce, and to do the right things too. “It’s not all about scoring goals though. I’ve got to do well defensively, do my job on the penalty kill, and try to lead by example.”
After coming through a tough stretch of 12 games in 22 days, Finucci is looking forward to having a full week to prepare for Manchester.
“That was a ridiculous stretch of games,” he said. “We didn’t know what day of the week it was at times. “With just one game last weekend we were able to have two full days off and I think that’s what a number of guys needed. We’ll get four good practices under our belts this week and we’ll be ready to go. “The coaches will have us ready and it’s up to us to put the game plan into work, and bring our games to another level.”
Finucci reckons that a big home crowd on Saturday can help Flyers get the edge in the first leg and take a healthy lead down to Manchester on Sunday.
“We’re so excited in the room here, and we know how loud our fans get around the refs, the players, the coaches — they’re all over the other team. “It makes our job easier when we can concentrate on taking advantage of that. “The place is going to be rocking so we’ve got to be ready to bring it and make sure they are even louder. “Results might not show it but we’ve been playing good hockey as a group and we’re just going to need to ratchet that up a bit more for the play-offs.”
Finucci is keen to savour the Nottingham finals weekend atmosphere after missing out with Fife last season following a quarter-final defeat to Belfast.
“After missing out last year, personally I want to be there,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s a great experience and it’s another chance for us to win something. “It’s another goal for our team and we want to reach that.”
STORY BY: MATTHEW ELDER