Dingle frustrated by Flyers’ erratic form

Ryan Dingle celebrates scoring in the 9-5 win over Belfast on Sunday. Pic: Steve Gunn
Ryan Dingle celebrates scoring in the 9-5 win over Belfast on Sunday. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers’ captain Ryan Dingle insisted the team should not be getting carried away with the 9-5 demolition of Belfast Giants on Sunday after a week of highs and lows.

Flyers huge win over the Northern Irish title challengers came just 24 hours after one of the worst performances of the season, a 7-3 defeat away to Manchester Storm, which followed another heavy 6-1 defeat away to Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday.

While pleased with the two points on Sunday, Dingle admitted that the loss of 18 goals in three matches left him with mixed emotions.

“We went into Sheffield on Wednesday and didn’t play our best,” he said.

“They played a clinical game and I was impressed with the product they put on the ice.

“In Manchester on Saturday we showed segments of brilliance, and segments of terrible brain-farts.

“At this stage in the game, and the level we need to be at, we shouldn’t be having blips like that.

“We have to be working more as a unit.

“Teams are scoring on us and we can’t be thrilled about that. We can’t even begin to make excuses for it.

“We found a way to dig deep and beat Belfast. We were up 4-1, we let them crawl back into it, and we found a way to win.

“I don’t want to say we’re excited about that win but we’re satisfied.

“We played a team that’s going for the title, and we played well enough to win, but we gave them five goals and that’s not good enough.”

So far in 2017, Fife have lost to the EIHL’s bottom two clubs, Edinburgh and Dundee, at home but have beaten Nottingham home and away, and now thumped Belfast.

This Jekyll & Hyde form has put Flyers all but out of contention for the conference title, and while they are still in the race for fourth place in the overall EIHL, the situation has left Dingle frustrated.

“I feel like I’ve said it several times throughout the season - we’re two completely different teams,” he said.

“We have brilliant plays when we play smart. Then sometimes our brains shut off and it feels like we go off on our own.

“We’re a team so I can’t point fingers, we’re all at fault. You win as a team, and lose as a team.

“Our last two wins came against very good teams - Nottingham and Belfast - and for some reason our team seems to get motivated for these games.

“Our conference is another story. We’re hugely under-achieving in our conference but I feel like we show the team we can be out of conference and that’s the frustrating part.”

Flyers face three back-to-back conference matches in a triple header this weekend with a trip to Braehead Clan on Friday followed by home and away matches against Dundee Stars.

“It’s a 60 minute game, and it pains me to say it, but for some reason our team doesn’t show up for a full 60 minutes every game,” Dingle said.

“We need to treat this weekend as a 180 minute game.

“It needs to be nine periods of hard-nosed, gritty, smart hockey, and making sure we’re really protecting Owen.

“We’re not a run and gun team and I don’t want to turn into that. It was 9-5 on Sunday and that’s run and gun hockey. We can’t be proud of that.

“It doesn’t matter whether we’re in conference or out of conference.

“We just need to focus on winning games and on securing a good position in the league to set us up for a better opportunity to make the play-off weekend.”