NEWCASTLE Vipers are back in the hunt for the Elite League play-offs – but only if they can come out on top in this weekend’s Anglo-Scottish clashes.
Sunday’s surprise win has brought a feel-good factor to Hillheads, and general manager Jaimie Longmuir is urging fans to help them preserve it.
The Vipers entertain Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday before travelling to their closest rivals for eighth spot, Dundee Stars.
Scotsman Longmuir has no hesitation in labelling the first of those games “must-win.”
He said: “Sunday was amazing and gave the whole organisation a lift – players, staff and supporters.
“It means we are back in the hunt for the last play-off spot, and this weekend’s games are crucial.
“We need to maintain the momentum from Sunday and take that into the Edinburgh game – it really is a must-win game.
“Edinburgh cannot be taken lightly. They still have dangerous players and, as we showed in the two home games with Nottingham, if you underestimate a team it can bite you.
“Although the Caps have had their problems off-ice like ourselves, we cannot feel sorry for them when it comes to the game.
“There were just over 700 here on Sunday, but by end it sounded like 7,000! The fans were brilliant and the atmosphere was first class.
“It is a two-way thing – the players lift the fans who in turn energise the players.
“With the small squad we have it has become even more important for the fans to be like a seventh man.
“Saturday night is a chance for the fans to salute their heroes, then when the puck drops get behind them and cheer them to a big two points.”
There will be less Vipers supporters in Dundee but, with eight players unavailable, they could have an even bigger part to play.
Longmuir added: “It looks like we will not have our two-way players on Sunday, so we are down to the bare minimum for the trip to Dundee.”
The Vipers are seven points behind the Stars, having played the same number of games. They meet four more times this season, including a final weekend double-header.