Flyers coach Dutiaume reflects on three minute comeback

Todd Dutiaume, head coach Fife Flyers.  Stephen Gunn Photography
Todd Dutiaume, head coach Fife Flyers. Stephen Gunn Photography

Fife Flyers turned defeat into victory in just three minutes on Sunday – but head coach Todd Dutiaume insists the dramatic comeback was a result of a complete 60-minute performance.

Flyers were 3-1 down to Nottingham Panthers and heading for a disappointing one point weekend, when they pulled netminder Shane Owen with just under three minutes remaining.

The Kirkcaldy men struck twice with the extra skater – a rare feat – to take the game to overtime where Matt Sisca’s winner clinched the extra point.

Dutiaume believes that the dramatic finale was only possible due to the team’s overall performance in the three periods that led up to the late comeback.

“We were playing well - even before we scored those goals - and it would have been disappointing not to get any points out of that game,” Dutiaume said.

“But that’s how fine a line it is. Say we pull the goalie at three minutes and they loft one down the ice, it goes in, and we lose 4-1. People would say it was a terrible game.

“We were fortunate enough to get not one but two empty net goals, which you don’t see very often, but that’s the reason you pull the goalie - to give you the advantage to do that.

“It was fortuitious - it went our way - and we ended up winning in overtime. But the reason we had those exciting couple of minutes was because we competed for the whole game.

“You can’t play bad for 57 minutes and try to pull it out. We were on it and felt good about it and the guys responded well to a touch of criticism after Saturday.

“They probably deserved a wee look in the mirror and they turned a disappointing one point weekend into a three point weekend in three minutes.”

Bryan Cameron’s equaliser with just four seconds left on the clock was his second goal in 10 appearances since signing for the club in early January, and Dutiaume has been happy with the recent arrival’s contribution.

“It’s not as easy as jumping on a plane and doing the exact same thing over here,” he said.

“It’s a different lifestyle, different culture, the rinks are bigger, and we probably demand more minutes out of him than he played back home.

“There’s always an adjustment period but we’re well aware of his offensive capablities and he’s done a good job for us all round.

“He’s certainly anchored that Brooks-Sisca line and given us a defensive element on there that we required.

“But it’s always good for a guy’s confidence when you tie up a game with four seconds left.

“He’s probably not the guy who’s going to pick the puck up behind our net and skate through the whole team but he certainly knows how to put a puck away, so it’s up to us to get the puck on his stick a little bit more around the net.”

Dutiaume was speaking prior to last night’s 6-1 defeat at Sheffield Steelers last night, which saw Flyers concede four times in five minutes early in the third period. Sebastian Thinel grabbed a late consolation.

Flyers return across the English border on Saturday for a crucial conference fixture at Manchester Storm.

A three-game week is completed with the visit of Belfast Giants to Fife Ice Arena - the third home fixture in a row to take place on a Sunday.

“We make it clear in our fixtures meetings that Sundays aren’t feasible for us,” Dutiaume said. “But we seem to have landed with a lot of Sunday games.

“In a league where everybody is looking out for their own interests there has to be a little give and take.

“Sundays aren’t great for us, economically you take a hit, but for travel and guys working the next day, they are in their beds.”

The Elite League transfer deadline is just a week away with the window closing on February 15.

Dutiaume is still not ruling out any moves in the market, but admits it would need to be a stellar signing to prompt a change in the roster.

“I don’t think we’re in a position right now where we want to get rid of someone for the sake of it,” he said.

“You see what we’re capable of and we just hope that sets in and becomes our mentality.

“But if someone was to become available who would drastically improve this club and make us better, then absolutely, we’d make that change.”