Flyers look for winning mentality

Casey Haines chats to referee Neil Wilson. Fife Flyers v Dundee Stars. Pic: Steve Gunn, shotbyagunn photography
Casey Haines chats to referee Neil Wilson. Fife Flyers v Dundee Stars. Pic: Steve Gunn, shotbyagunn photography
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CASEY Haines is looking for that winning feeling to return to the Fife Flyers dressing-room.

The American forward, who netted twice in Tuesday’s win over Hull which lifted Flyers off the foot of the table, believes the early season momentum can return.

The club has struggled in recent weeks losing nine out of 10, although five defeats were by one single goal - underlining the thin margin between success and failure.

He described the Hull result as ‘’a must win game.’’

‘’We knew that going into the match,’’ he said, “so we were pleased with the result.

‘’We’ve been down to Hull and outplayed them but lost each time - we’ve outskated them but their netminder just shut us down so it was good to get the win.’’

Haines admitted cutting down on mistakes was key to getting the momentum going again.

‘’Danny and Todd have been emphasising in the past few weeks the need to cut out individual mistakes – obviously I wasn’t listening as I knocked the puck over with 38 seconds to go and they scored and got back to 4-3!

‘’Hockey is all about momentum and maybe fans don’t realise that it carries into the next game and the next one. If you lose three or four then mentally it gets to you.

‘’You have to get a winning mentality back in the dressing-room and then keep it going.’’

Flyers go into another big weekend with Edinburgh Capitals in Kirkcaldy on Saturday and a road trip to Sheffield on Sunday.

‘’At home we should have no doubt we can win the game,’’ said Haines.

‘’Caps have some good players but they play some crazy, weird systems - they bring the puck the whole way up the ice and then wind it back down.

‘’They slow the game down to a grinding pace which we are just not used to - we play a North American game, they spread it out, but we have home ice and we should dominate on it.’’

A solid Flyers performamnce against Hull on saw them hold the lead all night and they probably should have won by more than goal.

Danny Stewart got them off the mark with a powerplay strike at 10:24 before the industrious Haines made it 2-0 at 13:51.

Dominic Osman grabbed a lifeline for Hull in a matter of seconds, but Jason Pitton’s counter at 18:29 rounded off a good opening period which saw netminder Greg Blais hand over the catching glove to Ben Bowns.

Thereafter Fife faltered slightly as Hull tightened up, but they kept their noses in front.

Jereme Tendler made it 3-2 at 25:42, but Hull never did get back to level pegging, and Haines’ second of the night at 38:25 sealed the deal.

Three minutes into the third, Stewart was knocked out after a check into the plexi. He came round and was able to walk slowly off the ice before going to hospital for observation.

Sylvain Cloutier grabbed a lifeline 40 seconds from time, but Hull were never fully in control of the puck after pulling their ‘keeper to get a game tying goal.

Flyers player-coach Todd Dutiaume was pleased with the win, although admitted it wasn’t a classic match to watch.

‘’It was a funny old game, as I don;t think either side came out really wanting the points, but I was delighted’with the win,” he said.

Flyers scoring: Haines (2+0), Pitton (1+2), Stewart (+0), Dolan (0+2), Carriveau, McAlpine, Caister (0+1)

Hull scoring: Osman, Cloutier, Tendler (1+0), Davies (0+2), Ondrej, Ozolins, Silverthorn (0+1)

SOG: Fife (Pitton) 17, Hull 25. Referee: Neil Wilson. Att: 903

ALLAN CROW