Dingle looking for victory on Fife return
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze Assistant Captain Ryan Dingle says he is looking forward to returning to his old stomping ground, the Fife Ice Arena on Saturday but warns his old side, he’s there for one reason – to win.
The 33-year-old who Captained the Flyers, registering 120 points in 110 games said, “I am excited to go back in the Auld Barn. I really enjoyed my two seasons there. It will be interesting being on the other bench, but nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd and on the ice. But, we're going up there for one reason and that's to get two points!”
Following the return to Kirkcaldy, Dingle and his Blaze teammates will begin their Challenge Cup campaign on Sunday at the Skydome Arena against local rivals Milton Keynes Lightning. Following a 4-3 overtime defeat and 5-4 victory in pre-season games, the American forward is expecting a tough challenge from the Elite League’s new boys.
“They are a good team who have a handful of guys with EIHL experience. You can never underestimate an expansion team because they are always playing to prove themselves. It will be a great game on Sunday.”
When Blaze hit the ice on Sunday, they will be donning special Challenge Cup jerseys to back Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture bid. Having been in the city for two months now, Dingle and his family are settling in well:
“So far, we have really enjoyed Coventry and the surrounding area. It took a little while to get settled in with the kids but it's feeling more and more comfortable each day. It's a beautiful part of the world that is rich in history.”
With the introduction of Milton Keynes Lightning and Guildford Flames into the Elite League, the Challenge Cup for 2017/18 has had a significant format change. Moving from two groups of five, with four of the five qualifying for the quarter-finals stage to three groups of four, where two from each group progress, plus two wild cards. Blaze will face the aforementioned two new teams as well as Cardiff Devils in Group C with each playing once home and once away.
“The Challenge Cup is one of three trophies that we have our sites on,” said Dingle. “It is more difficult to advance to the next round this season, so we're taking each Challenge Cup game extremely seriously. It is a different format for new players to the league. It's up to us returning guys to reiterate the importance of this in-season tournament.”
Two of those new signings have been matched up on a line with the Steamboat Springs native. Marco Vallerand, the current Elite League player of the week, and former DEL top-scorer Adam Courchaine. The trio having a particular strong weekend helping the club to victories over Manchester Storm and Braehead Clan most recently.
“It's been fun playing with those two so far this season,” commented Dinge. “’Vally’ is really creative and has a great shot. ‘Cush’ is an exceptional passer that has incredible vision. Early chemistry is hard to find on any team at the beginning of each season and we're hoping to build on what we have already.”
Tickets vs. MK Lightning - Sunday (5.15pm)
Blaze vs. local rivals Milton Keynes Lightning in the Challenge Cup on Sunday (5.15pm @ the Skydome Arena)
No queing, guaranteed seat - show ticket on your mobile device – no need to print!
or call/visit the Skydome Arena box office in person - 02476 630693.
The box office is open from 9am every day and you can also pay on the door when you arrive, however it is recommended that you book online to save queing.