Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume felt there were plenty positives to take after his team ended up as beaten finalists in the Scottish Elite Cup over the weekend.
Flyers lost 3-1 to west coast rivals Braehead Clan in a fiercely competitive final at Murrayfield Ice Rink on Sunday after claiming a 6-2 victory over Dundee Stars in the semi-final 24 hours earlier.
And while Clan got the edge to lift the first silverware of the season, Dutiaume was happy with the Fife performance in a game that featured 200 penalty minutes and a series of brawls between rival players.
“I’m disappointed in the overall result, but the actual performance I’m pretty thrilled with,” he said.
“That’s the type of team that we looked to recruit. Clan’s goaltender was the difference, but I really liked our pushback in the third.
“It would have been easy to fold up the tent and say it’s just a pre-season tournament but we went right to the final buzzer and I think there’s more to come from this group.
“We’ve identified areas we want to improve on, and we’re still missing a couple of key pieces, so build that into line-up and it makes for an potential exciting season coming up.”
Fife enjoyed early pressure as Chase Schaber and Ian Young forced saves from Ryan Nie in the Clan goal.
But Braehead put themselves in front as Brendan Brooks hit a low shot past Fife goalie Andy Iles to open the scoring.
The Glasgow side added a second early in the middle period when Cameron Burt’s effort took a redirect from Landon Oslanski and ended up on target.
Another powerplay proved successful as Clan made it three without reply, coming courtesy of Craig Peacock with a direct shot.
Things started to gheat up as a few simmering situations blew up into fights, with as many as five between Clan and Flyers players either side of the second interval.
There was even a penalty shot awarded to Braehead, but Mike Embach was denied by an excellent block by Iles.
It set up quite the ending and while Fife managed to get one back on the board, with Ian Young finishing a well worked passing move, it couldn’t generate more goals for them.