If you could pick one moment which crystalised Fife Flyers season this far, it surely came halfway through this game against Dundee Stars.
On the attack, the puck found Bobby Chaumont, but he couldn’t find the back of the net.
The bounce maybe wasn’t greatest, the puck didn’t glue to the end of his stick. The chance was lost.
Rory Rawlyk threw the puck out of the zone, Stars went up the ice pad and a 2-0 game became 3-0 instead of 2-1.
The pass from Mike Wirll wide had pace and precision. The one-time finish from Jerry Pollastrone was text book. Two passes, one shot - and pretty much game over.
The fact Flyers completely outshot Stars in the final period was perhaps the most irrelevant stat of the night - it didn’t matter because the outcome was set in stone.
On their game there is absolutely no doubt Flyers can rock with the very best in the league. When the team shows up they play with verve and guts, with style and pace.
But it’s the ‘‘showing up’’ bit which seems to be hit and miss.
In his post-game interviews, head coach Todd Dutiaume took Derek Roehl as a good example of what is needed - a guy who shows up every night.
‘‘He’s starting out in his pro career and works hard every night. You can see it in the corners, at face-offs etc - we need more like him.’’
Dutiaume talked about the ‘‘desire to go out and be better than the other team’’ and how while it happens some nights, others he looks down the bench for that on-ice leader ... he left the rhetorical question hanging.
He summed up Saturday’s game thus: ‘‘We were in the game, but didn’t look dangerous.’’
There’s no doubt the better team won. Stars got the go-ahead goal and settled on the back of it. They played well, and ruthlessly punished Fife’s mistakes.
Flyers stuttered where Stars flowed, maybe didn’t get a few bounces, but again didn’t get dirty often enough in front of the net - where it really hurts - and never looked like overhauling their Tayside rivals... and being outplayed on home ice just doesn’t sit easily with the fans.
A huge crowd turned up to see this post-Christmas game and the boos which peppered the air were impossible to ignore.
Fife fans will thole losses provided the players give their all, but they didn’t see that tonight - at least, not from all of the guys on the bench.
Seventh, or even sixth place is attainable if Fife discovery some consistency, but their play-off hopes rest heavily on how they perform over the next few weeks.
The answers lie entirely within the dressing-room.
‘‘Guys are pros. They earn a good living and we need them to produce,.’’ said Dutiaume, ‘‘We need points every weekend.’’
>> Fife Flyers are in Dundee to take on Stars on Sunday evening.
>> Read Matt Elder’s interview with Justin Dacosta in this week’s Fife Free Press. Out on Thursday.