Flyers spurred by first league win

Fife Flyers players rush towards a leaping Garrett Zemlak after the netminder made the crucial penalty save that earned the Kirkcaldy side their first Elite League win. Pic: Steve Gunn, shotbyagunn photography

Fife Flyers players rush towards a leaping Garrett Zemlak after the netminder made the crucial penalty save that earned the Kirkcaldy side their first Elite League win. Pic: Steve Gunn, shotbyagunn photography

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FIFE Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume praised his players after they came from behind to earn their first Elite League win of the season.

After suffering heavy back-to-back defeats to Braehead and Nottingham over the weekend, the 5-4 penalty shots victory over Hull on Tuesday night came as a welcome surprise.

And Dutiaume, who aggrevated a groin inury in the match, hopes the victory can spur his basement boys to another big performance against Belfast Giants at Fife Ice Arena on Saturday.

“It’s our first league win of the season and that’s a huge monkey off our back,” he said. “It gets easier to win games after this because you realise it’s possible.

“I identified Tuesday as a must-win. If we didn’t get it, who knows where the season went from here, but luckily the guys went out and did it – and that’s a decent hockey team we beat.

“We had a big lead, we blew it, but it shows the constitution of this team to battle back and get that goal in the last minute. It would have been soul-destroying to lose on penalty shots, but the bounce went our way and we’ll take it.

“You saw in the celebrations how much it meant to the guys. That was almost like a play-off win for them, and to a certain extent that sums up the season.”

All of Flyers goals were scored by the import-laden first line on Tuesday, but Dutiaume was pleased to see his local British players make a big contribution to the overall performance.

“I had words with the Brits before the game, saying without your performance we will not win this game,” he said.

“Our imports are here as the full-time professionals and our first line looked dangerous all over the ice on Tuesday night. But without the supporting cast we don’t win that game.”

Dutiaume is now pressing ahead with his plans to bring another defenceman to Kirkcaldy after talks with some targets broke down.

“There has been set-backs for us in terms of players we’re talking to,” he said. “For whatever reason we haven’t been able to agree on terms.

“It’s not us being cheap, or them being greedy, sometimes the requirements just don’t match.”

Dutiaume reassured fans that he will do everything in his power to bring in the reinforcements the team needs to be competitive in the Elite League, with a defenceman and a forward on his wish list.

“We’re not just sitting back hoping we’ll get by, I’m incredibly busy and it’s consuming all my time,” he said.

“The team wants it, the directors want it, the fans want it – now as quick as we can agree terms and get flights, we’ll bring guys over.”